Jul 152008
 
Authors: Erik Myers

I had to wonder what John McCain had to gain from appearing on Ellen DeGeneres’ talk show last May.

What was he trying to do? Appeal to the trendy 18-35 male/female demographic, a group that tends to hate everything he stands for?

And his timing really couldn’t have been worse. Merely a week before his appearance, the California Supreme Court had ruled the state’s ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional. The decision has put the issue onto the California ballot, allowing voters to decide whether or not same-sex marriage should be legalized.

DeGeneres, television’s most popular lesbian, took the opportunity to grill him on the subject, and she didn’t hesitate to offer her own opinion: “We are all the same people, all of us. You are no different than I am. Our love is the same.”

After the crowd cheered her statements, an uncomfortable McCain responded with little more than a carefully constructed version of “Well, that’s your opinion.” While he added that he did support civil unions for same-sex couples, he came off as a crotchety geezer who’s only version of love is packed in a little blue pill.

It’s sad to see so many politicians, Republican and Democratic, fall in line with this type of thinking.

Perhaps the biggest hypocrite of all is Barack Obama. He has run his campaign where the idea of unity plays a key theme. But when it comes to this issue, he really is just as shortsighted as McCain, citing his belief in the Christian definition of marriage while supporting civil unions.

Everyone is entitled to their beliefs, but it is entirely unfair for the law to offer some sort of watered-down union instead of the real thing. Take a moment to reflect on segregation and remember that separate-but-equal does not work. We are a country that has a responsibility to protect the minority, whether they are burning our flag or practicing their faith in church.

When examining the arguments opposing same-sex marriage, it’s easy to tell that they’re flimsy and baseless, to say the least.

Most argue that there is a certain degree of sanctity that would be utterly violated if members of the same gender where to unite under the title. It’s practically the only argument Marilyn Musgrave can make in her endless campaign for a national ban. There’s no denying, however, that this is an argument fueled on religious beliefs. Such a ban would damage the Constitution’s principle of separation of church and state.

Then there is the less eloquent but equally ignorant argument that if our nation were to allow the marriage of two same-sex adults, the doorway would be opened for women to marry animals and for men to marry children. This is a classic straw man argument, entirely based outside of reality and logic, used to manipulate the ill-informed.

Remember friends, same-sex marriage involves two adult human beings, and there is no sense in suggesting that their wedding would eventually lead to a society without morals.

This is an important issue for the freedoms of our country’s citizens, but it’s embarrassing to realize that so many will ardently waste time fighting it when the downfall of our nation threatens us across the pane of so many other issues: economy, environment, oil dependency and terrorism, to name a few.

For the voters of District 4: Keep these facts in mind when you head to the ballot this November, and remember that Musgrave has spent a solid chunk of her congressional career repeatedly fighting for a bigoted cause that has failed time and time again. Is she really representing our interests, or just her own?

If nothing else, remember this: In the Declaration of Independence, our forefathers declared that, among other rights, man was entitled to “the pursuit of happiness.”

In a 1967 Supreme Court ruling which struck down Virginia’s ban on interracial marriage, Chief Justice Earl Warren wrote: “The freedom to marry has long been recognized as one of the vital personal rights essential to the orderly pursuit of happiness by free men.”

Erik Myers is a junior technical journalism major. His column appears occasionally in the Collegian. Letters and feedback can be sent to letters@collegian.com.

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