Dec 052011
 
Authors: Colleen McSweeney

When I was a little girl, I thought I was definitely going to marry Barney –– you know, the purple dinosaur.

That Tyrannosaurus Rex was everything I ever wanted in a husband — he was kind, had a sunny outlook on life and said things like “super dee-duper!” And even though I had stiff competition from Barney’s onscreen love interest Baby Bop, when he sang “I love youuu. You love meee. We’re a happy family” at the end of every episode, I believed him.

At the time, I didn’t really even see Barney as having a gender –– I liked him because he made my four-year-old self happy, and when you’re that age, that’s all you need to fall in love.

But eventually, he and I did break-up. Sure enough, that floozy Baby Bop ended up snatching him away, forcing me to move to a new man: Steve from “Blue’s Clues.” With my preschool days behind me and elementary school on the horizon, Steve not only taught me useful investigation skills, but he gave me someone to have a crush on who wasn’t a dinosaur. (And I think moms/cougars around the country agreed)

While it may sound ridiculous, ever since my love affair with both Barney and Steve, I’ve known that love is just that: love, regardless of gender (or dinosaur color). And even though personally I know that a man is in my possible-marriage forecast, I think a homosexual orientation should never hinder a marriage from happening.

The legalization of same-sex marriage has caused fervent debate for as long as I’ve been alive. And for quite some time, I’d only seen advocates from both sides use political or religion-related argumentation –– we’ve all heard far too many times that “gays are going to hell” and “gay-marriage will demean the legality of marriage as an institution.”

But with the issue of same-sex marriage, there’s more than just the concrete — this debate is wrapped around the visceral, often unexplainable, notion of love.

And as we all know, love is anything but concrete.

Just in the past few weeks, it seems, there has been an emergence of a few emotionally-driven videos highlighting that exact idea: the idea that love is such a strong, universal force, it doesn’t matter what gender the people in it are; and subsequently, the life created by the couple in love is fundamentally the same, regardless of whether it’s a gay or straight relationship.

And with these videos, and the more that I’m sure will follow, the same-sex marriage debate has been refueled.

The first video, which I first saw about a week ago, is called “Zach Wahls Speaks about his Family.” It was uploaded on YouTube earlier this year, but it has just recently reemerged as a viral hit –– having become a popular video to post on Facebook and Twitter.

When I first watched it, I admittedly got a little choked up; In the three-minute-long video, 19-year-old Zach Wahls gives an incredibly impassioned speech defending his upbringing by two lesbian women.

Wahls, who possesses poise beyond his years, says in the video, “In my 19 years, not once have I ever been confronted by an individual who realized independently that I was raised by a gay couple. And you know why? Because the sexual orientation of my parents has had zero affect on the content of my character.”

After hearing the strength and conviction of his words, you believe him. And you have to think the conservative members of the Iowa House of Representatives –– the group he was speaking to –– were moved as well.

A similarly-themed video called “It’s Time” garnered more than 5 million views on YouTube less than a week after it was posted –– and with its emotional impact, I’m sure that number will continue to grow.

The video was originally shot as an advertisement for the Australian activist group “GetUp” as part of its campaign for the Australian Labor Party (the main political party of Australia) to support gay marriage.

It’s a beautifully shot sequence showing the journey of two people falling in love –– and it isn’t until the last shot that you see the love is, in fact, between two men.

But before that’s even revealed, you’ve become so emotionally involved with the couple, it doesn’t even matter that they’re gay.

And that’s exactly what same-sex marriage activists should be aiming for –– showing that marriage can transcend gender standards and instead, be about the happiness it takes to fall in love.

Editorial Editor Colleen McSweeney is a junior journalism major. Her column appears Tuesdays in the Collegian. She can be reached at letters@collegian.com.

 Posted by at 2:57 pm

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