Mar 032002

Do you want to get married?

Well, in Colorado all you need is $20 and proof you’re at least 18. You don’t even need any type of clergy member to do the job for you, you just need to sign that certificate.

Oh yeah, there’s one minor stipulation – you can’t be gay.

In February, people across the nation recognized National Freedom to Marry Day. On this day, homosexuals and their supporters rallied for the right to homosexual marriages. They were fighting for the same rights as heterosexual couples, rights such as: domestic partner benefits, hospital visitation rights, joint parenting and adoption and joint insurance and health coverage.

While there have been some victories for homosexual unions, such as the allowance of civil unions in Vermont, there have been many more losses as states around the nation still refuse to recognize homosexual unions.

I’m not going to argue religious unions. While I feel many churches should take another look at their stance on homosexual unions, it is the right of the church to determine what they will or will not allow in their religion. However, when it comes to civil unions, it’s time for our nation to stop the discrimination.

Here’s my question to you: If it’s so easy to get married in the first place, why don’t we allow that priviledge to homosexual couples? All it takes in Colorado is $20 and you’re allowed 1,049 federal rights, responsibilities and protections. That’s it, $20.

That’s how cheap the institution of marriage is in our country.

Many people have gotten married while intoxicated; many have gotten married or divorced to improve their tax returns, and many people have gotten married to spite someone else. They are allowed to do this because they have $20, and they are heterosexual. Yet we don’t let this institution that so many people have taken for granted and abused be granted to homosexual couples, couples who have stayed together despite financial difficulties and discrimination.

This law placed upon them is based on religious morals rather than on reason. Homosexual citizens pay the same amount of taxes, contribute just as much to the wealth of the nation and are just as involved in politics, if not more so, than heterosexual couples. They contribute to this nation in the same ways, and should receive, in return, the same privileges as other members. When lawmakers argue against these types of unions, they say that homosexual unions are “against the teachings of the Bible that this country was founded on,” and “it is morally and unnaturally wrong.”

Morals are a funny thing; they tend to differ from person to person and place to place. While these standards may fit for different religious institutions, when it comes to the law, if you’re going to use a moral argument, you should base it on reason. For example, murdering someone is illegal not just because it’s immoral but also because when you murder, you violate the rights of the person you killed.

When laws prohibit homosexuals from marriage, it is basically state-condoned discrimination. If it is condoned by the state, what’s to stop the rest of individuals from practicing it?

The truth is that the institution of marriage has already been cheapened in our society. More people are getting married for worse reasons and divorce rates are skyrocketing. If there’s a couple that wants to improve these statistics, the state should allow them to.

Maria Sanchez-Traynor is a senior majoring in English and journalism.

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

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