Mar 012010
Authors: Irving DeJohn Albany (NY) Student Press

The denial of rights in 2010 is an absurd concept. We’ve had civil rights and women’s rights, but somehow gay rights were neglected while President Obama and Sec. of State Clinton were showing us how far we’ve come as a society and as a country.

Gay marriage still manages to strike the nerves of millions of Americans; some shout slurs, others clutch their Bibles and start quoting verses like they’re possessed. However, America is based upon a meritocracy, the firm belief that if you work hard and are determined, the opportunities to lead a successful and happy life are there.

Why then are we shutting the door and imposing our will on the personal lives of people who contribute to our society? Gays and lesbians can do our taxes, fix our cars and vote in our governments, but they can’t have a companion? This is hardly a fair give-and-take relationship.

And have heterosexuals done such a stand-up job of upholding the “sanctity” of marriage? That last frontier our society has before we slip into pure debauchery?

The divorce rate in America for a first marriage is 41 percent, according to

The numbers become even more dismal as heterosexuals try a second and third time, with the number rising to 60 percent and 73 percent respectively. If gays and lesbians want to try and beat the statistics, what do they have to lose aside from alimony payments?

Even more baffling is how the United States government has regarded this issue with the same sense of urgency as someone who has to go to the DMV to renew their license: Constantly putting it off, waffling and trying some odd concoction of “playing the middle.”

Scrolling through the issues page on President Barack Obama’s Web site is a prime example: 24 other issues have lengthy explanations detailing why he has the right formula to remedy all these problems, and the highly contentious gay marriage issue isn’t even mentioned. 

Every state aside from Alabama, Kansas, North Dakota, South Dakota and Alaska has at least one LGBT elected official, according to the Gay and Lesbian Leadership Institute. Ironically, an equally meager section of the country allows gay marriages (Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Vermont). Prominent elected officials today include Rep. Barney Frank from Massachusetts and New York City Councilmember and Speaker Christine Quinn. These trickle down across the U.S. to lower elected positions like sheriffs and appellate judges.

Clearly gays and lesbians are working their way into positions of prominence in our government and society only three decades since Harvey Milk became the first openly gay elected official in 1977.

But gay marriage is far from a sure thing. California felt the sting of gay marriage taken away last summer when Proposition 8, a voter initiative that repealed gay marriage, was upheld. The outrage was felt all the way across the country when the decision was announced. Thousands of protestors marched from Greenwich Village up to Union Square in Manhattan on May 26th with signs and chants.

The main argument against gay marriage is a religious one; we’re constantly bombarded by what God wants, what God wrote and what God intended for the institution of marriage. One of the core teachings of any major religion, while it may be phrased differently, is the principle of “Do unto Others.”

Before you pass judgment or make a decision, the teachings instruct you to pause and ask yourself if you’d want that type of treatment. Would heterosexuals want their right to marry, and statistically, divorce, to be taken away from them?

Based on failure rate alone, the populace should press Congress to ban second and third marriages because they’re tying up our courts and wasting valuable resources, and God wouldn’t want that.

I_rving DeJohn is a columnist for the Albany Student Press. Letters and feedback can be sent to letters@collegian._

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