Marriage equality as it applies to being an American is a matter of respecting the freedoms guaranteed by the US Constitution. Our founders – remembering the power of religion to oppress, and recognizing the value of individual freedom – made a great effort to guarantee that laws were not passed respecting an establishment of religion or impeding the free exercise of religion. Unfortunately, there are those who either do not understand this effort or do not respect it.
Most opponents of same-gender marriage believe homosexuality and opposite-gender identity are wrong for religious reasons. The Constitution guarantees these Americans the right to live according to those beliefs. Some people believe – and science confirms – homosexuality and opposite-gender identity are a biological reality. The Constitution guarantees these Americans the right to live according to those beliefs. Unfortunately, this group is being denied that right by being denied equal marriage rights.
Vocal supporters of marriage equality – like myself – are often accused of forcing their opinions on those who believe differently. Nobody is forcing opponents of marriage equality to enter into same-gender marriage. Vocal support of marriage equality is a constitutional right, while supporting laws denying marriage equality supports a violation of the US Constitution by forcing the beliefs of some on all.
The serious consequence that opponents don’t understand is that these laws pave the way to forcing everyone to live by the beliefs others, including them. Something our founders understood to be a threat to all of our individual freedoms. All Americans should agree that each individual has the right to one’s own beliefs and the right to live according to those beliefs with equal protections and benefits under the law.
Supporting marriage equality is supporting freedom – yours and mine. As George Washington once said, “As mankind become more liberal they will be more apt to allow that all those who conduct themselves as worthy members of the community are equally entitled to the protection of civil government. I hope ever to see America among the foremost nations in examples of justice and liberality.” At this point, that is not the reality.