Same Sex Marriage: A Generational Gap

The+Gay+Pride+flag%2C+popularized+in+the+late+%2770s+by+Gilbert+Baker.

The Gay Pride flag, popularized in the late '70s by Gilbert Baker.

Brandon Burns, Photojournalist

“It takes no compromise to give people civil rights… It takes no money to respect the individual. It takes no political deal to give people freedom. It takes no survey to remove repression.” This quote is by Harvey Milk, a politician who became famous for being the first openly gay politician to be elected into a public office. He had been an obvious supporter of gay and lesbian rights since coming out, and a majority of his political platform involved helping the gay community in San Francisco. He only served 11 months on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors before he was assassinated, along with then mayor George Mascone, by Dan White who worked with Harvey on the board as well. When he turned himself in, many cops began to make jokes about Harvey milk, even going so far as to wearing “Free Dan White” shirts. This caused uproar and also brought to the forefront (as if we all couldn’t already tell) the little care that people had for the gay community.

 

That was in 1978. You would think that after it all things would have changed drastically. But it hasn’t. Gay marriage is picketed and scolded by religious fanatics and Government officials alike. It wasn’t until January 6th 2004, 11 years ago, when the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court heard the case of Goodridge v. Department of Public Health that same-sex marriages became legal in any state. When the court brought its decision to the public, they called it 4-3 in confirming same sex marriage. Their statement read as such:

“Many deny the protections, benefits and obligations conferred by civil marriage to two individuals of the same sex who wish to marry. We could conclude that it may not. The Massachusetts Constitutions affirms the dignity and equality of all individuals. It forbids the creation of second- class citizens… We declare the barring an individual from the protections, benefits, and obligations of civil marriage solely because that person of the same-sex violates the Massachusetts Constitution.”

But why is that? People say that they are more accepting, so why is it so hard to let two men or two women marry? One student, Gino Roberto (11), said, “It is not natural for a male and a male or a female and a female to create human lives. I don’t judge… But it is not the right way by design.” This is an ideal that has been created in the generations before us and is being reinforced today. This idea that just because a man and a man can’t create life means that they are lower class. Yet, many relationships of straight couples give up their children because they believe that they cannot raise this child properly. According to the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute, “over 397,122 children are living without permanent families in the foster care system. 101,666 of these children are eligible for adoption, but nearly 32% of these children will wait over three years in foster care before being adopted.” Though same-sex couples can’t create life, they can give a child just a good a home as any parent out there.

Another student I asked, who wished to remain anonymous, said, “…they’re already together if they want to be, they shouldn’t have the need to get married and make it worse.” Restricting two people from marrying creates a barrier. As a society, we may say we are fine with gay people, they can be who they want and live their lives how they want. But by saying that these people can’t marry is essentially saying that they are a second class citizens. In the 1950’s it was unprecedented to let blacks and whites be taught in the same school or touch the same water fountain that the white people touched. Yes, they were free, and had the right to go to school like any other American. Yes, they could apply for jobs like any other American. Yet, we all know that the society of the 1950’s was an unequal society; because the minorities were considered second class citizens.

It’s time to not look at the LGBT community as a “community”, but simply as members of the world. We label gay people, and make them fight for natural born rights. This country was based on the idea that “all men are created equal”. If we can’t stand true to the promise of equality, then everything that America is based on is a sham. If we can’t let go of our own prejudices and our innate fear of change, then that constitution, our constitutions means nothing.