Marriage case comes too soon

HAPPY or NOT: Demonstrators for and against same-sex marriage protest outside the U.S. Supreme Court in March.

The issue of same-sex marriage comes to the forefront as the Supreme Court hears the case.

The Supreme Court is now in the process of reviewing the constitutionality of California’s Proposition 8, which in 2008 barred same-sex marriage statewide.

While the court’s decision might legalize the practice in California, such an outcome would do little to advance national same-sex marriage.

After years of battles over the issue on both sides, same-sex marriage is legal in only 10 states.

California’s proponents of same-sex marriage hope their state becomes the 11th to do so.

But even if gay marriage is reinstated in California, one of the most liberal states in the union, this will do little to sway the minds of more conservative states and could even launch a strong backlash.

Many deem traditional marriage to be a sacred bond between a man and woman, but as the national divorce rate sits at 50 percent with California at 60 percent and Orange County having one of the highest divorce rates in the state, the stability of this practice in society is called into question. Divorce splits families, traumatizes children and can damage a person’s mental and financial health.

On the other hand, to use religion as an argument for denying gay couples to marry breaches the notion of separation of church and state.

A major point raised by advocates of same-sex marriage is the biology of men and women.

Because same-sex couples cannot reproduce, their unions cannot be called marriage. Yet many traditional married couples are unable to, or choose not to, bear children yet their marriage is as valid as those who do.

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Same-sex marriage is only denied because of homophobic repulsion hiding behind shaky reasoning. Americans should have the right to marry the person their heart desires.

But a Supreme Court decision at this time could be premature. Rather than making a decision on California, Prop 8 advocates would be better off waiting until more national support drives the issue, eventually sealing a decision to legitimize the practice nationwide.

It’s not a matter of if same-sex marriage will become legal in the United States, but a matter of when. People are generally progressive by nature, and old guard practices are chipped away over time.

If not, then in America unmarried couples would still be arrested for cohabitation, interracial couples would be barred from marrying, women would have no voting rights, children would be working in factories and African Americans would still be enslaved across the nation.

Gays in this country are our sons, daughters, fathers, mothers, but most importantly they are Americans. To deny them the rights of every other American is to treat them as second-class citizens.

They are not.

HAPPY or NOT: Demonstrators for and against same-sex marriage protest outside the U.S. Supreme Court in March. (Photo courtesy Olivier Douliery/Molly Riley/MCT)

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