In defense of gay marriage

Every week, there is good and bad news for gay marriage. As a whole, these developments reflect a growing degree of acceptance for these types of relationships nationwide.

Yesterday, a federal court found South Carolina’s ban unconstitutional. Last week, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit reinstated gay marriage bans in four states, overturning previous decisions by lower courts.

The U.S. Supreme Court will finally have to decide the issue. In its two prior rulings, it first recognized the right of gay couples to obtain federal benefits and then refused to hear appeals from several states whose laws or ballot initiatives banning gay marriage had been found unconstitutional by lower courts.

Out of 50 states, 32 currently allow same-sex marriages. This is the result of an evolution in the way Americans think in the past decade, toward accepting a change. When it was otherwise, courts historically took on the role of protecting the rights of minorities against the overreach of the majority.

In many states, like California, voters approved bans on gay marriage, based on moral or religious prejudices. These values should not be used as a basis to deny benefits, protections and individual rights.

An individual has the right to join their life to another’s, have whichever ceremony they both want and have their commitment recognized by the state.

Imposing religious values on other people is what is wrong, especially in a society with beliefs as diverse as ours. Everyone has the right to have their own faith and respect for their religion. People cannot impose their views on others by banning behavior that does not hurt other individuals. We are each responsible for our own selves.

Same-sex marriage does not threaten religion or the institution of marriage. The threats to marriage are infidelity, domestic abuse, financial stress and divorce—not the personal decision of two men or two women about how to live their lives