Though possible Presidential candidate Donald Trump reaffirmed his opposition to gay marriage yesterday, a long-lasting positive change for the LGBT community may be on the way. As a Yale student, it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that I support gay marriage. I subscribe to the notion that all men (and women) are created equal, and find that precluding homosexuals from fully participating in a universal celebration of love is fundamentally wrong. The arguments against gay marriage just don’t pass muster.
Its opponents employ a number of different tactics. There are those who invoke the Bible. Decrying homosexuality as an abomination, these opponents ignore scores of other antiquated laws, practices and judgments which are universally disregarded by today’s religious followers. On the other end, we have biological opponents who believe that gay marriage is unnatural simply because the couple cannot give birth to a child. Such opposition is myopic and discriminatory. No one is against the right of an infertile couple to join hands in matrimony, nor has a movement started to prohibit couples from getting married if they choose not to procreate. There are also traditionalists, who believe that homosexuals marrying one another mars the purported intentions of marriage as an institution. These curmudgeons are using the same arguments that anti-miscegenation supporters made back in the 1960s, when racists and bigots tried to prohibit blacks and whites from marrying. Maybe there is something I’m missing here. After all, enough people support the differentiation between homo- and heterosexual marriage that one must at least consider the arguments of the other side. But barring good arguments, the practice of preventing gay marriage looks an awful lot like unequal protection under both federal and cultural law.
I’ll admit, part of my support for gay marriage is inherently selfish. Some of my best friends and closest family members are gay. Just as I want them throwing me a rowdy bachelor party or making a toast at my wedding when the time comes, I want to be able to return the favor. And, when I’m there, watching those who are close to me dedicate themselves to someone they love, I want it to feel 100 percent authentic — that means no distinguishing between a civil union and traditional marriage. The line between civil unions and traditional marriages looks a lot like the “separate but equal” dogma of the 19th and 20th centuries. Gay marriage opposition has become one of the last truly acceptable forms of discrimination in this country, and it has to stop. Lucky for those fighting for the rights of gays to marry, changes may be on the way.
At the end of this past year, President Obama repealed the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy. While you wouldn’t think that the military would be the panacea to discrimination, history has often proven otherwise — changes in civil society often follow those made in the armed forces. In the 1860s, the United States passed the 13th, 14th and 15th amendments, granting full voting and civil rights to blacks while forever abolishing the peculiar institution of slavery. This came only after blacks lined up shoulder to shoulder with whites to defend our country during the Civil War. In 1919, women won the right to vote with the ratification of the 19th amendment, one year after World War I ended. Throughout the Great War, women served and protected our country on the homefront for the first time in a prolonged military struggle. Then, a few decades later came the Vietnam War. Prior to our involvement in Southeast Asia, the federal voting age was 21. But, with 18-year-old men serving in the army, it seemed odd that they were called upon to serve without voting on whom they wanted deciding whether or not to engage in military action in the first place. 1976 brought with it the approval of the 26th amendment, granting 18 year-olds the right to vote only three years after military engagement ended in Vietnam. Though gays are not aspiring to gain the right to vote, the processes bears a resemblance. “Don’t ask, don’t tell” has been repealed, and a crucial barrier has fallen. Hopefully in exchange for dedicating their lives to our country, we can let the gay citizens of this nation dedicate their lives to one another.
Joel Sircus is a freshman in Trumbull College.