Thursday, December 15, 2011

The Defense Of An Idea:

How the Defense of Marriage Act is actually an assault on it.


Social issues inevitably become a driving force behind any change in policy recently. It seems to me a shame. While it is true that, to some degree, a measure of social change should occur within our society, I feel that to base the very principals of something as important as an election upon such shifting, and often times misguided subjectivity, is gravely dangerous. However, it happens every day within our country. Unlike other liberal minded people of my generation, I will not lay the blame upon any specific group of people, though some of them may actually be to blame. I will however, set upon highlighting why I feel it is ultimately against the interests of the country to base such monumental decisions upon personal prejudices.

Abortion has always been that key issue that people have taken sides upon. This makes sense—abortion, by its very design, is a concept of alarming consequence; the destruction of a potential life. While I do not wish to touch upon this issue here (for it has been covered, ad nauseam) I mention it to merely highlight its inherent connection with the new, modern day social issue—Marriage, and what it means.

This issue, like so many others, has become decorated in various shades of gray. Heavy handed Republican candidates almost unanimously oppose marriage of any kind outside of the traditional idea that it should only exist between a man and a woman. This is to be expected from a party that has, traditionally, always been an advocate for older, more historical times. What is depressing though, is that the other side has yet to gain foothold within an established party; Democratic candidates seem to shy away from support for same-sex marriage in favor of the rather ambiguous “civil-union,” a legally binding contract of sorts that carries with it many of the benefits of marriage. This, in my opinion, is a weak gesture by a party associated with words like “progressive” or “liberal.” Because of their apparent fear of alienating sections of the middle voters, Democrats have assured that the only voice of support for same-sex marriages will come from those whose voices do not have the power to create policy on any chamber floor.

This is indefensible. Whenever a sub-sect of humanity is ignored, it can ultimately be marginalized. This is the greatest fear I have with “The Defense Of Marriage Act.”

This bill establishes marriage as being explicitly between one man, and one woman—nothing else is to be justified as a marriage. To me, not only does this represent a very backward approach to social tolerance, but it also creates a justifiable set of mandates that a government can dictate something as individual and personal as sexual orientation.

The Government has never had any problem with invading people's privacy. In the past, it was illegal for a black person to marry a white person. Though this act may still, to some who harbor prejudice, carry a sort of negative social stigma, no one in the world would ever be justified in denying such a union. To do so, would cause an unrelenting backlash upon the denier.

Yet, to deny a marriage is done every day to same-sex couples. Why? Are they not entitled to a modicum of privacy? To assault the individual liberties and privacy of this group of people, will ultimately establish the precedent that it is acceptable for a government to remove from existence any element of society that it feels is subversive—here, for our purposes, synonymous with different. Essentially, today's same-sex ban could be tomorrow's interracial ban, or something far worse.

Hitler was allowed to rise to power by the people he presided over. Liberty does not fall with weapons of force, for any coup d'├ętat based upon violence ultimately loses the support of the people that are its literal engine. To take down any structure of power, one must have the support to do it. Remember, it was Caesar, the favorite son of the people, and not Crassus the wealthy, that became a tyrant.

I simply ask, if we allow it to become constitutional to ban same-sex marriage, what else will we allow our leaders to do? If the individual is not free within the confines of his own bedroom, how much longer until the confines of his mind are broken down? It takes only one step, no matter how small a tip-toe or how large a leap, to set into motion the collapse of the American ideological bulwark. This nation was built upon a progressive mind set, built to change with the ever changing winds of social evolution and the current of an ever connected and ever global world. To close off such a civil liberty like marriage to anyone, is a disservice to all that is American.

America was once, and perhaps still is, the envy of the entire world. Governments envied the way our economy churned, or how powerful our military might could be when flexed. People, however, did not envy our government. People envied the United States because it was home to all that they could only dream of—home to liberties like free speech, free religion, and the right to love and be loved by whomever.

In the end, it comes down to that issue. It simply is not anyone's business, especially the Government's, what occurs in anyone's bedroom, or at anyone's altar. To allow this, is an indefensible assault on marriage and the idea it represents, not a defense of it.

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