Marriage equality: Time for action

I’m sorry if I sound angry. It’s because I am.

When human rights are at stake, there should be no room for debate. There should be only one guiding force fighting against an infringement on any person or people’s rights.

One of the oldest, most vital and innate aspects of being human is the ability to love another person. Love is not simply an emotion and does not exist without expression and action. In our society, this expression and action often takes the form of marriage.

In most states, it is currently illegal for same-sex couples to express their love through marriage. This is a human rights issue, not a religious or political one, and it should be treated as such.

Recently the Supreme Court has heard arguments on Proposition 8 and The Defense of Marriage Act. Proposition 8 was passed in 2008, ending same-sex marriage in the state of California. The Defense of Marriage Act was enacted in 1996, allowing federal marriage benefits and inter-state recognition to only opposite-sex couples.

Although there will be no official ruling for some time, the consensus is that the Supreme Court will rule in favor of same-sex marriage, abolishing the Defense of Marriage Act but falling short of abolishing Proposition 8 or moving quickly towards a nationwide ruling on same-sex marriage.

This would keep the power with the state, marriage equality spreading gradually across the country over the course of the next couple of decades. Eventually, even the most ardently red states will follow suit — although unfortunately the key word here is “eventually.”

And it does seem that many who have adamantly opposed same-sex marriage in the past are having a change of heart.

“You can believe that homosexuality is a sin and still believe that same-sex marriage can be legal,” said Timothy Keller, pastor of the conservative Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Manhattan, to the Los Angeles Times.

Even Rush Limbaugh, who had previously compared homosexuality to pedophilia, begrudgingly said on his radio show that “gay marriage will soon be legal nationwide,” calling it an “inevitability.”

While this is all a very good start, it is not good enough. When there are human rights at stake, action must be taken and banal conversation must be avoided. We must remember that it is people who are at stake.

Denying a person their innate human rights damages that person in many different ways. Refusing the human rights of others can cause a tremendous amount of long lasting psychological damage.

Now is the only time to fix any human rights issue, and same-sex marriage is no different. There is more damage being done every minute that is wasted in argument rather than action. It is people that we love, and the very concept of love itself, that is being hurt by how slowly the movement towards marriage equality is moving.

I’m sorry if I sound angry. It’s because I am.