God Bless America

It feels like our beloved America has recently hit a rough patch. The Abu Gharib Prison scandal and the wicked execution of Andrew Berg has left America straining for good news, anything to remind us of why Americans are fighting and dying everyday in the sands of Iraq. On Monday May 17, 2004, that good news came in the form of wedding vows. It was at 9:15 am on Monday that Tanya McCloskey and Marcia Kadish became the first homosexual couple to legally wed in the United States, proving once again that America is a land of freedom and equality. It was a moment of simple romance, in which two adults made the ultimate commitment, and then quickly disappeared from public view to begin the rest of their lives. It is why our soldiers fight for freedom. It is just another of the many reasons I am proud to be an American. I am so thankful that America is not held back by religious zealots who would love nothing more then to block equal rights, as they do in places like Iran and Saudi Arabia, where individual rights are not respected. In America, we understand that equality is the foundation of democracy. We understand that no matter what our personal beliefs may be, no matter what we may think of homosexuals or the morality of their lives, it is not our place to prevent them from being fully equal members of society, including being able to marry and to receive the legal rights reserved for married couples. And, we understand that whatever our church or synagogue or mosque may say, this is a country where separation of church and state is a cherished concept. Of course, we use religion as a moral compass, but we know that passages like Leviticus 25:44-46 or Deuteronomy 22:23-24 (which offer instructions for keeping slaves and killing rape victims) have no place in the legal code of the United States. Instead, we codify our laws based on equality and democracy and allow people to practice the religion of their own choosing and to hold their own personal beliefs. I am thankful that nobody would dare argue that we could not allow homosexuals to marry because, “if a law allowing gay marriages were to pass, the foundation of this country would greatly change.” As much as I love America, we have had some silly rules in the past that needed changing. As a nation, we changed the conventional thinking, extended rights, and thus made the country a better place. Finally, I am forever thankful that we would never write discrimination into our laws. We would never allow ourselves to be so carried away in political fervor that we would alter the Constitution to prevent equality. Of course, our President has made comments suggesting that he would like to do exactly that. He suggests an amendment to keep marriage between one man and one woman. However, I am comfortable knowing that this simply will not happen, because we always have those nine wise judges who know that such an amendment does not mesh with the idea of “all men are created equal.” God Bless America. I know that gay marriage is a touchy subject. But, I simply do not understand why. I understand the sensitivity surrounding abortion. I am about as pro-Choice as you get. I am against the partial-birth abortion ban passed a few months ago, even though it is an admittedly disgusting practice that I would hope never needs to happen until the end of time. I can understand the pro-life arguments. “Life begins at conception” is a statement that makes a lot of sense to me. I am trying to be equally reasonable with the gay-marriage issue, but I just do not see the problem. All I see are Tanya McCloskey and Marcia Kadish, two women who want nothing more then to make a permanent commitment to one another and receive all the rights and benefits that marriage affords under our current laws. These two women should be allowed to inherit money from one another, visit each other in the hospital, or file their taxes together. Everything else is just noise.