With the recent media attention given to the subject of equal marriage rights for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) individuals, opponents of equality litigation and legislation have come out in full-force against any attempts the Supreme Court may toward this goal.
Many believe that a sort of "traditional" marriage is what is protected under law in the United States – though the definition of "traditional" has changed throughout the centuries in the context of marriage – and marriage between two individuals of the same sex is not legally or morally legitimate.
Normally speaking, I am quick to engage these individuals and point out that they are usually cherry-picking their religious texts (e.g., the Bible) to fit whatever personal or political agendas they wish to fulfill. While they oppose homosexuality – and by an invalid leap in logic, same-sex marriage – they oftentimes support (in word only) gender equality – though religious texts (e.g., the Bible) are very clearly anti-egalitarian when it comes to gender – or they may support (in word only) free market capitalism – though many religious leaders (e.g., Christ) supported mutualism which is at odds with markets.
However, before engaging these individuals on discussions of theology, there is an important issue to note on the same-sex marriage debate: the United States is not a theocracy. The United States does not institute religious law as statutory law.
It may appear that appeals to religion are desperate attempts to rally opposition to same-sex marriage (i.e., for if you are against imposing religious dogma as law, then it is often extrapolated that you are opposed to God Himself). This is because it is exactly that – desperate. Even conservative commentator Bill O'Reilly has admitted that opponents of same-sex marriage only have the weapon of "Bible-thumping" left.
Historically speaking, much of the very same rhetoric employed by anti-equality advocates on the right was employed in a similar debate in 1967 during the Supreme Court case of Loving v. Virginia. It was said that if the Court ruled against the Biblical position in that case that it would undermine the fabric of society, poison families, make children less well-off, and lead to a downfall of Western civilization. That case concerned legalizing interracial marriages. Opponents of that ruling stood on the wrong side of history and look like fools in retrospect.
Demographics are changing, and opinions with them. Marriage equality is coming eventually. I stand on the right side of history. Will you?
University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, native of Somerset