If the past election did nothing else, it showed strong divisions among Americans. These divisions go well beyond the presidential race between Mitt Romney and Barack Obama. Gay marriage has continued to be a divisive issue among many Americans. Staunch religious communities and extreme conservatives continue to battle against laws allowing gay people to legally marry. However, despite these attempts, Maryland and Maine approved same-sex marriages, while Washington upheld a state law allowing same-sex couples to marry. While the debate between both sides has intensified, I have become even more set in my beliefs that no one should be able to deny anyone the right to marry the one they love.
I never realized how divisive the issue of same-sex marriage actually was until I got to college. Growing up in a conservative part of the country, my encounters with gay people were very limited. However, college has opened my eyes and showed me that this is a very important issue. I always thought my support of same-sex marriage was enough, however, I have found out that is not the case.
Maryland's Civil Marriage Protection Act was approved by a slim margin. Forty-eight percent of Marylanders voted against the act, showing a strong distain for the law. However, it was the hateful words that I saw an individual post on social networks regarding this issue that disturbed me most. Within hours of President Obama's reelection, I saw a Facebook post from someone who decided to use the term "faggot."
When I read these ignorant and hateful comments, I try to figure out where society went so wrong. Why can't we as humans be happy for one another when one finds the love of their life, whether it is the opposite sex or the same sex? Have we really come to a time when people are afraid to be themselves for fear of being bullied or rejected? Love is love -- period.
Arguments against same-sex marriage vary, but I believe the most popular one is religion.
I was raised in a relatively conservative home and attended church every week. I became active in the church and developed close friendships in the church. I believe in God. I also believe that God wants people to find someone they love and can share the rest of their life with. But the religious argument against same-sex marriage is one of the most hypocritical things I have ever heard.
The argument is that marriage is defined in the Bible as something between a man and a woman. Those against same-sex marriage believe that because the Bible doesn't make mention of gay marriage, it shouldn't be legal. However, if those against same-sex marriage really wanted to follow the Bible word for word, slavery would still exist. It isn't right, but it certainly is present in the Bible. If they really wanted to follow the Bible, the Sabbath would still be a day of rest. The religious community cannot emphasize portions of the Bible to make a point, and completely disregard other sections.
While the law narrowly passed in Maryland, I believe that it is a fair compromise between the two sides. After all, the law enables religious communities to refuse to marry same-sex couples if they disagree with it.
With so much division in the country already, why create more? My hope is that all 50 states eventually pass laws giving everyone, gay or straight, the opportunity to love who they love, and celebrate that love with marriage.