The last few days, you may have noticed a lot of your friends on Facebook with the above picture on their profile, or maybe you yourself have it as your profile picture. It's a sign of unity for marriage equality in the United States around the debates happening right now in the US Supreme Court for California's Proposition 8 and the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).
I debated the last 24 hours about whether or not to lay out my thoughts on the matter. After all, the way I feel may be controversial for some people and I fully understand that I even run the risk of losing listeners over this. However, I feel that being honest about my thoughts and feelings on the matter is ultimately more important than keeping quiet in the face of such a historic moment in the US.
I believe in marriage equality. I believe that all consenting adults of sound mind and body have every right to marry whomever they choose, regardless of sexual orientation. I've heard a lot of people say that allowing gay marriage will somehow take away from the sanctity of traditional marriage. But what is "traditional" marriage? A lot of people would say a Christian marriage between a man and a woman. Okay, fine. But how do allowing homosexual people the right to be bound under the legal contract of marriage encroach upon a Christian marriage between a man and a woman? If you want to make that argument, then you have to disallow marriages between any other non-Christian religions (Muslim, Buddhism, Taoism, etc.) or even atheists that get married. When I was married in 2006, my vows were between myself, my wife, and God. Whether people of other religions or sexual orientations were getting married did not threaten or lessen the covenant that I entered in with my wife. In fact, anyone else that was getting married was honestly the furthest thing from my mind. I was more concerned about my own moment with my wife and God than if someone of a different sexual orientation was also getting married.
So, should the government mandate marriage as a union between a man and a woman? No. Likewise, the government should not force any religious institution to marry a same-sex couple or any couple, for that matter. I was born, raised, and still am a Catholic. If the Catholic Church does not wish to marry homosexual people, I'm fine with that. I understand the Catholic (and the majority of all Christian denominations) interpretation of the bible that say homosexuality is a sin and wrong in the eyes of the Lord. I'm not here to debate whether or not gay marriage is okay in any church or religion because quite honestly, it's well above my head and at the end of the day, everyone will have their own interpretation of the bible (or any other religious text) and what it does and doesn't say regarding almost any rule. What I am here to say is that people of any race, color, creed, or sexual orientation should have the same legal rights and privileges. Just because a person is attracted to someone of the same sex and chooses to make their life with them, doesn't mean that they shouldn't have the same legal rights to property or life decisions that I do with my wife.
Yes, I do believe in marriage equality. If you don't like that and you choose not to ever listen to me again because of my feelings on the matter, then I'm sorry and I thank you for all the years. However, I couldn't just sit aside and not give my point of view on what could be one of the biggest human rights issues in the US since segregation.