Don’t discriminate – vote “yes” on Question One

Alex Greenlee / USM Free Press

Posted on October 22, 2012 in Henry's Head, Perspectives
By Andrew Henry

Of the questions appearing on the Nov. 6 Maine election ballot, none have received more attention than Question 1, on the legalization of gay marriage. The issue has had a significant push, because it did not pass during the last election, and there seems to be a stronger base of voters that support it this time around. As far as I am concerned, the issue is garnering more advocates as a result, and I think it will pass. What it boils down to is this: If you do not vote “yes” on question one, you are justifying the unequal treatment of same-sex couples, therefore denying them their constitutional rights.

To argue to keep marriage between a man and a woman is to rationalize inequality, plain and simple. The bill to legalize gay marriage includes a clause that gives the churches the ability to deny same-sex marriage, which allows the church to keep it’s own freedom of choice intact. I do understand that various religious affiliations are often the reason for a “no” vote on question one, and that the more religious voters argue that they don’t want to “redefine marriage” as the campaign signs state. Yes, the legalization of same-sex marriage will redefine marriage – for the greater good, by bringing equality to an oppressed group of people. I fail to see a valid argument against equality for all people. Any way you cut it, the argument against same-sex marriage is a defense for prejudice toward the homosexual population.

Another aspect of the argument against gay marriage is the claim that heterosexual marriage has become normalcy and that changing it would be uncomfortable for those who disagree with it. Statistically, heterosexual relationships are more predominant, but that’s because same-sex marriage doesn’t exist in most states. As society advances, it seems logical that the definition of marriage be re-tooled; the “sacred” right of marriage is not getting tarnished. Homosexual people who wish to get married love one another just as much as heterosexual people do. If this bill were to pass, gay marriage would just be called “marriage” from now on, not the divisive, offensive moniker we have now between “gay marriage” and, simply, “marriage.”

The passing of the same-sex marriage bill would have a positive impact on gay college students on campuses in Maine. The equal rights movement has seen a successful presence at USM, and campaigning by statewide college advocates of the same-sex marriage bill has surely been a large part of growth in support for this issue.

The issue of same-sex marriage is an important lesson in equality, as well as the decent treatment of human beings. It just is morally wrong to deny any person the right to marriage, whether that marriage is between a man and a man, or a woman and a woman. I’m a heterosexual, Christian man, and I do not see how legalizing same-sex marriage will directly influence me in a negative way. To the people who simply do not agree with the passing of the bill, I ask – why? If the legalization of same-sex marriage does not directly affect your everyday life, why does it matter?

Women received the right to vote, African-Americans were granted equal rights and this, too, will pass, in time. The only change that would affect the general population of Maine is that gay people can now get married, which does not interfere with anyone else’s life. Worst case scenario, there might be overflow parking on a city street because of a same-sex wedding, which would create some traffic congestion. That is it. The bottom line is that same-sex couples simply want the right to marry, a right that has been available to every eligible citizen of Maine for decades. It is time to end the injustice towards same-sex couples that is prevalent in Maine. Every other state in New England, save for Rhode Island, has legalized same-sex marriage. Now is the time for Maine to follow suit.