The author of the letter to the editor in the Jan., 16 issue of the Kentucky Kernel recycles many outdated arguments against the right of LGBT couples to marry. All of them have been refuted in other forums, and I intend to refute them here as well.
The author’s first argument states that social justice is fundamentally grounded on religious principles, and since religion is opposed to gay marriage, gay marriage is invalid. This is wrong for two reasons: first, it is patently false that marriage for LGBT couples is a religious issue. It is the government — a secular institution — that grants marriage licenses, not a religious authority. Marriage licenses often coincide with, but are still distinct from, a religious marriage ceremony. If the government cannot dictate to the clergy who they can perform religious ceremonies for then neither can the clergy dictate who the government can grant marriage licenses to.
Secondly, the author assumes all religions are opposed to gay marriage when in actuality there is a plethora of opinions on the issue. To say gay marriage is wrong because religion is against it ignores the opinions of many religious adherents.
Moreover, the author quotes the “religious” principle of “loving your neighbor and doing to others as you would have them do to you,” but doesn’t find it ironic he would deny his LGBT neighbors the right to marry when he would undoubtedly not like them to deny him the same right.
The author goes on to state that the gay community has never been unfairly oppressed. This is blatantly wrong. What does he call the approximately 1,293 federal hate crimes attributed to anti-LGBT bias in 2011 if not oppression? What about Matthew Shepard, Paul Broussard, Gwen Aranjo, Sakia Gunn, Rebecca Wright or any of the other poor souls murdered because of their actual or perceived orientation? And how about all the LGBT individuals who are denied housing or fired simply because of their perceived orientation?
As for the statement “No state or federal judge has ever sentenced someone to prison, death or even community service just for being homosexual,” the author is woefully ignorant of the sad history of sodomy laws and bar raids in the United States.
The author’s secular argument against gay marriage hinges on the inability of LGBT couples to procreate, since the purpose of marriage is apparently to increase the state’s population through procreation. In that case, why is the state giving marriage licenses to elderly couples, infertile couples, and couples who simply don’t intend to have kids? Should couples be contractually obliged to produce children within a certain period of receiving a marriage license? And what about adoption? I suppose the author would prefer that the 114 thousand children in the United States waiting to be adopted just stay in the orphanages as opposed to having two moms or two dads. The author fails to realize that the reason many LGBT couples are fighting so hard for marriage equality is because they want a stable committed union in which to raise a family.
In his closing paragraph the author iterates that he doesn’t believe that homosexuals should be discriminated against. However, I would argue that the exclusion of LGBT couples from marriage amounts to exactly that — discrimination.
Tyler Denham is a Biosystems Engineering Junior. Email firstname.lastname@example.org