Gay marriage legalization in N.Y. brings everyone closer to equality

Amanda Wallace

Amanda Wallace

The one argument I have never been able to understand from the anti-same sex marriage (I refuse to call them pro-marriage) lobby is that somehow gay marriage will redefine marriage to the point where all marriages become meaningless. Not only does this seem to be an exemplary use of slippery slope logic, but also a screen people hide behind to claim their opposition to gay marriage is not bigoted.

I have heard this argument on comedy shows, on the news and in my classrooms; from Bill O’Reilly’s now-famed dolphin marriage argument to a 20-year old-woman in one of my classes explaining that gay marriage infringed on her rights, an argument I still don’t quite understand. Unless it’s 007’s right to kill, very rarely do someone else’s rights actually harm you.

Brian Brown, president of the National Organization on Marriage, has argued (most recently on “The Ed Show”) that gay marriage is the number one threat against marriage as a whole. He is also a proponent of “divorce reform,” and if that sounds terrifying, look it up. It is. To the fascinatingly-acronymed people at NOM, the number one threat against families are more people wanting to come together and start families (and those pesky people who refuse to raise children in an unhappy home).

The redefining point of the argument is what really confuses me. There are still two people who want to stay together for the rest of their lives. Isn’t that, fundamentally, what marriage is? Brown argues that the institution of marriage is a sacred and beautiful snowflake (apparently the same snowflake as civil unions, which he also believes are a right only for hetero pairings), and that changing the way we view marriage in even the slightest way would make that snowflake less special. One change. A changed pronoun.

I’m an English major. Usually, in an argument, I’m the first to argue that the definition of a word matters. But this argument is an ill-conceived attempt to stop something that really shouldn’t be illegal. A marriage is a union between two PEOPLE, and being homosexual does not make someone less of a person. I know some great people who also happen to find the same sex attractive. When you make the argument that two men (or two women) getting married violates the definition of marriage, you’re devaluing another human being into something less. You are saying that they don’t deserve the same rights as you, the rights you so cherish for “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

Brian Brown, the only people whose rights are being attacked are those you would press your moral code upon. I think Sen. Diane Savino, of Staten Island, said it best: “people stand up there before God and man … they swear to love, honor and obey, and they don’t mean a word of it. So if there’s anything wrong with the sanctity of marriage in America, it comes from those of us who have the privilege and the right and have abused it for decades.”