The year was 2004. I had just graduated from law school and was studying to take the bar. A huge debate was raging in Utah because of the proposed Amendment 3, which would amend Utah's Constitution to define "marriage" as a "legal union between a man and a woman." I began discussing this with my father and my sister, who had also recently graduated from law school. Both are ardent believers and active members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (you know, the Mormons). As often occurs when I discuss issues like this with my family, I got emotional, things became heated, and angry tears were shed (mine) and eyes were rolled (my sister's).
Deciding I couldn't talk to them any longer, I retreated to my bedroom to avoid any further conflict and to keep myself from saying something I couldn't take back. My father and sister followed me up, however, to try to convince me that my views about this were wrong. Not because of anything in the US Constitution or case law, but because of God. "Marriage was a holy institution," they said, "a sacred union between a man and a woman, blessed by God."
I tried to counter their arguments with the fact that our federal constitution states that all US citizens should enjoy equal protection under the law; denying anyone equal protection based upon their sexual orientation was wrong. It's just as wrong as denying a black man and white woman the right to marry. It's just as wrong as segregation. This isn't a religious argument, it's a constitutional argument. I had spent three years studying law, as had my sister, and I couldn't wrap my head around anyone saying that one group of people can be denied the same rights and privileges someone else enjoys just because of who they love. It didn't, and still doesn't, make any sense to me.
Their answer? God. God says homosexuality is wrong. God doesn't want "those people" to be married and raise children. Finally, I said there was no reason to discuss it because I wasn't going to change their minds and they weren't going to change mine. In all my years of arguing with my family about things like this, I have come to understand that there is no convincing once God enters into the equation, and so we ended it and the subject hasn't been broached since.
It came as little surprise that Amendment 3 passed and our state constitution was amended to define marriage as something that can only be between a man and a woman. It took the further step to also outlaw "domestic unions" as well. Way to go, Utah. Blurgh.
It's now eight years later and the country is looking to the Supreme Court as they hear two cases about whether gay citizens of our deserve the same rights as everyone else. Even writing that sentence strikes me as ridiculous. Regardless of who they want to be in a relationship with, they are CITIZENS of our country. They should enjoy the same rights and privileges granted to me and my husband. There is absolutely no valid reason why they should be denied these rights!
But, GOD, Carrie. GOD. To this I say: Cut it out. God has a place in your personal beliefs that homosexuality is a sin. God has a place in your personal beliefs that homosexual marriage is against "God's plan." God has a place in your personal beliefs about how the world should be. God has no place in a debate about whether an entire class of people should be considered equal under the laws of the United States of America.
And if the majority of your arguments against gay marriage are based upon what you think God wants, then you don't have any real arguments against gay marriage.