Ohio's ban on same-sex marriage under question

Betsy Hart

Used with permission/MCT Campus/Brian Cahn

 

Protestors supporting gay marriage gather in Washington D.C. on April 28. They demonstrated while the U.S. Supreme Court debated the question of gay rights in America.

 

All men are created equal. Live and let live. Treat others the way you wanted to be treated. We’ve all heard these sayings too many times to count. Personally, I can’t remember a time in my life when I didn’t know these phrases. We are all told to follow and live by these sayings, but we don’t always abide by them, do we? We don’t always see people equally, we don’t always let people live the way they want to and we definitely don’t always treat others the way we would like to be treated—but we should.    
Currently, in Ohio, same-sex marriage is illegal, both by a state Constitutional amendment and by state law. In 2004, an amendment was passed putting it in the Ohio Constitution that same-sex marriage is not recognized. At one point, Ohio wouldn’t even recognize same-sex marriages performed legally in other states, although, in 2014, a federal judge ruled that Ohio must recognize same-sex couples legally married elsewhere when listing spouses on documents such as death certificates. While this ruling shows that Ohio is heading into the right direction, full equality won’t be reached, in terms of marriage, until same-sex marriage is legalized.         
This issue is now being taken to the U.S. Supreme Court. According to an article in “The Columbus Dispatch” from April 27, 2015, oral arguments were held in April on whether Ohio’s ban on same-sex marriage violates the United States Constitution. The decision of the U.S. Supreme Court as to whether Ohio’s laws on same-sex marriage do go against the Constitution is expected to be announced this summer, most likely late June. Ohio isn’t the only state whose laws are being brought into question. Three other states, Kentucky, Michigan and Tennessee, are all also being reviewed for their bans on same-sex marriage.                                    
Our society tells us repeatedly to be who we are, but we aren’t always given the opportunities to do just that. We as people and as a society are very often hypocritical, and we contradict ourselves, sometimes without even realizing it. We tell people to follow their hearts, but when they do, we don’t always give them the opportunities to do what their heart is telling them. People who are in a same-sex relationship and want to get married are following their heart, but we deny them that right. We tell people they are perfect how they are and that they shouldn’t change, yet we try and change them anyway. People who disapprove of same-sex relationships and marriages often try to change people so that they either are no longer in same-sex relationships or they try to change people’s beliefs so that they are also against same-sex marriage. We tell people to be different, but at the same time we try and make them like everybody else. When people go against what is considered “normal” and participate in a same-sex relationship, they are often told not to because it is too different. While it would be nice to live in a world where everyone is accepted by everyone else for who they are, that world won’t be possible unless everyone is given the chance to truly be themselves.
So, the question I have is: why shouldn’t same-sex marriage be legal in Ohio? Same-sex marriage has already been legalized in 37 states and the District of Columbia, so what is stopping Ohio from taking the next step toward equality? Legalizing same-sex marriage won’t harm anyone, in fact it will benefit numerous people who live in Ohio who are being deprived of the right to get married and the benefits that come with marriage. Some of the benefits that come with marriage that same-sex couples are currently not able to have include: having both parents on a birth certificate when adopting a child, having a spouse’s name on a death certificate, filing for taxes jointly and making medical decisions on behalf of a spouse. Legalizing same sex-marriage will make Ohio a better and a more equal place to live.
Many people who are against same-sex marriage feel this way because of religion. The defense for many who are against same-sex marriage is that, in the Bible, homosexuality is said to be a sin, although, in the Bible, there are countless things that are said to be sins that we often go against. The verse Leviticus 19:19 from the Bible says that it is a sin to wear mixed fabrics. Also, the Bible tells us that women should dress without braided hair, gold, pearls or costly garments in the verse Timothy 2:9, which is often not followed. The Bible has a large collection of writings and passages, the oldest of which can be dated back as far as 3,500 years ago. So, my point is, why is a book being referenced when not only do we go against it every day, but it is also thousands of years old? Many things have changed in those 3,500 years. Some of these changes include: the United States of America became a country, we gained religious freedom, we have television, we have the Internet and women and African-Americans have the right to vote. Many of the changes made since the writing of the Bible have helped and benefitted many people, and so will legalizing same-sex marriage.
We live in a great country, and we have countless rights that many others in other parts of the world are deprived of, but that doesn’t mean we can’t improve and be even better. As a country, we tend to pride ourselves on our freedom and equality, but right now, not everyone is equal to one another. Although it may be naïve to think we can have a perfect country or world, it isn’t wrong or bad to believe we can have a better one. Legalizing same-sex marriage is just one step toward the better and equal world that now we can only dream of living in.

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2015-05-19 08:23:00

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