PUBLISHED: 2:58 PM on Wednesday, December 20, 2006
An unconstitutional America
How would you feel if a law was passed outlawing freedom of speech? Your rights would be violated and you would lose an essential part of life in our country. Well, thousands of people are having their own rights stepped on, right here in America. People have the right to live here without being harassed, the right to be accepted for whoever they are. Somehow, a huge portion of our population is being overlooked and not receiving these basic rights and courtesies.

People have been fighting the discrimination and slander towards gays and lesbians for years, doing everything from rioting to conducting 'holy unions,' ceremonies used as a poor substitute for marriage. In 1969, Reverend Troy Perry began performing such unions in Los Angeles. Americans need to set aside their prejudice and accept that gay people are just that: people. Gay partners have little to none of the rights given to married couples, although the relationships can be almost identical. Take Earl and Sam for example. They had been partners for a long time before Earl passed away in 2000. His will, unfortunately, only had one witness, and Oklahoma requires two. Almost all of the couple's assets were under Earl's name, and because they weren't married, Sam got nothing. If they had been wed, all of Earl's property would have immediately passed to Sam. Instead, everything ended up going to Earl's cousins, who barely knew him and had never so much as seen the property before. Sam was left to struggle with what little remained. There are many other rights denied to gay or lesbian couples, including the right to adopt. Despite how loving and kind the couple may be, they cannot bring a child into their life. Another big one is the right to work. There's no law that prohibits a company from firing an employee because they're gay, and 39 states don't offer protection from discrimination because of sexual orientation. However, despite the fact that laws are inflexible, gay relationships are inevitable.

That's right. People have fallen in love with members of their sex since we have been able to love, and it's not going away anytime soon. A census taken in 2000 showed that .99% of our country is composed of same-sex couples. That may not sound like a lot, but that adds up to 594,391 couples. Gays have been forced to take desperate measures to be with their partners of choice through history. Murray Hall pretended to be a man over a 30-year period, twice marrying women. It is only at death in 1901 that it was discovered that she was actually a woman. Also, in 1971, James McConnell found that the only way to gain a legal relationship with his partner, Jack Baker, was to adopt him. As Jonah Goldberg so bluntly put it, "Gay marriage is not going to go away. This is because gay people are not going to go away, and conservatives should stop blinking and rubbing their eyes in hope that, when they refocus, homosexuals will be missing from the picture." There's no way that the issue will ever disappear, and why try to force it? Barring the right to marry from anyone is unconstitutional.

It's against the Bill of Rights to deny gays and lesbians marriage. Choice of sexual preference is huge part of "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness," and obstructing that right is saying that human rights don't apply to homosexuals. An editorial in the Iowa State Daily points out that, "It's what's been labeled as tyranny of the majority. Individual rights cannot be trumped by the people in a true liberal democracy." Judges have ruled in California that there is, "no rational purpose" for denying gay couples the right to marry.

There is, of course, the common argument that the value in marriage is procreation, which cannot occur in gay marriages. John McIntyre shot down that point with the following statement.

"Need I point out that it is possible to procreate outside the bounds of marriage? I believe that the benefits to society of a strong marriage are stability in finances and purpose, commitment to values, creation and support of a community, and productivity that benefits both the individuals and society as a whole."

The ruling against gay marriage because it eliminates a chance of reproduction is completely illogical.

There are other cases in marriage where children are simply not a possibility: when a partner is sterile, for example, or if a woman can no longer bear children.

Would you make marriage illegal in these cases? To do so would be a cruel obstruction of rights.

It's time to set aside differences and throw out the discrimination against gays and lesbians. There is no logical argument to be made against gay marriage. Things should not be legalized because they are popular, but because they serve the people. Restricting gay marriage obstructs rights, is pointless, and goes against our Constitution. The discrimination against these people is too extreme to continue. When people are being murdered because of their sexual orientation, you know that something is seriously wrong with this world. It's time to turn things around.