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The Daily Cardinal Est. 1892
Tuesday, September 26, 2023

Gay marriage a matter of equal civil rights, not privilege

I recently read an article in the State Press entitled, “‘Mawwiage’: The nightmare within a nightmare” written by a good friend of mine, Peter Northfelt, about the current arguments in the Supreme Court of the United States regarding Proposition 8 and DOMA. With the knowledge that this friend is very politically savvy and pro-LGBTQ, I was very excited to read his commentary. Unfortunately, I was both slightly offended and very confused about his argument. The article discussed a concept suggesting LGBTQ people should not want to get married because the institution of marriage is so corrupted in our society today. I have a number of problems with this commentary, most important being it’s really missing the whole point of these events, and that makes me wonder how many other people see the world in the same way.

As a member of the LGBTQ community, this whole situation affects me a lot. I want to get married—I don’t want church bells or a huge dress or a gourmet meal, I want a piece of paper that says I am bound to someone else in all senses of the word. I want to have all of my rights as a spouse and I want to not be discriminated against for my sexual orientation. Marriage, to me, means that I am legally tied to someone. In Northfelt’s article, he mentions that a piece of paper shouldn’t be the symbol for love for another person but what he fails to regard is in our society, that’s exactly how it is. In our country today, there’s a certain status that comes with getting married. Marriage says a lot about a couple and it isn’t fair that sexuality decides whether or not we can get that small, seemingly unimportant piece of paper. We don’t want marriage because we want to be accepted by society, we want marriage because we want the rights that come with it. We can love each other all we want, but we can’t be willed an estate. We can commit to each other for 50 years, but we can’t come during family-only visiting hours at the hospital. We can do a lot as homosexual couples, but a marriage certificate gives us so much more.

 Of course, we don’t live in a perfect world and we definitely don’t live in a perfect country or society, so I know that at some point in my life I am going to receive backlash for being who I am. While I obviously don’t support this, it is an unfortunate fact of life that I’m going to have to deal with. What I refuse to deal with is people outside of my community telling me what I can and can’t do and what I should and shouldn’t want.

 On a related note, it seems that many people seem to think that being an ally of the LGBTQ community means that you can speak for them, but I don’t think that’s true. The feminist writer bell hooks writes in her piece “Choosing the Margin as a Space of Radical Openness” that speaking for those within a margin only pushes them further into that margin. We need to be able to speak for ourselves. I am tired of people telling me that I shouldn’t want to get married, I shouldn’t want to have children, I don’t need A, B, C or D. Why don’t you let me tell you what I want and need? This isn’t to say that we don’t need allies—we need all of the allies we can get, but allies cannot speak for the community. I have goals for my life and nobody else can define that for me, especially when it comes to my sexuality.

 I want to make it clear that the events at the SCOTUS are not just about the love between members of the LGBTQ community. They are about equality. The whole point of this movement is equality and marriage is just the tip of the iceberg. We know what we need and we deserve it. I want to get married; I want to have kids; I want to be equal on all grounds.

What do you think of the current conversation revolving around gay rights? Please send all feedback to

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