Progress is progress

Posted on Jul 1 2013 - 10:30pm by Casey Holliday

On Sunday, Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy denied a bid from Proposition 8 supporters to halt gay marriages that had become legal in California, following the lifting of the ban by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

It was another moment of celebration for same sex couples, as well as all supporters of gay marriage. With pride parades taking place in New York City, San Francisco, Chicago, Paris and dozens of other cities around the world this past weekend, the timing could not have been better.

When I opened Yahoo! last Wednesday and saw that the Supreme Court had found the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional, I will be honest and say it made me tear up quite a bit. Though I am not currently dating anyone (hint hint everyone, I’m single!) and marriage is not in my near future, the steps we have taken towards progress astound me.

I’m gay. One day, I would like to be married. Unless there is some outrageous transformation or law passed, that probably won’t happen anytime soon here in Mississippi. The Supreme Court did not make the sweeping ruling on same sex marriage bans that supporters had hoped for, leaving the legality of them in limbo.

To me, gay marriage isn’t a religious issue. When the government began to offer legal benefits to marriage, there became two parts of marriage: the legal and religious.

My Mormon church probably wouldn’t recognize my marriage as sacred or “real” like it does straight marriages, and that doesn’t negatively impact my life in any way. But, at least in some states, the federal government would see it as equal, regardless of what gender my partner is, and guarantee me more than 1,000 benefits.

As a gay person, it is incredibly difficult to watch people tell me that I shouldn’t be afforded the latter because their religion deems it unnatural and marriage is “sacred.”

The religious right argues that the Supreme Court rulings infringe upon their religious liberties, forcing them to accept it or be labeled such awful terms as “homophobic” or “anti-gay.”

I don’t believe that being gay is a choice. I have close friends, however, that do. They’re not “homophobic” or “anti-gay,” and I would never call them that. It’s simply their belief, something I would never fault them for.

They do, however, believe in same sex marriage. I, and other Americans like me, shouldn’t be punished for others’ religious beliefs. Hindus don’t eat beef, why aren’t we trying to ban the consumption of cow for everyone in America?

The Supreme Court stopped short of declaring bans on gay marriage unconstitutional, saying that it’s the right of the states to define marriage however they want.

My love is not less than anyone else’s, and it shouldn’t be classified as such just because some people believe it’s wrong. Why should the state of Mississippi be the one to decide if my love is real enough to be married?

The Supreme Court made great strides by finding DOMA unconstitutional, and the failure of Prop 8 is also a success.

At the same time, it’s hard not to wish they had taken that extra step. Progress is progress though, right? Right?

Casey Holliday is a senior English and journalism major from Horn Lake. Follow him on Twitter @Casey_Holliday.