Score one for marriage equality. But will equal rights win out in the long run?
The Supreme Court of the United States struck a blow for gay marriage by declaring unconstitutional a key provision of the Defense of Marriage Act, a law passed in 1996 that hampered the ability for same-sex couples to have their marriages validated by states not recognizing gay marriage. While the issue of same-sex marriage at large is far from over in the U.S., the decision does represent the proverbial writing on the wall: sooner or later it’s going to happen.
But don’t be so quick to celebrate. If we’re not careful, freedom to marry might come at the cost of freedom of conscience.
The key issue at the center of the gay marriage debate was freedom to live one’s life peacefully. The ability of homosexual couples to live their peaceful lives at liberty was, and is still, marginalized. Now, those who disagree with their life choices might become targets of oppression. Let’s not forgot the needless, overblown stir caused by Chick-Fil-A’s position on what constitutes a marriage. In the wake of the Supreme Court ruling, more dissenters of conscience are feeling the hate.
Now, keep in mind that all manner of lifestyles, whether normal or alternative, have their detractors. Vegetarians and vegans differ from common eating habits, and in many cases consider normalcy in this domain to be immoral. Jews and Muslims abstain from eating pork on the religiously-informed grounds that it’s “wrong.” Amish abstain from most forms of modern civilization altogether. All these people maintain moral objections to what can be called normal, natural human behavior. The same goes for believers in traditional marriage. Some faiths may maintain that homosexuality is a sin. And that’s fine, so long as they don’t infringe on the rights of gays to live their lives in happy disagreement.
The continuing battle for gay rights revolves around the fight for the freedom to live and let live in peace. Let’s not simply trade one oppressed minority for another. Let’s win the fight.