Julia Gazdag
April 09, 2013 9:00 am

Please enjoy this complimentary disclaimer:

I just want to say up front that I’m a straight woman who has always identified as the gender I was assigned, and have no intention to speak for a community I am not actually part of (but sure do love!). I would also like to politely remind you, kind reader, that our comments section is a place of respectful conversation and debate. It is not a space that welcomes abuse, rudeness, or proselytization. Thank you for respecting that.

The Supreme Court is currently making some big decisions about the Defense of Marriage Act. A lot of people support it, and a lot of people who it won’t actually affect oppose it. There is a lot of yelling, and inevitably, Facebook feeds overflow with a fresh bounty of brilliant memes. Like this one:

I have an idea. Let’s stop invoking the sanctity of marriage in the same-sex marriage debate. Let’s not try to validate one person’s choice by invalidating another’s, even if it is a Kardashian, or even Newt Gingrich. We all know he’s on his third marriage, but you can’t advocate for one person’s choices by judging another’s. Maybe couples can decide for themselves how sacred their own marriages are, or if they want to save the sanctity for their wedding, since marriage is just the legal union part.

There’s also this gem:

Let’s try not comparing same-sex marriage to interracial marriage, the civil rights movement, or any other historical injustice. Yes, there’s a common theme of ignorance hindering social progress, but beyond that, all of these struggles were and are their own battles and deserve their own place in history. They’re not all a giant pool of oppressed people sharing the same experience, and it’s doing a disservice to people who are already marginalized to lump them in with other marginalized groups throughout history.

While we’re at it, let’s also drop the whole same-sex-marriage-leads-to-marrying-animals thing (seriously, what is it with that?). I get it. My goat and I can never get married. Never will we file taxes side by side, plan our retirement together or refinance our mortgage, hand in hoof. We can still share our little home where I pay bills at the kitchen table while Goat makes chévre tartes. After dinner we catch up on Doctor Who and talk about how much we miss David Tennant and then oh wait, no we don’t because animals ≠ people.

Besides, Goat is more of a Matt Smith fan, so this thing clearly has an expiration date.

What is it that the Supreme Court is currently ruling on, then? Marriage, ie. what’s basically a legal contract. No one is going into religious institutions and force-marrying anyone. People are going to have to work that part out with their respective religions, because separation of Church and State.

Here are some things that legal marriage provides for a couple:

Marriage is about super boring things that are only interesting when they’re relevant to your personal daily life, or the occasional family emergency. This is not about the Bible and it’s not about sanctity – you’re thinking of a wedding.

So why can’t same-sex couples be fine with civil unions? Well, why can’t you be fine with eating store-brand yogurt while all the other kids get Brown Cow with the cream top and fruit on the bottom? While marriages are recognized worldwide, civil unions might not even make it across state lines. What you’re asking is, “why can’t people just be fine with being second class citizens?” Why should they be?

The current debate about same-sex marriage is about legal rights — you can rail about religion and family values and sanctity until your ears turn blue and you fall over and hit yourself in the face with your protest sign, but that won’t change the fact that we are denying certain people rights that are extended to others. This is the direct opposite of equal rights (see: US Constitution).

If the State is required to respect its separation from the “Church” (ie. religion in general), then to keep the system functional, the “Church” must reciprocate. Government should not intervene in religious weddings, and religion should subsequently stay out of legal marriages. This is how we keep from punching each other to death. It’s called civilization; it will win you points at Scrabble.

So can we please agree to mutually respect one another and ensure we all have equal rights? Great.

Featured image via: … I don’t know you guys, it’s a meme, you need to start watermarking this stuff with your name or something.

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