Importance of equality for everyone
As I type this, I am angry. I logged into my Yahoo e-mail at 2 a.m. before beginning readings for my morning class. I clicked on the e-mail with the link to today's online version of The Daily Targum and, as usual, went straight to the "Opinions/Editorials" section. If you haven't seen my name in the paper enough already this semester, my name is Denarii Monroe, and I am one of two current co-presidents of LLEGO, the People of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Questioning, Intersex and Ally Color Union at Rutgers. I am a black woman, bisexual-identified and a graduating senior. I am angry. I am angry because I read Tuesday's opinion piece on the recent legal proceedings concerning same-sex marriage in Iowa, "Gay marriage in Iowa sign of country's regression."
As a person identified with more than one historically oppressed group, I would like to address the author's first point — that the majority of Americans do not agree with the idea of same-sex marriage. To be honest, I do not care with what issues the majority of Americans agree or disagree. If the majority mattered, there is a great likelihood that I, as a black person, would not have the right to vote if "a majority of Americans" had their way several decades ago. There is a great likelihood that I, as a woman, would not have the right to vote if "a majority of Americans" had their way almost one hundred years ago. This is not an issue in which the majority should be able to have control over issues that affect the minority. I believe that on principle, this addresses issues such as the enactment of the Defense of Marriage Act. If one is a citizen, born or naturalized, one should have the right to partner with whom they choose.
The author claims that "a homosexual man is not barred from marrying a straight or homosexual woman nor can two heterosexual men marry one another;" but any one who is not a fool can see past this smoke screen. The issue is whether or not two people are able to marry the person whom they desire to marry. A gay man and a heterosexual, bisexual or lesbian woman can marry one another with ease, but the question should be, "Is this a pursuit of happiness?" It is not. Sexual orientation, be it heterosexuality, homosexuality, bisexuality or anything else is not merely about physical attraction. It is about the person to whom one is emotionally attached; it is about the person with whom one is in love. A gay man will never be in love with a woman, whether she is straight, bisexual, lesbian or something else. Therefore, whether or not he is able to marry her is irrelevant; he will not be happy. If he is an American citizen, naturalized or born here, he has a right, in spirit, to be happy, according to our Declaration of Independence.
The author brings up several other points, including the biology of human sexuality. I do not deny that heterosexuality has its place in the sustainability of the human race. Yet the definition of marriage has not always been a universal, monolithic concept — and it still isn't. Polygamy and polyamory are a part of the history of marriage. Interracial marriage, particularly within the United States, is a part of the history of marriage. Even when one reads the Christian Bible, ideas about marriage have changed between then and now. The idea of marriage is not rigid; it has changed over time because human understanding of sexuality has changed over time. The idea of marriage is not homogenous between cultures, and cultures themselves change throughout time.
As someone who plans to adopt — whether I end up with a man or a woman — I thoroughly enjoyed laughing at the author's quote from Dr. Kristin Moore, who asserts that "an extensive body of research" shows that children "do best" when raised by their biological parents. Do I really even need to address this point? Perhaps I do, but as I said, I have reading to do, so I won't waste my time responding to absurdities. If you would like to know why I think it's absurd, e-mail me.
All this being said, whether one's reasons for denying a particular group certain rights relates to religion or not, I would like to reiterate that rights are not to be denied, regardless of what "the majority thinks." I can only imagine what this world would be like if "the majority" had their way.
Denarii Monroe is a Rutgers College senior majoring in English. She is the co-president of LLEGO and of the LGBTQQIA People of Color Union.