No Longer Separate but Equal

Chris Nickels

Over the weekend, Latiesha Green — a 22-year-old Syracuse resident — was shot in the chest while inside a parked car. Latiesha, and brother Mark, were leaving a party where, we can guess, they initially hoped for a fun evening out, like most twenty-somethings tend to do with their Friday nights. The Syracuse police report that despite no aggravation, no instigation, no disturbances of any sort, one party-goer decided to fetch a .22-caliber rifle and blow a hole through Latiesha’s torso. The Syracuse police report that the gunman murdered Latiesha because he did not like her sexual orientation.

For over a decade, fear has generated around the subject of same-sex marriage. People cry out that the sanctity of marriage has been on the cusp of annihilation. I am not sure what they are afraid of. Thirty states have banned same-sex marriage outright and 19 states have legislation banning broader forms of partner-recognition. Who really should be afraid?

It is strange to know that I cannot marry, serve in the military, give blood, or adopt children — the latter being true only in the utmost pro-America places, like Arkansas and Utah. Maybe I never planned to do those things at all; maybe I never planned to do those things because — at the moment — they are illegal.

People argue that marriage is not a right, and that passing Proposition 8 reflected that truth. But marriage was a right for same-sex couples in California for several months prior to Proposition 8’s passage. The California Supreme Court called it a right — not that it needed to. Homosexuals do not need courts, or ministers, or politicians to tell them that they have the right to the pursuit of happiness…or to life or to liberty, for that matter. These things are self-evident and inalienable to us all. There are others who say that gay marriages fray the fabric of society; they tear apart families and usurp values. Curiously they forget that gay people — progeny or sans-progeny — have families too: mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters. I hear the term “pansy” tossed around to describe members of the queer community, and I often wonder if the users of the word truly believe that we just sprout out of the ground each spring, don brightly-colored, sequined shirts and head to the nearest night club for techno and cosmopolitans. To lecture the importance of a loving, nurturing family to a group of people who commonly are disowned and castigated by their own families for being gay is redundant. We know. Thanks.

Some say that marriage is about more than love. Whatever the “more” is, it must be something that homosexuals cannot possess. Still, one wonders… Belgium has allowed same-sex marriages since 2003. Somehow, “Belgium” and “Godless-apocalyptic-hellhole” have failed to become synonymous. In New Hampshire, it is legal for a 13-year-old female to marry a 14-year-old male. Lord knows that it is better for families than the marriage of two financially-stable, middle-aged men.

People would cushion the discrimination via throwbacks to the mindset of “separate-but-equal,” which we thought was put to its death in 1954, but has been reincarnated since in the form of “civil unions” and “domestic partnerships.” Somehow the line: “The happiest day of my life was when I got domestic-partnered” fails to impress. If marriage is about more than love, is it about tax deductions, green cards and alimony? If marriage and family are really the foundations of society, shouldn’t we welcome them for all, irrespective of gender?

Last week, Olivia — the Editor-In-Chief of The Maroon-News — offered her view, and she touched on — rather insightfully — the arguments against the legalization of same-sex marriage. Only one of her claims did I feel was unsubstantiated heavily. Olivia pointed out that a majority of Colgate students support same-sex marriage. She wrote that those students “don’t have a problem with same-sex marriage because it doesn’t affect them.” Olivia wrote that they have an “apathetic attitude.” I disagree.

These supporters are not apathetic. They have well-defined ideas about what is good in this world and what is evil. I think they know that killing a man for being gay is evil. I think they know that killing the hopes and happiness of friends and strangers alike is evil. In an age where overt racism has to appear scrawled on a bathroom stall in the night, it’s strange to think that equally hateful, homophobic speech is spread, overtly, everywhere. Check your nearest bathroom stall for some insight as to how well-regarded LGBTQs are generally. That is what I fear.