Gay marriage is a vital step towards equality

On Feb. 5, the Supreme Court of Massachusetts declared it would no longer offer “civil unions” instead of marriage for same-sex couples. This change further clarified a Nov. 18 decision that overturned Massachusetts’s opposite-sex only marriage law.

In response, according to the Boston Globe, nearly 2,000 people participated in protest rallies against the ruling.

I have to say that I am extremely happy with the decision that was made by the Massachusetts Supreme Court and even more pleased with the protest rally, which not only had a 300-person counter protest, but also ended peacefully.

As a gay man, I can’t speak for everyone from my community but I think that this decision is a thrilling victory.

If the decision spreads across state borders, many of my friends are also able to reap the benefits of progressive change.

I know that gay marriage shouldn’t be the top priority in the gay community in terms of political activism, but it is a great start to invoke change.

I would be happier to see an equal rights amendment or perhaps job protection in the 35 or so states that allow companies to legally fire workers for their sexuality.

Gay marriage, for me at least, is not about wanting to get married in a church or ruining a tradition that has been, for thousands of years of our history, a predominately opposite sex tradition.

I understand that to many people, those vows are sacred, but they are vows that many homosexuals would like to say to the person they love.

On top of that, the legal protection that comes with marriage, including health insurance opportunities, child custody and inheritance are some of the advantages that gays could gain from this monumental change.

I do fear that with this change, usually supported by Democrats, will be one of the platforms that the Bush administration will use in its campaign for re-election.

What many people across the nation need to realize, including the Bush administration, is that if the United States wants to lead the world into the belief of democracy, it should also lead the world in civil rights for its citizens, and that includes gays.

How can our nation’s leaders tell people from other cultures that their political practices and ‘terroristic’ beliefs are unacceptable in our modern world, yet hold on to ancient beliefs that homosexuality is a sin and should only be tolerated quietly?

I also challenge anyone that disagrees with this entire opinion to attempt to view the other side of the story. Everyone should remind him or herself that this change is important to someone he or she knows or loves – a sibling, an aunt or uncle, a friend, a co-worker, a neighbor, a classmate or parent.

Everyone, straight and gay, gains in our society when we are all viewed equally in the eyes of the law.