Why the legalization of gay marriage matters so much

According to the Human Rights Campaign, “same-sex couples and their families are denied access to the more than 1,138 federal rights, protections and responsibilities automatically granted to married heterosexual couples.” Obviously, we want those rights–deserve those rights, as citizens of the United States.

Personally speaking, though, I have broader hopes…

If you aren’t gay, it’s possible (and totally understandable) that you may take for granted the freedom to openly display affection to your significant other in a public–or even semi-private–place. I’m not talking about full-on makeout sessions. I mean hand-holding. Little kisses. An arm around the shoulder or the waist. Using terms of endearment and speaking–without fear of judgment–about the fact that you’re in a romantic relationship with each other.

You should take those things for granted. We all should. Because we all have a right to them.

Obviously, gay people can do these things in public. There’s no law against it. But there’s always that tiny flip-flop of the stomach…the quick survey of who’s standing around, who might be watching, who might take issue with the fact that we’re two women in love. Sarah and I are sensitive people, and one thoughtless comment or disgusted look can turn our simple joy into sadness as quickly as a finger snap.

The legalization of gay marriage isn’t just the legalization of gay marriage. It’s an acknowledgment of equality, of the fact that we have a right to exist and to love. It’s an end to the belittling rehetoric about sexual orientation being a choice–because it’s not a choice. It’s not a label or a fad or a phase. It’s who we are. And to this point, who we are is not recognized or respected by the United States government. The right to marry would change that.

I’m not naive. I know that the world will never be perfect. There will always be homophobia, just as there will always be sexism and racism. But I still have hope. And I want the right to call my wife my wife in every sense of the word. As a person and a U.S. citizen, I should have that right. EVERYONE SHOULD HAVE THAT RIGHT.

The arguments against gay marriage are so mystifying to me. I know I’m biased, but I honestly can’t make sense of any of them. I do believe gay marriage will happen, for all of us…hopefully sooner rather than later. The waiting is hard, though. The cruelty of gay marriage opponents is hurtful. But once it’s all over, I think we’ll be stronger as a nation, more truly “united” than ever before.

I just want to be able to kiss Sarah goodbye as she heads in to work without worrying about slurs shouted at us from open car windows–or worse. Gay marriage isn’t a magic trick; it won’t make hatred or ignorance disappear. But it is the first stop on the road to respect for gay relationships, and that’s why I have every finger crossed that New York will do the right thing and vote in favor of marriage equality.

~ Jenn


About Sarah Diemer

I write about heroic, magical girls who love girls. I drink a lot of coffee. Follow me at http://twitter.com/sediemer or find out more about my work at http://sarahdiemerauthor.wordpress.com
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7 Responses to Why the legalization of gay marriage matters so much

  1. Laura says:

    SO beautifully, eloquently expressed. ❤


  2. Sidhe says:

    I feel a strong compulsion to share this post because it speaks to me so much. It goes to the heart of what legalizing gay marriage means. Would it be ok for me to share?


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