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Marriage Equality, Our Generation’s Civil Rights?

If you have logged on to Facebook or Twitter today, you probably noticed the barrage of people sporting the marriage equality symbol as their profile picture. The reason for this sudden outpouring of support is due to the discussion of the Calif. Proposition 8 case, or now known as Hollingsworth vs Perry, today. N.C. had its own version of Proposition 8 to vote on last year called Amendment 1 which, unfortunately, passed. This issue has been a hot debate for quite some time now, and is one that is being heavily followed on multiple news outlets. It seems students, especially those in college, have taken a serious stance on this issue with some in the media calling this fight for marriage equality our version of the Civil Rights Movement.

First, I will say that I am not gay. I have many close friends who are, however, so this issue deeply resonates with me. I also come from an extremely rich Catholic upbringing, so sometimes this specific topic e is not easily settled in my house. This is not because either one of my parents have anything against gay people. Rather,  one of my mom’s best friends in high school came out after they graduated. I think because of both my parents growing up in equally traditional Catholic households though and considering what time frame they grew up in (mid-1950s to 1970s), what they were taught back then is still very much a part of their belief system.

I’ve talked with both of them about this, and they support civil unions. When it comes to legally recognizing gay marriage, however, is when we drastically disagree. I remember coming home a week before Amendment 1 was being voted on and telling them I was voting against it-both were a bit taken aback. I know I cannot fault them for their beliefs, but I just do not see how anyone can oppose someone else’s right to be with the person they love legally.

Because the first discussions of this case took place today, there was a very constant stream of media coming in throughout the day. My favorite so far is the soundbite of judge Sonia Sotomayor making a comment in favor of gay marriage in less than a minute and leaving the lawyer defending Hollingsworth speechless. What was most interesting was how the media that appeared today managed to keep the majority of opinions over this issue out. For the most part, what was reported on was how people felt that the voting on the case was going to go rather than just about the issues.

I am really at a loss as to why we as a generation have been drawn to this case. Why is now the time to start to seriously fight for their rights when it is well know that there were gay people as far back as Roman times? I do not have the answers to this, but seeing how it will play out in the coming months, especially as a journalist, will surely be interesting.  What will be even more interesting, however, will be when we all look back on this period of time 40 years from now and see what has changed both in our world and with our own beliefs.


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