Hell has frozen over and pigs have flown. On December 20, 2013 a federal judge ruled that Utah’s constitutional amendment ban on same-sex marriage was a violation of federal guarantees of equal protection. By doing so same-sex marriage was made legal in the Beehive state.
The Utah government fought back and a Supreme Court decision on January 6th halted same-sex marriages pending the state’s appeal. As of now, same-sex marriage is in limbo in Utah. On January 8th, it was announced that those marriages performed before the stay were declared unrecognized.
California endured a similar struggle when same-sex marriage was legalized back in June 2008. Proposition 8 was introduced and same-sex marriages were halted in November of that year and were not resumed until last summer. In August of 2010, Prop 8 was declared a violation of equal protection, exactly like Utah’s ban on same-sex marriage. The case was in limbo for years, going back and forth in the courts until June of 2013.
Utah is fighting a losing battle when it comes to same-sex marriage. Eventually the entire country will allow for same-sex marriage and Utah could do well with looking like we are on the forefront of this issue as opposed to feeding into the stereotype Utah has of being unfriendly to the LGBT community.
Utah has an arguably surprisingly large LGBT community and ranks 14th in regards to concentration of same-sex couples in the states. Salt Lake City was voted one of the 51 “gay-friendly places to live” and has the highest percentage of same-sex couple raising children in the country.
As a state with such a high number of same-sex couples and a growing LGBT community, it is a natural move to allow same-sex marriage and opening rights to all persons, regardless of sexual orientation.
Same-sex marriage has no effect on the heterosexual community. Two loving people committing to one another in a legally binding ceremony does not affect the marriage of two straight individuals. It does not lessen the commitment between any other two persons.
Well, perhaps that’s not entirely true. There is the case of Trestin Meacham, the Utah man who went on a hunger strike of sorts and refused to ingest anything other than water and the occasion vitamin until the same-sex community lost their right to matrimony. So, there’s one case of same-sex marriage affecting a straight person, albeit completely and utterly self inflicted.
What same-sex couples are asking for are the same human rights as heterosexual Americans. Same-sex couples pay taxes just like the rest of us, yet they are denied one of the most fundamental human rights that their heterosexual counterparts enjoy.
Sexuality and whom we are attracted to is a deeply person and powerful thing. As for myself, I personally find redheaded men very attractive. People like to tell me how weird this is and how they don’t understand how I could possibly be into gingers. What if someone told me being a ginger lover was a sin according to his or her own personally held belief system and voted into law that it was illegal to marry a redhead? You bet your bottom dollar I would fight back.
As a nation and a state, we cannot continue to refuse a large and ever growing community of persons a basic human right simply because some of us do not agree with their sexuality and to whom they are attracted romantically. To do so is self-important, bigoted and inhumane.
In regards to the state of Utah, one that boasts to be largely Christian, it is not in our favor to continue our war on same-sex marriage. If we are truly a Christian state, we should act as such. Meaning, we should be inclusive not exclusive.
We are all human beings with the same feelings, emotions and desires. It does not matter whom we lie down next to at night. We are one human family and we should act like it.
Brittany is the Opinion Editor at UVU Review. She is a passionate little soul of a person. She is a senior at Utah Valley University and will graduate in spring 2014. With a background in addiction recovery and journalism, she is planning a career in non-profits. She can be found on Saturday nights hanging out with her cat Ringo Starr and watching Netflix. She probably tweets too much.