Staff Editorial: The pursuit of happiness – for one or for all?

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Illustration by Elizabeth Spooner

Gay marriage isn’t that big of a deal. Same-sex marriage goes back as far as pre-Christian ancient Rome. It’s not that big of a shock. In this country, the real threat to our nation is not LGBT people getting married; it is, oddly enough, reality. Real­ity: the state of the world as it actually exists as opposed to an idealistic, fantastical one.

Opponents of gay marriage seem to feel that it’s time to go back to a “simpler America.” They want to unwind the clock and turn the dial, back to a time when gay people didn’t exist. The problem with that kind of thinking is that there was no time when gay people didn’t exist.

The old-timey America that some wax nostalgically about only existed on Hollywood sets of shows like “The Brady Bunch.” In real life, once the director called cut, Mr. Brady slunk back to his home and made love to his boyfriend in the dark. (Yes, for those of you who didn’t know, Robert Reed, the actor who played Mike Brady, was gay.)

The same groups, who advocate family values and marriage, speak in awe and horror of the divorce rate in this country and the number of births out of wedlock; hypocritically want to ban gay marriage with legislation such as Proposition 8. So families are important, and marriage is “a good thing,” as long as it’s not between two people of the same sex.

This is the real fear of gay marriage: the fear that LGBT peo­ple who were once ashamed, outcast or in hiding have stepped out of the shadows and stated firmly, “I am an American too, and I deserve the same chance at life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

Isn’t that what we learned America was about when we re­cited the pledge of allegiance in grade school? That we were one nation indivisible, with liberty and justice for all? Those words are lost on many of us today because the idea of justice for all started with a very limited definition in our nation’s history. It meant everyone, as long everyone was a white male landowner. Over the years, the true meaning of this idea has grown and expanded to include African-Americans, women, people with disabilities and LGBT citizens.

The persecution of gays is comparable to racism: it is hatred for a group of people for no reason other than the fact that their values and beliefs differ from your own. The idea is anti­quated, unfair and sanctimonious.

Once again, we’ve come to a crossroads, a time in history where we need to set a few more place settings at the table. It is a time for us to acknowledge the real America and the strength that resides in our diversity.

We, the staff of the Campus Ledger, hold these truths to be self-evident: that all of us are created equal, that each of us are endowed with certain inalienable rights, and that among these are living to the fullest, defending liberty as journalists, and the pursuit of whoever is nutty enough to want to marry one of us, without government restriction.

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