Equality: Are we closer now?

Written by Muleskinner Staff

Story by Andy Lyons, News Editor—
AndySocial media sites are ablaze this week with variations of a red box filled with an equal sign, an unequal sign and other symbols.
People across the United States are changing their profile pictures to show support for or against equality for LGBT rights.
The movement started when a red box with thick pink horizontal lines, which is the mathematical equal symbol, was offered for sharing this week by the Human Rights Campaign as the U.S. Supreme Court took up arguments in key marriage rights cases. It was followed by variations including the unequal sign, crosses, bacon and other symbols placed in the red box.
The Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is a U.S. federal law that restricts federal marriage benefits and requires inter-state marriage recognition to only opposite-sex marriages in the U.S.  Under the law, no state is required to recognize same-sex marriage from another state.
California, which legalized same-sex marriage briefly in June 2008, struck it down with the passing of Proposition 8 that went into effect Nov. 5, 2008. Proposition 8 provides that “only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.”
The matter is currently before SCOTUS as Hollingsworth v. Perry which could either overturn or reaffirm Proposition 8. This is where social issues and red boxes full of symbols comes into play.
In states where same-sex marriage isn’t legal, same-sex partners miss out on over 1,100 benefits provided to opposite-sex couples.  These benefits include assumption of spouse’s pension, medical decisions on behalf of partner, visitation of partner is hospital and prison and many more.
Whether someone agrees with homosexuality or not, it still exists.  America was founded on many premises that include separation of church and state, and in the last 40 years the focus has been on equal rights.
Relationships should be treated equally by the government.  People deserve equal rights and religious institutions will not be forced to perform these marriages.
Along with equality, there come economic benefits.  States directly gain the revenue of marriage certificates sold, and the average cost of a wedding is around $25,000, which would go directly into local economies. The number of divorces in Massachusetts has gone down since same-sex marriages were legalized in 2003.
In a country where “all men are created equal,” it’s time to show equality to all people and their relationships. We’ve made many strides forward in terms of equality, and it’s time to make another.