Tensions Between Tradition and Justice
Published: Thursday, September 20, 2012
Updated: Thursday, September 20, 2012 12:09
The upcoming election will surely shape social policies for many Santa Clara students. The significance of voting is not lost on our Vice Provost who recently emailed all undergraduate students encouraging us to vote. One major election issue is over gay marriage, a hot button social issue being debated nationwide.
Only six states and Washington D.C. have legalized same-sex marriage. Three more states — Washington, Maryland and New Jersey — have recently followed suit and are in the process of legalizing same-sex marriage. Yet 24 states have some form of legislative support for the Defense of Marriage Act, which makes it illegal for same-sex couples to marry.
The polarity on this issue is extreme. The Catholic order is not in support of gay marriage, yet last year Santa Clara opened our Rainbow Resource Center. Designed as a safe space for LGBTQ students, the opening of its doors was considered by many to be a great commitment to the inclusive atmosphere we strive for on campus.
On the political scene, support for same-sex marriage was publicly announced at this year’s Democratic National Convention — a first for any party. This was after President Obama expressed his personal support for the legalization of same-sex marriage. As a group, there are some 1,200 rights that the LGBTQ community is not privy to because they are denied the right to marry whomever they like. These rights range from staying with their partner in the hospital in the case of severe illness, to being a legal guardian of their children in certain cases.
The 2012 election and following presidential term will critically determine the rights given to, or withheld from, the gay community. By casting a vote, you determine whether another human has the right to marry whomever or she wants.
For many states, the solution to the political indecisiveness is to leave it up to votes among its population. Although, Rachel Maddow pointed out on her show last September that, “When we vote on minority rights… we tend to vote no. It’s part of the whole concept of rights; they are not supposed to be up for a vote — they are supposed to be inalienable, even by majority vote.”
I urge you to consider that this is a critical time for the future of the LGBTQ community and with the upcoming election, it’s something to seriously think about.
Feliz Moreno is a junior English major.