I think people are forgetting what ‘religious freedom’ actually means.

Simple: It means that everyone is free to believe what they want to believe, and practice accordingly, as long as it does not infringe on anyone else’s rights or break any laws. And yet, here we are, with a proposition on the ballot that is designed to, in short, walk (or something less PC) all over the US Constitution. Now, as an English grad student, I will be the first to tell you that this document can be interpreted in many different ways. However – the phrase where it declares that all men are created equal is not a gray area. Or is it?

It seems that this country is determined to test these words in every way possible. People said that slaves were not men, therefore did not need to be equal. Then blacks were clearly not men, and legally invisible. They also claimed that since women were not men, they also did not need the same rights as others. Stop me if you already know how these debates ended…

And now we are, again, trying to stretch these simple words to suggest that EVEN MEN are not all equal. However, while it was obvious who was black and who was a woman, one can’t always tell who is gay and who is not. Thus this kind of prejudice is somehow less visible, and more acceptable. And even on both sides.  I always hate it when people tell stories about how they know a gay couple who is fantastic and kind and has a great relationship. Or maybe they have a great gay cousin, etc. Why is there a need to rationalize their character because they have a different sexuality?! I know plenty of straight people who are angels and some who are jerks, but they all have rights because they are PEOPLE. Their character is not on trial in order to have equality under the law. Marriage is a concept, not a mathmatical equation. Any two combination of variables can be put together. The success of this union depends on the people themselves. Not what they do on Saturday nights.

Does this country need a group to set aside and discriminate against? Our constitution would say No, but it everything around me begs a Yes.  To put a law into our constitution that fully admits to discrimination sickens me. What will come next? Who will we rationalize into inequality?

When America was founded people sought refuge from a religion-dominated government. Separation of church and state is fundamental. Everyone must be able to carry their own personal beliefs, to not allow the government into their bedrooms to decide what legal rights they get. It’s not about God, or church. It is recognizing that we have injustice all around us and in our blood, and knowing that it does not mean we can’t turn around and try to fix it.

Wouldn’t it be nice, for a change, to decide that American doesn’t need to discriminate any group, whether they be of different race, gender, or orientation? This is not about marriage, or kids, or schools. It’s about common human decency, and our ability to look beyond any personal beliefs in order to make the right choice.

Be a true American, follow our constitution, and Vote NO on Prop 8.

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