Marriage Equality and the Knife in our Backs

No, I will never say that progress is being made. If you stick a knife in my back nine inches and pull it out six inches, there’s no progress. If you pull it all the way out, that’s not progress. The progress is healing the wound that the blow made, and they haven’t even begun to pull the knife out. They won’t even recognize that the knife
is there.
— Malcolm X
Although this quote is from 1964 — almost 50 years ago — it is very much relevant to recent events. The Supreme Court heard arguments at the end of March about the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act, which says that only marriages between a man and a woman are federally recognized, and of California’s Proposition 8, which bans same-sex marriage in that state.
On my Facebook wall, I’ve seen nearly half my friends change their profile pictures to the Human Rights Campaign’s pink equality symbol with a red background that lets their friends know, “Hey, I support equal marriage rights.” I was glad to see so many of my friends supporting my right — and sometimes their own right – to an equal marriage.
But what I didn’t like was the negative reaction, and even worse, the passive-aggressive reaction.
The negative reaction is obvious — those who disagree with the idea of gay marriage, whether it is because they support the biblical definition of marriage, they interpret the Bible to be anti-homosexual, or they just have homophobia. Thankfully, there’s an entire movement to change the views of the many people who view equal marriage as “inappropriate” or “sacrilegious.”
What truly enraged me, though, was the passive-aggressive reaction on the subject. These people say something like, “Let people have their opinion. If they support gay marriage, that’s fine. If you don’t, that’s fine too.”
No, it’s not fine too. It’s not fine at all. An opinion is no longer an opinion when it’s an oppressive statement. When someone says, “Gays shouldn’t be able to marry,” that’s denying people the rights that they deserve.
Opposing gay marriage is the same as opposing equality. Marriage is hospital visitation rights. Marriage is knocking seven years off of adoption times for gay couples who want to help some of the world’s orphans. Marriage is ensuring that personal belongings are left to those who deserve them. And most important, marriage is love. One might think it’s for reproducing, one might think it’s for a man and a woman. But it’s not. It’s for anyone who loves.
Some people contend that equal marriage rights for homosexuals will open the path to people marrying dogs or animals, but this is an ignorant statement. Dogs can’t give the consent to marry. Dogs aren’t people who have homes, and families, and work their whole lives. Marriage doesn’t matter
to dogs.
These passive-aggressive and negative viewpoints are the knife in the back of those who seek equal marriage rights. If the Supreme Court rules in favor of marriage equality, the knife may finally begin to be removed, but the wounds from oppressive statements will still need to be healed.
Tom R. is a high school student in the Kansas City metropolitan area.

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