Love and marriage shouldn’t be limited to heterosexuals |

Love and marriage shouldn’t be limited to heterosexuals

Wedding traditions have changed a lot over the years.

From the music played to the vows said to the clothing worn, a nuptial ceremony often bears little resemblance to the formal occasions common just a generation or two ago.

People have adjusted easily enough to these changes. It’s time we showed an equal level of accommodation toward who is getting married.

The question of gay marriages is turning into one of the pivotal social issues of the decade. And in this election year, the issue is coming to a head.

In Massachusetts, lawmakers are considering their next step after the state’s high court in November struck down a ban on same-sex marriages. In San Francisco, gays are storming City Hall by the thousands to take advantage of that city’s decision to give them marriage licenses.

Meanwhile, the White House has indicated support for a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriages ” a measure sponsored by U.S. Rep. Marilyn Musgrove, R-Colo.

The irony is that Americans traditionally look to the Constitution as the guarantor of their rights, not as the means for taking them away.

Another irony of this issue is that conservatives are leading the call to ban same-sex marriages. Yet a basic doctrine of conservative ideology is limiting regulation ” to live and let live, and keep government out of places it doesn’t belong.

Many Americans believe marriage is supposed to take place between a man and a woman. They have every right to espouse that view. But it’s quite another thing to deny the right of marriage, and the benefits associated with it, to those who hold a different view.

Scientific research suggests that being gay is not a matter of choice. So gays are being denied access to the institution of marriage through no fault of their own.

This discriminatory practice must end.

Civil union legislation would be a start, but still relegates gays to being second-class citizens ” separate but equal.

Once society frowned upon interracial marriages, too. But times change, people become more open-minded, and sometimes societies can look back at old prejudices and wonder with amazement that they ever existed.

Let’s hope future generations look back at ours and remember us not as one of the last to deny gays the right to marry, but as the first to stand up for that right.

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