America is currently experiencing a crisis over something that should not be an issue in the year 2012: marriage rights.
The granting of equal marriage rights should not be a question, yet the country is much divided. According to a 2012 Pew Research center poll, 48 percent of Americans support same-sex marriage, and 44 percent do not, with 8 percent being unsure. While support for same-sex marriage now has the upper hand, it is still very disconcerting that 44 percent don’t believe in equality of marriage.
This notion is ridiculous, because of one essential idea — America, on paper, is not a religious state.
When modern American government was conceived with the creation of the Constitution in 1787, the grounds for a secular government were laid out in the First Amendment with the clause: “Congress shall make no law respecting and establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” In other words, the government cannot support a church, nor can it prohibit freedom of religion.
In many ways, this amendment is one of the reasons why same-sex marriages have not been legalized in America. Several religions, including many Christian religions, are traditionally against same-sex marriage, and therefore, many Americans don’t believe that such a right should exist. However, the main problem with the religious argument against equal marriage is that marriage is no longer merely a religious act like it was in the times of old. Marriage is now a state institution, conferred by a judge, with the option of having it done in a church. Therefore, it is ridiculous that people clam that gays should not be allowed to marry because it is against their religion.
In theory, religion no longer has an impact on the policies of the American government. But in practice, the separation of church and state has always been precarious. Religious ideals should not influence political policies, yet they do. The reasons for this are numerous, but one that sticks out is that America was founded as and has always been a Puritan nation. For example, sale of alcohol on Sunday, “the Lord’s Day,” was prohibited in states for many years and is just recently being repealed.
In conclusion, the central argument against gay marriage is, in all actuality, an invalid one because America is supposed to be a secular nation. Religion should play no role in determining political policies. Finally, it is absurd in the first place that people expect the government to tell them who they can and can’t marry. Marriage should not be dictated by the government in any way, shape or form.