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Manfull: Alabama's gay marriage debacle

BY ERIN MANFULL | FEBRUARY 12, 2015 5:00 AM

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With Valentine’s Day lurking right around the corner, it’s admittedly got me thinking a lot about what this “holiday” really means. Personally, I hate the fact that it’s become overly commercialized, seemingly forcing people into the Hallmark side of buying teddy bears for adults and boxes of chocolates that no one really knows what flavor they’re eating. All the while, with all the publicity of a man and woman falling in love, it somehow makes single people feel like they should spend the day with a significant other instead of with a pint of Ben & Jerry’s and catching up on Netflix.  

As hard as this weekend is for single people, I couldn’t imagine what it would be like to be a gay or lesbian couple in Alabama. This past week, hundreds of same-sex couples stood in line at courthouses across the state only to be denied marriage licenses. On Sunday evening, Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore told the state’s probate judges to not issue marriage licenses, even though U.S. District Judge Callie Granade had just overturned Alabama’s ban on same-sex marriages. Moore, violating a federal order, is no first-time offender. In 2003, he placed a 2-ton monument of the Ten Commandments in the state judicial facility, a clear violation of separation of church and state.

In an interview with BuzzFeed News, President Obama made a loose association between Moore’s resistance on same-sex marriage to former Alabama Gov. George Wallace on racial integration. Although this analogy seems brash, if you take a step back, it does look pretty similar. Both Wallace and Moore violated federal orders on very controversial topics. During the civil-rights movement, integration ignited riots and resistance in Southern states. In a very modern-day scenario, same-sex marriage has stirred up controversy ever since Massachusetts became the first state to legalize a marriage between two people of the same sex.

Although Iowa was the fourth state to legalize such marriages, it came with no ease. However, as stated in a Feb. 4 Daily Iowan Ethics and Politics article, Iowa justices found that limiting the definition of marriage to one man and one woman violated the state Constitution’s equal-protection clause. 

Isn’t it time that every state realize limiting the right to marriage based on sexual orientation is a violation of equal protection? Aren’t we past the point of trying to create “others” in our communities? Maybe I’m naïve or expect things from society that I shouldn’t, but I feel like at this point, isolating anyone who paints against the grain is just simply wrong. I guess I was brought up in an environment in which diversity and differences were not only accepted but appreciated. Who are we to decide who (legally) gets to love whom — especially a judge attempting to resist a legal order from a superior?


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