by Christopher Livingston
On May 9, 2012, President Barack Obama made a statement saying that he supports gay marriage. Overnight, the news went sensational, adorning the front page of many major newspapers across the country.
However, the question that comes to mind is: is it really sensational?
Gay rights movements have been going on in the United States since the early twentieth century. But, it was not until recently that states began to allow gay marriages; equally so, other states began to outlaw gay unions, even to the point where cohabitation was illegal. With such a divide going on within the United States in regards to whether or not gay marriage is marriage, the President has been looked upon to decipher which side is the “right side.”
Sure, no President of the United States before Obama has chosen a side in the gay marriage issue. It’s been a matter of states’ rights vs. national rights – and quite frankly, it could be seen as unconstitutional to put down the hammer on one side or the other.
This President, of course, decided to be different.
Nevertheless, we are living in a world where gay men and women are slowly (and surely) gaining more and more rights. From gay marriages being allowed, then disallowed, then allowed again in California to violence against gays being considered a hate crime, the United States has come a long way. Remember, the United States was once a country that considered homosexuality a “sickness” and literally confined such people to mental institutions.
Now, it is considered hate speech to say any gay slur – even if one doesn’t mean to offend gay people. We are living in an era where there are television shows with gay protagonists. Gay people are living comfortably after coming out – not afraid that the government is going to throw them in a cellar or “torture the gay out of them.”
Sure, there are still people who are absolutely against gay marriage. North Carolina, for example, has one of the strictest policies against gay relationships. Churches across the country have aired grievances concerning the increasing rights of gays in the United States. This, still, doesn’t stop the fact that gay rights are increasing and the world is not exploding because of it.
And it is because of this increase of gay rights that it should be no surprise that President Obama made an affirmative stand to gay marriage. Yes, it is unprecedented, but in this world of constant change, it was also expected.