A (more) perfect union

As spring approaches, so approaches a season defined by new beginnings. Spring is a season marked by new marriages, new additions to families and new relationships.

But for same-sex couples in the commonwealth of Kentucky, in the city of Murray and at Murray State, this season of love and marriage only brings a stinging reminder that these rights are not theirs, that they are denied these rights by our democracy.

We believe that in this season of new beginnings, we as a nation should reaffirm our belief that all men and women are created equal, and that whether gay or straight, all should have the right to marry the person they love.

Let our new beginning stand as a new birth of freedom.

America is not a perfect union. We have seen the dark days of slavery, of Jim Crow, of women denied the right to vote, when children labored in the factories and when the elderly spent their twilight years in abject poverty.

We have, however, recognized the injustices that have plagued our union and sought correction. We are a work in progress – making marriage equality the law of the land would put us one step closer to the “more perfect union” of which Lincoln spoke and for which our brave men and women in uniform have fought and died from Valley Forge to Iwo Jima.

The question of morality is intertwined with this most moral of unions. What could be more moral than treating all people equally in the eyes of the law?

Those who oppose marriage equality often do so in the language of biblical morality, but in doing so, they neglect America’s historic separation of church and state. In America we hold that no religion should have the right to dictate the laws of our democracy. We preference no belief or non-belief, we privilege no denomination.

Those who wish to substitute the morality of one religion over a nation with a diversity of faiths and beliefs seek to deprive the vast majority of Americans of their right to choose how or if they worship.

They seek a redefinition of what America is – biblical morality rather than legal equality, biblical law rather than constitutional law. Shall the U.S. be governed by priesthood or by the people?

Even if marriage equality were to become the law of the land tomorrow, it would not force one pastor, one priest, one rabbi or one imam to perform a same-sex marriage. The religious freedoms of the many will not be lost to secure legal equality for our gay brothers and sisters.

Spring is a time for new beginnings. With marriage equality being weighed by the Supreme Court and discussed as close to home as last’s nights forum on marriage equality at Richmond Residential College, we believe it is time for a new beginning in America.

Our new beginning should be one in which every American shall be allowed to marry whomever they choose based not on their gender, but on the love they have for one another.

We have no illusions that this will solve all of the problems that plague us. We know that we all won’t sit and hold hands and sing kumbaya around a campfire if marriage equality became law tomorrow. But we do know that if we can make this change, if we reaffirm our commitment to our ideals as a people, we can get one step closer to that more perfect union.

The staff editorial is the majority opinion of The Murray State News Editorial Board.