|Marriage Equality Resources|
Marriage Equality: The Debate Is Far From Over
by Olin Thomas, Affirmation Executive Secretary
Last week the state of North Carolina passed a constitutional amendment defining marriage as between only one man and one woman. The state of Maryland passed a law this year allowing marriage equality but now it appears opponents will be successful in forcing a referendum to repeal it. The President of the United States, as well as the Vice-President and the Secretary of Education, have now publicly supported marriage equality. The presumptive Republican presidential candidate, who is LDS, has responded that he is not in favor of either marriage equality or civil unions that have all the rights of marriage.
While the marriage equality debate has been going on for years now and it seems that public opinion is shifting towards supporting it, the debate is far from over. Public opinion is closely divided on a national basis, but there are still strong divisions regionally and within different demographics. Older voters are still more opposed to equality than younger voters, and they vote in much higher percentages. No one needs to be reminded that the South and certain Western states remain more conservative on this matter than the nation at large.
I expect a long, hard road ahead for marriage equality, though I expect it will eventually come. But the journey there remains to be made. While marriage equality was not a specific goal of Affirmation at its founding, full acceptance of gays and lesbians was. This would seem to be a natural extension of our founding premise. I believe it is vital for Affirmation to continue to exist and operate to be a reminder to all that there are actual, specific Mormon people whose lives and families are directly impacted by the issue of equality – whether it is in marriage or any of the other freedoms and rights enjoyed under our form of government. The very presence of Affirmation and its members makes the debate concrete and personal. We are needed to continue putting a face on the debate.
So, fellow Affirmation members, I encourage you to be yourselves but to let who you are be known. Ideas can be dismissed, but it is harder to dismiss people.