A major social issue of our time is same-sex marriage. For years, states have battled over what rights apply to traditional marriages and what rights apply to same-sex marriages. Although Massachusetts and Connecticut have made same-sex marriages legal, Californians voted in this election to eliminate the right of same-sex couples to marry. The statistics of the vote were close: 52 percent voted for Proposition 8 (which banned same-sex marriages) and 48 percent voted against it.
There was a great deal of outcry after the results were announced, both in California and all over the country. Even on this campus on Tuesday, students marched on the campus green protesting the proposition. They carried signs and wore shirts that stated “H8 (hate) Prop 8.” The march against the proposition was arranged by the members of Rider’s Gay-Straight Alliance. Set up in front of Daly’s, the group encouraged students to sign two poster boards affirming that they were against the proposition.
The group has plans to send one of the petitions to Gov. Jon Corzine of New Jersey and the other to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger of California. Another petition will be sent to the governors of Florida and Arizona, states that also passed bans on same-sex marriage. Another state that has hindered rights of same-sex couples is Arkansas, where a petition will be sent because the state banned same-sex couples from adopting children.
Schwarzenegger said that the fight for same-sex marriage did not end with Proposition 8, and that there would be more to come, even though there are many people who feel that traditional marriages should be preserved.
One of the most disappointing things about the walk was that it was not attended by many students. College and university campuses have been known for years as hotbeds of civil unrest. A few decades ago, protests were held often, and hundreds of people showed up and really sent a message. Although it’s wonderful that hundreds of students signed a poster board, the message would have been stronger if all of those students decided to walk around the campus mall as well.
However, it was nice to see Rider students taking a look at the bigger picture and protesting a proposition from the other side of the country. Many campuses all over the state and the country did the same as Rider, and protested the ban of same-sex marriages after Proposition 8 went through. Since New Jersey is a state where civil unions are already accepted, it’s important to let the country know that this state wants more when it comes to gay rights. The same goes for those who are against same-sex marriage — the most important thing is that your voice is heard.
As a major social issue for this day and age, same-sex marriage is a topic that could possibly be reaching our voting booths next year. Since President-elect Barack Obama feels rulings on same-sex marriage should be reached by the states, this topic will continue to be in our news. Many people have strong views on either one side or the other, and the issue could come to a vote in other states soon.
The question isn’t whether you are for or against the issue, the question is whether or not you choose to make your voice heard when the time comes.
This weekly editorial expresses the majority opinion of The Rider News editorial board and is written by the Opinion Editor, Nadine Tester.