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What’s up with Kentucky?

Emma Picaro

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Over the past few decades, marriage has become a more prevalent issue in the United States, especially as America claimed to be a mecca of freedom, but did not allow citizens to marry who they chose. The struggle started with the Defense of Marriage Act and the “don’t ask, don’t tell” ideology. Progress picked up very quickly when Massachusetts legalized gay marriage in 2004, and many more states followed suit. Soon, the issue was picked up nationally. Why is a country that prides itself on freedom, diversity, and opportunity so unwilling to allow homosexual couples the ability to marry completely equally?

The American political spectrum is based on two parties, which hold fundamentally different ideals.  Republicans, the conservative wing of the spectrum, believe in a strict interpretation of the Constitution, whereas Democrats, the more liberal wing of the spectrum, believe in reading the elastic language penned by the Framers.  There are a few hot issues that both parties hold polar opposite views on; abortion, marriage, taxes, healthcare, and gun control are all emphatic position-issue topics that are stressed when a politician runs for office, or when a voter identifies with a party.

The struggle for equality culminated in the Supreme Court decision of Obergefell vs. Hodges, made June 26, 2015, which ruled that state level bans on same-sex marriage were unconstitutional.  To view the changes in public opinion over the past few years, view an interactive graph of opinion here: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2016/02/19/kentucky-senate-approves-bill-creating-separate-marriage-license-forms.html

Even though gay marriage has been legalized, people forget that there are still other issues to fight for regarding the LGBTQ community, including fully equality.

However, the state of Kentucky is looking to prolong the civil rights issue.  A southern state, KY is a very Republican, conservative state, which disagrees with the premise of marriage equality for many reasons that do not stand up in court, or even against basic questioning.

Republican KYPhoto Courtesy: wikipedia

The Kentucky Senate recently passed a bill that called for separate marriage licenses for same-sex couples.  Sounds familiar, right?

That’s because it is.  The idea of being separate but equal reaches all the way back to the Civil Rights Movement for African Americans, where African Americans’ schools were separated from white schools, but “equal.”

Kentucky’s unwillingness to cooperate with the new federal legislation laid down by the Supreme Court was started with Kim Davis, who refused to distribute marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples in the state.  Still sound familiar?  Davis’ actions are the same actions of town office clerks who would not allow African Americans to register to vote, just decades later, and surrounding a different issue.

To truly become a free country, sentiments regarding being separate and equal need to be erased from the American mindset.  According to an anonymous senior at Nashoba, “legislators are not God, so they do not deserve to tell me who I can and can not love.”  Being homosexual is not a choice, but making America a country for all is a choice that needs to be made.  Equal means equal, and for any more progress to be made, this fact needs to be recognized by all, not just the Supreme Court justices that decide federal legislation.

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What’s up with Kentucky?