A new quiet storm that’s making viral waves comes in the form of an equal sign. A poster, if you will, symbolizing equal rights for same-sex couples who long to exchange ‘I dos.’
Seventeen years ago, President Bill Clinton enacted the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), a federal law that restricts federal benefits and inter-state recognition to only opposite-sex marriages in the United States. Since 1996, America –– both homosexual and heterosexual individuals alike –– has been fighting to extend the freedom of marriage to all couples, gay or straight.
In the more latter years, however, not only has popular culture monumentally corresponded with the LGTB community, but it has –– in the face of it all –– spearheaded the movement to fearlessly broadcast a solid support for equal marital rights to same-sex couples. Via music and television (i.e. Glee and Macklemore’s “Same Love”), celebrities have made known their stance on ending DOMA.
Many Americans’ plight –– those of whom are fighting to restrict marriage to heterosexual couples –– stems from the idea that same-sex marriage will cause a threat to religious freedom or go in opposition with traditional religious views. Reverend Al Sharpton lends his voice in the defense of having both religious freedom and the right to marry within a particular faith.
As a Baptist minister, religious freedom is something that I believe in deeply and feel is intrinsically woven into the fabric of our nation. But just as I believe that religious freedom allows me the freedom to preach and believe as I choose, it also means that I do not have the right to impose my beliefs on anyone else. It should not be within anyone’s power to tell a religious institution that they cannot marry a loving, committed same-sex couple in their faith.
Also riding the same bandwagon is Beyonce, who recently went to Instagram and publicly announced her support for gay marriage. In a brief love note to all her homosexual followers, she writes:
If you like it, you should be able to put a ring on it.
Jay-Z, who is in accordance with his wife, spoke about the stirring issue last year, candidly expressing,
I’ve always thought it as something that was still holding the country back. What people do in their own homes is their business and you can choose to love whoever you love. That’s their business. It’s no different than discriminating against blacks. It’s discrimination, plain and simple. [ SOURCE ]
Harlem’s own A$AP Rocky sounds off on the issue of homophobia as well, particularly inside the walls of the Hip-hop community. In a recent interview with Alexander Wang for Interview Magazine, the Pretty Flacko rapper says,
So now that I’m here and I’ve got a microphone in my hand and about 6,000 people watching me, I need to tell them how I feel… For instance, one big issue in hip hop is the gay thing. It’s 2013, and it’s a shame that, to this day, that topic still gets people all excited. It’s crazy. And it makes me upset that this topic even matters when it comes to hip hop, because it makes it seem like everybody in hip hop is small-minded or stupid — and that’s not the case.
Albeit more interesting, however, is a recent conversation I had with my Godfather, who is now a retired Roman-Catholic Bishop. After not seeing him in years, my Godfather –– who’ll remain nameless –– invited me to his home for dinner.
Amid our burgeoning conversation about my latest whereabouts, he discloses to me that he left the vatican and proceeded to explain why, by simply stating: “I was too liberal for everyone around me.”
I then quickly summon up the courage to ask him about his views toward Gay marriage. And with a nonchalant attitude he says, “I’m for it… just call it something different. The word marriage –– its root comes from the Latin term ‘maritus’ which implies woman [after further breaking down syllables].”
So there’s something to pontificate. Maybe we should reserve the word ‘Marriage’ for heterosexual couples, and create a novel term for homosexual couples. Yet and still, endowing them EQUAL federal rights and societal recognition.