Fanaticism is one of the most dangerous mindsets of the individual, and when it is combined with strong religious or political backing, it is also the most detrimental to a cause. It comes as no surprise, then, that in regard to the marriage equality debate, fanaticism reigns supreme for opponents of same-sex marriage. Whether based in religious dogma or personal feeling, many (not all) lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals have grown to reject religion and label all who agree with or who practice religion as “homophobic.” It is important to keep in mind that individuals are entitled to their own opinions and that trying to change a person’s opinions is ultimately detrimental to a cause. While those against same-sex marriage may be zealots in their own way, zealotry from the LGBT community only serves to further fuel the fire of disagreement.
So what sparked me to write about this in particular? Recently I had a discussion with several LGBT individuals who seemed to express great animosity toward those who did not agree with them. One went so far as to state that according to their views, anyone who thought that being homosexual was a sin was automatically less of a person At first I agreed, but the more that I thought about what this person had said, the more I sympathized with the “homophobe” in question. The truth is that we live in a diverse country that provides a place where people of different beliefs can practice those beliefs freely. While I support same-sex marriage across all 50 states, I do believe that the LGBT community as well as the opposition can come to a compromise on the issue.
Providing a framework based on the separation of church and state is the best approach to the issue. Allowing individual religious groups to choose who can and can’t marry but still providing secular marriages to all who wish to marry is a fairly reasonable solution, if not the most practical. Yet this still seems to offend some in the LGBT community. My message to those individuals is to stop acting like children. Not everyone who disagrees with marriage equality is a homophobe, and by claiming that they are, you are only further alienating your cause. This is why progress within the LGBT community has been an uphill trudge with consistent setbacks. Calling for equality does not mean a right of way for a specific group but rather that all opinions are heard on that issue, including your own. While the cause is certainly an emotionally charged one, radicalism should not be the go-to solution for both sides.
Yes, marriage equality is a very prevalent political and social issue, and there are no doubts that tensions arise from both sides of the aisle. In many cases it might seem that supporters and their opponents may never come to some agreement, when in reality a solution lies right before our eyes. Unfortunately, radical voices from both camps prevent a logical and legal end to the debate from ever happening. So the cycle continues: the individual is brainwashed into rallying behind a cause with such intensity that it separates an entire group from the middle ground, and actual results are never achieved. Now, more than ever, it is important to deradicalize the movements from both sides and adjust toward a mutual compromise.
Vaughn Shirey is a freshman computer science major at Drexel University. He can be contacted at [email protected].
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