How the same-sex marriage ruling can save lives in the long run

I have chills right now.

In The Oakland Press newsroom, all eyes were glued to the TV as the historic announcement was made — that gay marriage is now legal nationwide.

"They aren't asking for much. They are asking for what you take for granted," political commentator S.E. Cupp just said on CNN. "This is not a moment in history. This is the future."

A man, with tears in his eyes, told CNN that this is something he never thought he would experience.

This is a moment I will remember forever, and I am so happy to be alive at a time where people have the right to love and to marry whoever they want, no matter the person's gender.

And I really hope that this Supreme Court decision will decrease discrimination and will teach others to be more accepting. With the suicide rate of people in the LGBT community significantly higher than that of heterosexual people, most importantly, this decision could save lives.

To tell you the truth, while attending a Catholic high school, I never thought much about the rights of gay people — because I never heard about it and, what I did hear was strictly against gay marriage.

It wasn't until I graduated that many of my fellow alumni, including one of my best friends, came out. Before this, she was very depressed and would close herself off from many people who loved her. And I never understood why — until the day she told me she was a lesbian.

That day changed my life because that was the day I finally saw what people in the LGBT community are going through and what they are fighting for. Seeing my friend hide who she was for so long, I could see the relief and happiness in her face when she was finally true to her authentic self. This was the day I joined the fight for gay marriage because I wanted her to be able to love whoever she wanted and not be judged for it.

Since then, my cousin has come out as gay and I have had the priveldge of meeting several other members of the LGBT community. And each and every one of them affirmed my belief that human beings should never be judged or discriminated against for who they love. They should have the same rights as the rest of us.

To anyone upset about this decision — who thinks the definition of marriage should be confined to a man and a woman — you must not know anyone who is gay. Because if you did, you would be able to see in their eyes that it is not a choice.

Instead of judging them, I honestly think we could learn a thing or two from our gay brothers and sisters.

Like my friend Mark Frankhouse said, "I just can't wait five years from now when statistics show how gay couples have at least a 60 percent lower divorce rate than straight couples."

As S.E. Cupp said, we take marriage for granted. Meanwhile, they have been fighting for this right for years. If straight people took a page out of their book and all fought for the person they loved instead of giving up when times get hard, this world would be a better place.


NOTE: Also, check out The Oakland Press Online Coordinator Andrew Kidd's column on the legalization of gay marriage.

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