Less than 13 years after President George W. Bush called for a constitutional amendment to prohibit same-sex marriage, this controversial issue may finally be coming to a head in the nation’s capital.
On Tuesday, hundreds of protestors and spectators crowded the steps of the Supreme Court Building, where the nine federal justices might soon make a decision with nation-wide consequences.
“This is an issue that’s really going to affect our generation” said Colin Huerter, junior in political science and international studies.
A CBS article published on Tuesday reported that there are five possible outcomes of today’s case. The court may require that all states recognize same-sex marriage, declare that same-sex marriage is not constitutionally protected, tell states not to distinguish between civil unions and marriages, tell only California to recognize same-sex marriage or dismiss the case.
At K-State, students on both sides of the issue have passionate opinions.
“I’m a firm believer in marriage equality,” Huerter said. “It’s an area where people have a chance to get involved with their government and make a difference. Even though I’m not directly affected by this, it’s critical for people like me to be involved.”
Huerter is an outspoken advocate of LGBT rights.
“Simply tolerating someone isn’t embracing them,” he said. “We should move away from the idea that the LGBT community needs to be ‘tolerated’ and start embracing.”
Rhett Jones, senior in hospitality management, is also a supporter of the LGBT community.
“To me it is important because, at some point, I would like to be able to be married to a man that I am in love with” Jones said. “I haven’t met him yet, but being able to marry him when I do find the one. I feel like it is the role of the government to protect marriage and uphold it, but not their right to say who we can and can not marry.”
Jones said the issue should be decided at the federal level rather than by the states.
“I am pretty excited this is finally happening at the national level, because so far it has always been just a state issue,” he said. “This state having one policy and another having a different standard of rights is just not fair to the American people.”
Rane Cravens, junior in political science and president of the K-State College Republicans, said he does not think the government has a role to play when it comes to people’s marriages.
Cravens cautioned that we might be giving a few politicians too much power.
“The federal government should not have any powers that aren’t articulated in the Constitution,” he said. “If the states decide to do one thing or another, even if I personally disapprove of their decisions, I don’t know that the federal government should tell them what to do.”
Cravens said he would like to decentralize the marriage issue beyond even the states, eventually getting the government out if it entirely.
“Ideally, it should be between individuals and their church, mosque or synagogue. It should be between the people and the institution they choose to take their vows in,” Cravens said. He added that “more and more people are starting to want the government out of their lives in all aspects, whether romantic or business.”
Chase Downing, sophomore in marketing and the state regional vice chair of College Republicans, agreed with Cravens.
“Marriage should be with the church because it originated with the church,” Downing said. “It’s too bad that such a beautiful thing has been reduced to a document.”
Downing said that this is not a debate between pro-gay and anti-gay positions, but one about the role of government. He feels that different regions should be allowed to choose the policies that are best for them.
“There’s no way that the federal government should be creating any kind of regulation that would be sweeping from the west coast to the heartland, because we don’t have the same values,” he said. “It’s silly for one law to affect that whole area in the same way.”