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Sarah Maxwell

#loveislove

Trigger warning: May cause irrational hatred toward columnist because she is addressing marriage equality and optimizing her First Amendment rights, as we all should.

Equality: State or instance of being equal. (Webster's New World College Dictionary. Third Edition. Copyright 1996 by Simon and Schuster, Inc.)

This definition comes from a dictionary published when I was 7 years old — for the record I am now 25 years old ... before I knew what it meant to be straight or gay. For me, it was an era of Barbies and American Girl dolls, Lincoln Logs and Tinker sets, knights in shining armor rescuing the princess, and above everything, it was an era where true love conquered all.

Fast forward to today and Merriam-Webster has updated its definition of equality to include: The state of having the same rights, social status, etc.

Our country has been submerged in a debate of marriage equality, of who should be allowed to marry who and what rights and protection they receive from their union.

For millennia, marriage has been a cornerstone of our civilization. These unions have helped progress our society forward.

Marriage is a constant in our world, but it is ever evolving as we, as a people, evolve. It used to be marriage was pre-arranged for the betterment of the families involved. Women used to be seen as their husband's property, and whatever possessions they owned before marriage became their husbands after. There was a time when interracial unions were banned as a way to hold onto white supremacy. All of these cases have since been declared unconstitutional.

That evolution took another step forward a couple of weeks ago as the United States Supreme Court ruled in favor of marriage equality with a 5-4 ruling. According to the court's opinion, written by Justice Kennedy: The petitioners sought to find the liberty opposite-sex couples receive upon marriage, something they believe to be a constitutional right.

To say the ruling set off a firestorm of response would be an understatement. #lovewins and #loveislove flooded the Twitter-verse. People updated their Facebook profile picture with a rainbow overlay to show their support. President Barack Obama spoke out in support of the court's decision, and the White House was lit up with a spectrum of color.

On the other side, there were those who expressed their distaste for the ruling by citing what God did at Sodom and Gomorrah. He wiped the towns off the map, so to speak. Archaeologists and historians have yet to find them. And to those who hold onto this example of God's wrath like a security blanket and use it as a warning to sinners, I would like to point out this is Old Testament God. The same God who said in Deuteronomy: if a wife be not a virgin on her wedding night, stone her to death; if a man be found lying with a married woman, stone both of them to death; if a man forces himself upon a woman (rapes her), stone the man to death. I don't see a lot of people being stoned to death nowadays, do you? Don't pick and choose your God's punishment. If you so desperately have to cling to His word, cling to it all. You have the freedom to do that.

Moving in the same vein of religion, I want to applaud those who are sticking to their beliefs. It's very brave to voice your opinion regardless of how unpopular it may be. However please find another argument to base your staunch opinion on other then using what God says as law. Our nation's ancestors came to this country fleeing religious persecution, and our forefathers created a nation based on law separate from the church. Luckily, because of the First Amendment, we are all allowed our freedom of religion and to worship our Deity how we please. And as a side note, whatever happened to the old saying let he who be free from sin cast the first stone. By the fault of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, we are all sinners.

I hope we can all eventually find a balance where those who desire marriage are able to do so, and we can still honor and respect our fellow Americans' religious beliefs. We are a country constantly trying to honor our creed: All men are created equally. We are endowed with certain inalienable rights, among them are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

#lovewins

BCR Design Editor Sarah Denton can be reached at sdenton@bcrnews.com.

Tonica News Design Editor Sarah Denton can be reached at sdenton@bcrnews.com.

Putnam County Design Editor Sarah Denton can be reached at sdenton@bcrnews.com.

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