By Eibhlin Lim San Ying and Elizabeth Sanchez
The day before, the streets of Stanford were relatively quiet as the erratic drizzle and reserved sunshine caused many to seek shelter indoors. Today the crowd is out again and the sun has dissipated the gloomy haze that previously shrouded the Missionary-style resident halls. The literary experts may call this poetic fallacy and they could be right.
After months in the Supreme Court, the Defense of Marriage Act and California Proposition Eight cases were both closed, with rulings in support of equal marriage rights. Until now, federal benefits were not extended to same-sex couples, meaning that they were excluded from the legal definition of marriage. As of today, all legally married couples will be given the same rights and, in California, will be allowed to marry.
While most in the United States are jubilant with this latest news, the subject of gay marriage remains a taboo in a number of countries around the world.
According to Ramiro Acevedo, who is from Mexico, “Gays and lesbians are prohibited in my home. They are often beaten up or ostracized. The fathers think of their sons as men and families often disown children if they find out the children are not straight. So, many gays and lesbians move to San Francisco, New York and other states where this is more acceptable by the public.”
Shuo Li, a graduate engineering student from China, concurs. He claims that he does not hold a bias to either side. He explains that same sex marriage is not traditional in China, and that older generations tend to be less open-minded to the idea. Despite the country’s notorious beliefs, he does have a few gay and lesbian friends in the United States. Upon being asked about how the court’s ruling will affect these friends, he said, “They’ll feel happy and enjoy their lives.”
Two men from India presented an additional perspective on the issue. The British Penal Court in India is beginning to alter its beliefs and grow more towards accepting same-sex marriage. Dhanam Verma, 50, an educator from India said that “There has to be sensitivity to both sides.”
Dhanam also mentions that there are two sides to the argument: religion and human rights. Each side has powerful viewpoints which he considers equally essential to the debate.
Neelanjali Ojha, 42, who accompanied the men, resides in Singapore.
“Gay or straight, they are all human beings,” she said. “Nature made you different, but nature also made things differently.”
It took many years for California and other parts of the United States to progress this far. Some might say that America has simply dipped a toe into the water, while others might argue that this is the beginning of a dive into the deep end. Nevertheless, it is the start of something. Something remarkable. We must strive to keep our hopes up and look forward to day the where every human being is treated equally.