As our generation grows ever closer to voter eligibility, we must fulfill our obligation as voters by educating ourselves on the issues, candidates and party platforms. Too often, people draw their political opinions from a single source, rather than actively seeking out a variety of sources with different perspectives. They believe what they are told to believe, mindlessly adhering to one viewpoint without understanding the other.
We have the chance to right the wrongs of our parent’s generation– to use critical thinking and analytical skills to make informed decisions. Our political climate has grown increasingly conservative of late, a trend heavily influenced by this lack of critical thinking and analysis. The conservative right has adopted a radical position on many issues, but sharpest contrast between conservative and liberal ideologies lies in the issues of marriage equality and reproductive freedom.
The most commonly used argument against marriage equality is that marriage is an institution created for the purpose of raising children.This argument falls apart when you consider that it is not illegal for people incapable of having children to be married, and that there is no law that states you must plan on having children to be married.
The first layer of the argument in tatters, we come to the “children need both a mother and father” argument, which collapses when you realize that single-parent homes are perfectly legal. We then arrive at the “if same-sex couple are allowed to marry, soon it’ll be legal to marry a dog” approach. Giving women and African-Americans the right to vote did not lead to dogs being able to vote. All of the superficial arguments proven inaccurate, we reach the base of the opposition: religion.
When denouncing homosexuality, religious fundamentalists point to the bible verse Leviticus 18:22 “Thou shalt not lie with mankind as with womankind: it is abomination.” To fully understand how fundamentally flawed the arguments based on this passage are, we must look at them from several different angles.
First, biblical inerrancy (the belief that the bible is without error) is completely unfounded. The bible was written by a number of different people over several centuries, many parts were removed by the early church, numerous intricacies within the text were lost in the translation from the original Greek and a multitude of contradictions appear within the bible. How can we base our opinions off of a minor passage whose context and meaning are so dubious?
Second, America is home to a multitude of religions and religious denominations, with many Americans simply declining to adhere to an established faith. How can we force the beliefs of a specific religion or religious denomination on the whole of the American populace? Third, to put it simply, if your religion prohibits same-sex marriage, don’t marry someone of the same sex!
In the wake of North Carolina’s amendment one, it is crucial that we learn from the previous generation’s mistakes. Church and state were always meant to be kept separate in America, and it is our duty as voters to enforce this principle. It is our duty to repeal such a gross violation of civil liberties, and to prevent further infringements in the future.
The ability to control your body is a fundamental right, a right seen in its greatest form in a woman’s right to have an abortion. Denying a woman her right to choose is morally reprehensible in the highest sense.
In their 2012 platform, the Republican Party stated their intent to add a human life amendment to the Constitution, enforcing their “life begins at conception” doctrine. This would not only ban abortions, even in the case of rape or incest, but also lead to the banning of birth control pills and emergency contraceptives (plan-b/ morning after pills.)
This could have enormous ramifications in our futures. Without birth control drugs, emergency contraceptives or the ability to terminate a pregnancy, a failure in conventional birth control could have lifelong consequences.
Forcing a woman to carry a child to term, whatever the circumstances, is immoral in the extreme. It is easy to denounce abortion, until you put yourself in the shoes of someone who is forced to carry a child against their will.
Someone who is forced to keep a child resulting from rape or incest. Someone who is forced to carry a child they know will be born with extreme physical or mental handicaps. Someone who is forced to have a baby when they never intended to get pregnant. Women in these situations may want to carry the pregnancy to term, but it is important that they have a choice. No one should possess the right to choose for them.