THE APPEAL OF EQUALITY

A federal judge ruled on Monday that Ohio must recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states. While gay couples still can’t get married in this state, it’s a step in the right direction.

“The record before this court … is staggeringly devoid of any legitimate justification for the state’s ongoing arbitrary discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation,” Timothy Black, the judge who presided over the case, said.

He’s right.

There’s no solid argument for the banning of gay marriage. There’s no clear detriment to society, no immediate threat to the fabric of America.

Those who argue for religious reasons forget that the separation of church and state exists to prevent religious law from becoming the law of the land.

Arguing against gay marriage because it could tear apart our society isn’t effective either. Seventeen states have already legalized gay marriage, and they aren’t falling apart at the seams.

People who argue that it destroys “traditional marriage” seem to ignore the fact that Tiger Woods, Donald Trump and Mel Gibson — all of whom have had traditional marriages end in highly publicized fashions — are more of a threat to that standard than two people who happen to be the same sex who love each other.

At some point, same sex marriage will be legal in all 50 states. Ohio is one step closer with this ruling.

No one can say for sure when the final step will come and gay marriage will be legal, but it’s hard to imagine it being that far off.

There’s no need to continue to discriminate based on someone’s sexual orientation. You can’t discriminate based on someone’s race or age or gender or ancestry, so why would orientation be any different?

Calling the current ban on gay marriage anything but discrimination is wrong. By banning it, the state is effectively saying that members of the LGBT community have less rights than a straight person.

Hopefully, the appeal falls through and those who have to go elsewhere to have their union recognized will have the same rights as any other married couple in Ohio.

And hopefully, in the near future, those that have to leave the state to get married will no longer have to do so.

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