The Defintion of Marriage Murkier Than Ever

Liana Teixeira

I read a rather interesting news story this week. A woman from Ohio discovered that her recently deceased husband was actually her father through DNA testing. If you just cringed, I don’t blame you, but there’s a bigger reason why I am bringing this up. I won’t get into details, but this father/daughter was simply an unfortunate circumstance for both parties involved. Google the story and feel free to form your own opinion on the issue; it’s actually quite fascinating how the whole thing went down.

Anyway, after reading this article, it got me thinking about general marriage laws within the United States. My question: why is the definition of marriage still so convoluted? Of course, the U.S. has made great strides in the field of same-sex marriage laws. There are currently six states (Connecticut included) who allow same-sex marriage, as well as the District of Columbia. That’s right, our own capitol allows same-sex marriage, and yet the rest of the country remains hesitant in legalizing such a concept. Even the Merriam-Webster Dictionary has defined marriage as between heterosexual or homosexual individuals.

I’ve probably heard every single reason imaginable for keeping marriage strictly between individuals of the opposite sex. Religion tends to be at the top of the list. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not bashing religion or anything. I just think that since it’s the most prominent argument, there is no harm in addressing it. I was raised Roman Catholic and went to Catholic school, so I do hold a set of morals somewhat seeped in religious undertone. However, I was also raised in a country that values diversity, acceptance, freedom and equality—a country that also acknowledges the need for the separation of church and state. At one time in our nation’s history, we judged people by the color of their skin. We thought it was normal, we thought it was right (spoiler: it wasn’t), and many used religion or tradition as their defense. When it comes to family matters there are ways to be handling tough family disputes.

Today, it is safe to say that people view marriage as a sacred bond, a powerful bond that can only be explained as life-changing. Some believe such sacredness is reserved solely between a man and a woman and should be treated respectfully. That’s all well and good, but let’s get real for a second. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve turned to E! News and seen the hottest Hollywood couple call it splits. And let’s not forget those Vegas marriages. In this day and age, people are getting married, divorced and remarried left and right. You can pretty much get married and divorced in a 24-hour period. Therefore, it is clear that a religiously-sacred bond holds little weight when it comes to marriage. So, why the mysterious definition? Why are we so afraid to admit that love comes in all shapes, sizes and sexualities? Religion has become such a widely-used (and overused) defense that it simply cannot hold up as strongly as it used to.

I guarantee some of you may not agree with me, but before you sharpen those pitchforks, let me just say that you have a right to disagree, just as I have the right to disagree. There is nothing wrong with possessing strong religious beliefs, and I am not advocating that states mandate churches to hold same-sex marriages (that’s a very touchy subject…another topic for another time). But in my opinion, there’s nothing wrong with legalizing same-sex marriage licenses at the state level.