Twelve years ago the Netherlands became the first country to legalize same-sex marriage. Since then, several countries have followed in the same progressive footsteps.
It has been a triumphant decade for LGBT communities all over the world. More recently, Uruguay officially became the twelfth country to legalize same-sex marriage. New Zealand and France followed just days later. This means 14 countries are now ahead of the United States. In fact, according to CNN reporter Caitlin Stark, it wasn’t until 2004 that the first U.S. state legalized same-sex marriage.
Fast forward nine years and 10 states have officially declared legal marriage for same-sex couples. Right now Illinois is working toward becoming the 11th state on the list.
It baffles me that our country, which is supposed to be the land of opportunity with all its freedoms, is trailing behind other countries. Granted, there are still countries in which homosexuality is illegal and is grounds for prosecution. Nonetheless, if any country would legalize same-sex marriage, I would imagine it would be the U.S.
Perhaps this is due to the culture differences. European countries have always seemed to be one step ahead of the U.S. when it comes to social issues. Problems we deem to be taboo are the everyday norm for Europeans.
Another potential reason could be the deeply rooted religious beliefs many Americans hold.
“The U.S. is an exceedingly religious country,” said junior mathmatics major Timothy Kolanko. “This fact, coupled with lack of visibility of the LGBT community, had led to a slow but ever-increasing acceptance of LGBT rights and full marriage equality.”
Several groups, including the Westboro Baptist Church, have outwardly demonstrated their negative feelings toward homosexual individuals, and they do not appear to be backing down any time soon.
Regardless, our country has certainly made progressive strides in social issues. The Civil Rights Movement is a prime example. Nearly 50 years ago, the African American community fought against the segregated, racist societal norms to gain their basic human rights. When the smoke subsided, the group was victorious in their conquests, and finally progress was made. Of course, there is still distance to achieve total equality, but their brave ancestors have paved the way for that to even be a possibility. The Gay Rights Movement is essentially the Civil Rights Movement of the 21st century. It is a minority group seeking out its natural rights.
It is my belief, based on historic and current trend, that same-sex marriage will eventually become fully legalized in the U.S. Whether the population is in agreement or not is irrelevant. If history has taught us anything, it’s that our country, when ready, evolves and moves into the future.