Marriage should be a right for all

New York approved a gay marriage bill Friday, making it the sixth state in the country to legalize homosexual unions.

We are pleased to see this measure taken in such an influential political state.

While many of us may not exactly condone that lifestyle, to deny a same-sex couple the same rights as a heterosexual couple is wrong.

Being married in this country entitles spouses to hundreds of government benefits, from the ability to be with your significant other in the emergency room to the right to inherit a spouse's property.

We believe people should be given the choice of who to marry regardless of race, sex, religion or disability.

The only factor that should make a difference in deciding to spend your life with another person is love and faithfulness.

Many argue homosexual unions go against the sanctity of marriage according to their religious beliefs.

We believe the divorce rate in this country goes against the sanctity of marriage more than same-sex marriages.

In our generation, it seems as though people enter and exit marriages on a whim and don't think about the commitment involved.

If any two adults feel they can reasonably make a marriage last "till death do they part," then who are we to stop them?

Our country may have been founded on Christian beliefs, but we do not have a national religion, and the freedom to believe what we want has made our country a safe haven for religious refugees.

The United States was also founded on the belief of separation of church and state, so it is not the government's place to decide if gay marriage is morally correct.

Most of the staff members on this Editorial Board are of the Christian faith, and the majority lead fairly conservative lifestyles.

If Southern Baptists and Catholics can put aside their beliefs for legal reasons, lawmakers should, too.

Human rights should matter more than personal beliefs.

The two generations before our time went through the same type of struggle with legalizing marriage between black and white people.

These days, it seems outrageous to think that was ever an issue, and hopefully our children will feel the same about gay marriage looking back.

The southern states were the last ones to legalize interracial marriage, following the 1967 Supreme Court decision marking it unconstitutional.

We understand our state will be one of the last to approve a similar bill for the gay marriage movement, but wish more conservative people could see past religious views.

Conservative Republican Senator Mark Grisanti made a huge stand on the voting floor Friday by casting one of the two votes to push the legislation over the top.

In a New York Times article, Grisanti apologized to any citizens who felt offended by his vote and defended his decision.

"I cannot deny a person, a human being, a taxpayer, a worker, the people of my district and across this state... the same rights that I have with my wife," Grisanti said.

Gay, lesbian and transgenders are people, too and giving them the ability to marry whomever they choose doesn't hurt anybody.

Just because same-sex couples can get married, it doesn't diminish the validity of heterosexual marriages.

It's just about love and treating people the way you would want to be treated.

Nobody wants to be denied rights, and the struggle is far from over for gay couples.

What this victory in New York symbolizes is hope.

Hope that tolerance is coming and hope that one day people will understand.

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