marriage.article by live2012


									Slug: MARRIAGE
Byline: Jenny Allen

         On November 2, eleven states passed bans on gay marriage, which is making some members of
the queer community at Stanford anything but gay.

         “The queer community at Stanford is outraged by America's blatant lack of respect for queer
people across the country,” said Amber Baysinger, a bisexual freshman majoring in ?. “This atrocity sends
out the message that many of our country-mates, despite queer activism and LGBT rights movements
throughout the nation, still look down upon the queer community as immoral, wrong, and inferior human

         “I am appalled, saddened and shocked that the amendments passed in all eleven states,” said
freshmen Ingrid Fox majoring in ?. “Even if it had passed in one state it would have been too much for me.
It seems like an unparalleled step backward in American civil rights history.”

         “I know the ban will affect me,” said Minnesota-native and major/year Katherine Roubos. “It will
galvanize me and hopefully the entire queer community to up the political pressure, the visibility events,
and the educational efforts. Change takes time and ceaseless agitation. We have both.”

       “The bans don't only affect me as a queer person, they affect everyone,” Fox said. “They give
homophobes the impression that they have a right to discriminate.”

         “Many queer students are of an age where they are coming to terms with their sexual orientation,”
said Daniel Shih, a second-year law student and co-president of OUTLAW, a student organization that
hosts social gatherings for the LGBT community at Stanford Law School. “The bans send the message that
gay and lesbian relationships are inferior to straight relationships. That is obviously not good for the self-
esteem of these students.”

         Baysinger also said, “I have found that much of the Stanford student body readily accepts and
embraces its queer community, so I do not believe that the gay marriage bans will therefore affect the queer
community directly through the thoughts and/or actions of the straight community. However, students of
the queer community who wish to get married in the near future or any time in their lives will definitely be
hurt by the bans. Being queer is not a choice; it is a way of life.”

        As illustrated above, students are expressing a diversity of opinions on the matter. According to
Hannah Hogan Leslie, the President of the Queer/Straight Alliance (QSA) and a sophomore/junior/senior
majoring in human biology, “I don’t believe there is a consensus on this issue among our group, let alone
among all queer students on campus.”

         “I’ve spoken with many students who are extremely upset - hurt, angry, dispirited - about the
outcome of the elections,” said Ben Davidson, the Director of the LGBT Community Resources Center.
“My sense was that the approval of same sex marriage bans played a role in that reaction, though none of
the students separated their reactions to the specifically anti-LGBT legislation from more general concerns
about the reelection of the incumbent.”

         Alumni like George Duran, the president of Stanford Pride which connects the lesbian, gay,
bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, and intersex alumni/ae of Stanford University, encourage
students to educate friends, the community, and elected officials regarding gay marriage. Duran as a board
member of the Bay Area Municipal Elections Committee hopes to achieve progress for the queer
community by supporting candidates that advance LGBT issues.

        “We were convinced that the gay marriage bans would pass in all but one state – Oregon,” he said.
“Not only did we lose, but we lost big. This is obviously an issue that has united social conservatives, the
same group that awarded George Bush a second term in office. It's going to be very difficult to make any
progress in this area during the next four years.”

         With President Bush’s re-election, there is also concern about a constitutional amendment ban on
gay marriage. “I was convinced that this issue was dead in the water, used primarily by the Bush campaign
to energize their political base,” said Duran. “But now, they have even more support in the Senate and in
the House. Personally, I think that the states will be left to define marriage, and this effort will not result in
an amendment to the U. S. Constitution.”

          In the event such an amendment is ratified, Shih stated that it would be a blight to the U.S.
Constitution for decades. “Because it takes a super-majority of states to amend the Constitution, such an
amendment could not be repealed until the last of the bigoted states agreed to its repeal,” he said. “Even if
decades from now most of the country wanted to grant equal marriage rights, such an amendment could
ban all states from doing so until the handful of holdout states progress.”

         Despite the outcome of last week’s election, many queer students remain hopeful that bans on gay
marriage will end. “I think it is inevitable that same-sex marriage will become legal in the United States,”
Fox said. “History happens in cycles, there's no straight line of progression or acceptance. This is just
another phase in the cycle.”

         Baysinger echoed similar sentiments. “I am definitely optimistic that one day the American public
will be ready for gay marriage,” she said. “At one point in time nobody thought blacks could ever be
regarded as equal to whites, yet activist groups persisted and racism in the country is slowly being
conquered. I feel that the same thing can happen to the queer community. I just hope it doesn't take another
hundred years.”

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