Scrolling Headlines:

Providence power play haunts UMass hockey in 6-2 loss -

February 25, 2017

UMass hockey falls to No. 10 Providence on Senior Night at the Mullins center -

February 25, 2017

UMass men’s basketball falters in the second half, falling to George Washington 83-67 Thursday -

February 24, 2017

UPDATE: SGA announces second and third artist for ‘Mullins Live!’ -

February 23, 2017

Divest UMass and STPEC host panel on building ‘solidarity economies’ in the Trump era -

February 23, 2017

UMass women’s basketball losing streak extends to 10 games after loss to URI -

February 23, 2017

Sixth annual Advocacy Day set to take place March 1 -

February 23, 2017

Panel discusses racial, sexual and psychological violence in response to art exhibit -

February 23, 2017

Judy Dixon enters final season with UMass tennis with simple message: One match at a time -

February 23, 2017

UMass baseball enduring early-season limitation in playing in New England -

February 23, 2017

Minutewomen softball begins season with cross-country travel, string of tournaments -

February 23, 2017

UMass baseball looks to bounce back from disappointing 2016 season -

February 23, 2017

UMass women’s lacrosse senior Hannah Murphy is Angela McMahon’s latest legend in the making -

February 23, 2017

UMass women’s lacrosse senior defenders accept leadership roles in quest for ninth consecutive Atlantic 10 Championship -

February 23, 2017

Kelsey McGovern rejoins UMass women’s lacrosse as an assistant coach after starring for Minutewomen -

February 23, 2017

UMass men’s lacrosse looks to continue improving throughout 2017 season -

February 23, 2017

Spring Sports Special Issue 2017 -

February 23, 2017

UMass men’s lacrosse defense relying on senior leadership with new faces in starting lineup -

February 23, 2017

UMass softball fills holes left by seniors with freshmen for 2017 -

February 23, 2017

The Hart of the Lineup -

February 23, 2017

Our journey is not complete

A major campaign issue of the 2012 presidential election was gay marriage, but, as “The New York Times” points out, President Barack Obama may be modifying his original opinion.

MCT

MCT

In May of last year, Obama took a local stance on gay marriage in order to avoid losing support from the nation’s conservatives; each state would have the power to decide for themselves whether or not gay marriage should be legalized.

Obama stated in a May 9, 2012, ABC News interview, “Different communities are arriving at different conclusions, at different times. And I think that’s a healthy process and a healthy debate. And I continue to believe that this is an issue that is gonna be worked out at the local level, because historically, this has not been a federal issue.”

By taking this course of action, only nine states and Washington, D.C., have equal rights for gays. Massachusetts was the first to recognize gay marriage in 2004, followed by Connecticut, Iowa, Vermont, New Hampshire, New York, Washington, Maine and Maryland.

Forty-one states continue to ban gay marriage.

Interestingly enough, Obama’s attitude on the subject had a different tone when he discussed it in his Inaugural Address on Jan. 21.  He boldly announced that, “Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law.”

As of now, the Defense of Marriage Act of 1996 does not recognize same-sex marriage as legitimate before federal law. The act defines marriage as, “a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife, and the word ‘spouse’ refers only to a person of the opposite sex who is a husband or a wife.’’

This is a clear example of explicit, government-regulated discrimination.

Even to speak in purely economic terms, marriage is a huge asset to any serious couple. Benefits include everything from health coverage, taxes and inheritance rights, all the way to hospital visitations during times of illness. Furthermore, “The New York Times” estimates that, “a same-sex couple denied marriage benefits will incur an additional $41,196 to $467,562 in expenses over their lifetime.”

Living in Massachusetts, it becomes easy to take these rights for granted. As one of the few states to provide equal services for all sexual orientations, a Bay Stater may forget that, in a majority of the nation, millions of Americans continue to struggle to receive the basic dignities granted through the United States Constitution. These rights are natural or, as some would say, self-evident.

That is the ideal described in the Declaration of Independence and has been a building block for the US ever since. It seems peculiar that as a country that holds a deep sense of pride in our civil liberties, and one that has made enormous strides in human rights, that there is still a massive volume of people for whom these dreams are just out of reach.

It does not make sense for an entire community of people to be denied constitutional rights because of gender, race or sexual orientation. As a nation, we have made vast improvements in the treatment of the first two, but we cannot stop there. Obama needs to initiate a change on a nationwide scale in order to move toward a more perfect union. There is no doubt it will be met with resistance, but our country was built on hard work; nothing worth doing is ever easy.

Denise O’Brien is a Collegian columnist. She can be reached at dmobrien@student.umass.edu.

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