Why Marriage Equality Is Important for Mississippi

Why is marriage equality so important? I want you to ask yourself, "What if I walked into the Circuit Clerks office to apply for a marriage license and I was denied because of the gender of my fiancé?" In a moment you are stripped of your rights, your dreams and even your dignity because the State that you call home treats you as a second-class citizen, and says that your family doesn't count.

U.S District Judge Carlton W. Reeves recently ruled that Mississippi's ban on same-sex marriage was indeed unconstitutional. Our state officials quickly appealed this decision to the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, where another hearing took place earlier this month. While we wait in Mississippi to hear from the 5th Circuit, the U.S Supreme Court has announced they will hear cases on this issue. Either way, we expect marriage equality by summer from a 5th Circuit decision or from the Supreme Court.

Although we expect marriage equality from the court systems, which makes us equal in the eyes of the law, it is also important that we achieve equality in the eyes of our fellow human and our society.

We don't have to agree and no one is asking anyone to change his or her beliefs, after all freedom of religion is another inalienable right that should be afforded to all citizens. We just want to have the same God-given rights and respect as everyone else and we want our lives and our families to, not only be equal, but to matter.

Why is marriage equality important? Because people are important, all people. You don't have to approve of ones life to accept them as equal. You don't have to agree with same-sex marriage to respect others' freedoms. If God afforded humanity the freedom to choose, who are we to deny that right to anyone, regardless of race, gender, religion, social status or yes, even orientation.

What if you woke up one day and suddenly everything around you was different? What if everything that protected you and your family were abruptly stripped away? Your freedom, your dignity and even your marriage were null and void. What if the Constitution of The United States no longer applied to you? This may sound outlandish to you, but it is the harsh reality for many of us. Although I was born into the Land of the Free, my freedom is limited because of who I love.

Equality, quite literally, means to be equal. Equal in rights, status and opportunities. This is what our great country was founded upon. Many battles have been fought for, what is supposed to be, a God-given right; that right is freedom. Freedom is something that most people take for granted, unless you lose it, or you were never afforded those rights in the first place.

You may have heard the derogatory cliché "God made Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve." Each time I hear this, I am indeed reminded of the first family and the events that took place in the Garden of Eden. God undeniably created Adam and then, as I like to jokingly say, He improved the situation by creating Eve; this is the biblical foundation and argument that many people use to justify the denial of marriage equality. But God did something else in that garden that most people forget; He gave humanity the freedom of choice.

As we await the ruling on marriage equality in Mississippi I ask you to step back and ask yourself, "What if?"