Our View- Disagreement should occur without harassment

As long as the same-sex marriage debate continues in this country, tragedy among the gay community will continue to take its toll. 

In a three-week time frame, there have been five suicides across the nation as a result of bullying and harassment from fellow students concerning sexual orientation. The victim’s ages ranged from 13 to 18.

Whether or not you are in support of same sex marriage, you must remember that as adults we set an example for future generations. This isn’t to say we must keep our opinions to ourselves, but we must remember that even if our attitudes toward same sex marriage aren’t the most positive ones, stressing the importance of respecting all differences is crucial. 

Thirteen-year-olds are largely influenced by the adults surrounding them. If it weren’t for what was presumably taught to them — or not taught — the lives of five teenagers might never have been lost. 

The Human Rights Campaign — a prominent American gay civil rights organizations— sent a petition bearing 150,000 signatures to The Mormon Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ headquarters pleading with leader Boyd K. Packer to take back a statement made in a sermon in early October stating that same sex relationships “are unnatural and can be overcome.” 

The LBGT advocacy group believes that such statements serve as reasonable explanation for the harassment of the gay community. 

One hour after the petition was sent, a spokesman for the Church Michael Otterson delivered a speech stating that no individual distinctions are worthy of any sort of act of violence. “Such actions have no place in society,” he continued. 

However, as Otterson continued the official church statement, the Human Rights Campaign began to recognize that this was not a statement of retraction at all. Otterson went forth to reiterate that — according to the church — marriage is a ceremony establishing the union between a man and a woman only. 

Human Rights Campaign Vice President of Communications Fred Sainz expressed his disappointment in the church for continuing to acknowledge same sex marriage as “unnatural.” Sainz made a comment to the Associated Press, stating, “Every human being deserves the God-given right to love and be loved.”

The principal crisis concerning same-sex marriage is the belief of many religious groups that marriage is strictly between a man and a woman. Their beliefs must be considered just as much as they should consider opposing views. Of course, debate must take place in order to reach a resolution; however, any unnecessary arguments that may that seek to defeat the opposing view ad hominem should be avoided.

Americans can continue to argue for separation the church and the state but for religious groups should uphold the humanistic moral principals presented to them in the Bible. Besides, where in Leviticus does it order Christians to harass homosexuals?

A dispute over an issue that — in the end — would cause no direct physical harm to its bystanders should not be made out to cause such harm. Rather than increasing the gravity of the issue and leading it — as we have already — to calamity, cooler heads must prevail.

In a nation where 13-year-old gay teenagers are choosing to end their lives much too early as a result of severe harassment, we must force ourselves to set aside our differences and acknowledge the bigger picture.

Wherever you stand in regards to same sex marriage, you must advocate for tolerating human differences. We set the standards for and influence the actions of the youth today.

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