Editorial- Gay marriage bill gets student attention at IWU

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This past Valentine’s Day, the Illinois Senate approved a bill that would officially legalize gay marriage, putting it on track to become the tenth state to offer equal marriage rights for heterosexuals and homosexuals. Though the state House hasn’t voted yet, the passing of this bill has sparked hope for many homosexuals and allies at Illinois Wesleyan University.
The legislation passed 34 to 21 under the Democratic legislation, which was a monumental victory for gay rights activists across the state. Illinois has become a part of the shift that the entire country is now on its way to making – equal marriage rights for all couples.
Not only does this mean that they have the right to marry, it will also mean that gay couples are given all of the same rights that heterosexual couples have, something that seemed virtually unattainable just a few years ago.
Senior Leeya Jackson said, “I hate that my aunts, who have been together since before I was even born, can’t visit each other overnight while sick in the hospital just because some close-minded people are ‘uncomfortable’ with it.”
Luckily for the supporters of gay rights, progress is being made in both the Democratic and Republican parties.
“Last year, the College Republicans volunteered for the Jason Barickman campaign, and he was the only Republican Senator to vote for this bill,” said sophomore Casey Plach, a member of the College Republicans. “I am proud to have worked on his campaign and happy to see progress in the Republican Party regarding this issue.”
Many students across Illinois Wesleyan University’s campus are showing their support for the bill while others have mixed feelings about the issue.
“As a conservative Christian, I am pretty traditional,” said junior Aaron Smith. “It’s already evident that anyone who stands opposed to same-sex marriage will be socially punished- labeled ‘hateful, bigoted, or close minded’ and directly or indirectly silenced. But it is a different issue to actively force others to abandon long-standing moral code and conscience.”
Illinois Wesleyan’s Pride has reason to celebrate the progress that is being made. Still, some members are worried about the state House’s future verdict on the issue.
Junior president of Pride, Athena Cocallas said,“I’m just worried that, if it doesn’t pass, how long will it be until it does pass? If I could talk to those opposed, I would ask why they think they have more of a right to marry than I do.”
Though the struggle for equal rights continues, the recent step toward equality has given many hope.
“I remain optimistic that things are, at least, getting better,” junior Bobby Castillo said. “Still, one would have to be ignorant to truly believe that LGBTQ individuals are treated as equals – and I think that this glaring lack of social justice and civil rights will one day be looked back on as ridiculous.”
The Argus staff promotes equality for everyone, regardless of their sexual orientation, and we hope to see continuing progress in the direction of equal rights for all.
But we also recognize that everyone is entitled to their opinion and hope that a civil dialogue can open up between both the supporters and non-supporters of gay marriage on Illinois Wesleyan’s campus.