Students’ Stance on Gay Rights

Words often associated with marriage include love, commitment and support. Are these ideas alone enough to guarantee the sanction of marriage? For many Americans the answer is no.

Gay rights have become very controversial in this year’s election. Like the presidential candidates, Bloomsburg students are on all sides of the spectrum for this controversy, especially same-sex marriage.

“For me I’m against it,” said senior communications major and Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corporation, AFROTC, member Joe Sanfilippo. “I was brought up in a very religious family and still hold those religious truths.”

President Barrack Obama has recently put his Christian views aside saying he is for same-sex marriage, and he repealed the DADT. Mitt Romney said same-sex marriage should be unconstitutional and those who are openly gay should not be able to serve in the military.

Private First Class, PFC, Zachary Zedalis agrees with President Obama’s decision to put his views aside and advocate same-sex marriage.

“I believe whatever makes you happy that’s what you should do whether it is marrying the same sex or not,” he said. “I am a religious person and I’ve realized that God wants you to be happy, if that is marriage to the same sex so be it.”

Although Zedalis and Sanfilippo differ on the stance of same-sex marriage, both military personnel accept the repeal of the DADT policy. It doesn’t impair a solider to do their job Zedalis said. Sanfilippo said, in a war zone soldiers do not care about sexual preference they care about integrity. However, both soldiers say gay rights is not important when deciding which candidate would make a better president.

According to a study done by PalmCenter.org, a year after the repeal of the DADT policy, there was no negative impact found with the readiness, cohesion, recruitment and retention, or morale of troops. Also no negative impact was found with assaults and harassment by troops.

Freshman transfer, Briana Crays, supports Obama and his stance on same-sex marriages, although she does not vote.

“I’m not going to be voting; I normally don’t vote, but if I were it would be for Obama because I want to be able to marry who I please.”

A Poll conducted by ABC News found that 53% of Americans support the legalization of gay marriage, a 17 % increase from 2006. A Gallup poll conducted in 2010 showed that 67% of the United States supported the repeal of the DADT policy.

The younger generation has become more accepting of same-sex marriage.  The ABC News poll also showed 69% of adults, under the age of 30, support gay marriage.

Sanfilippo considers mass media and deviant behavior to be the cause for the younger generation’s acceptance of same-sex marriage.

“Us as a whole, our generation likes to be deviant and do what is opposite of the norm,” said Sanfilippo. “Since we have the social media aspect of it now when one person starts something and can send it all over the world people can agree or disagree with it, which makes communication easier.”

Crays feels more comfortable being gay on campus after joining the ‘Gay Straight Alliance’ because it is somewhere she can be herself.

She said that students on campus are more accepting than others but overall it’s about a 50/50 split. Before joining GSA, Crays did not know anyone on campus who was openly gay.

Gay rights still have a way to go before they are fully accepted in society. Some students say education is key.

“People that are more educated or have been around it, and experienced it, they are more accepting and understanding,” said PFC Zedalis.

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