February 20, 2011 in Featured
Rhode Island is on the verge of something big, something that, years from now, children will be sitting in their history classes and learning about. We are so close to achieving marriage equality for the thousands of families, individuals and children that inhabit our tiny state, guaranteeing them the same legal protection and rights that many of our heterosexual friends and families already have.
As a life-long resident of Little Rhody and a college student, I wondered, “What can I do to help with achieving Marriage Equality? I’m only a student; would my voice even be heard, considered, or just ignored?” In years past, I had gladly gone to rallies, held up signs and bit my tongue to stop myself from sneering at the opposing side. But it didn’t feel like enough. I wanted to get my hands dirty in the fight for equality. Again, it brought me back to the question of what I could do as a student.
At the beginning of February, just before the State House rally, a meeting was called for students across Rhode Island to discuss ways we could get involved. This was perfect! As students, we tend to forget how potent and loud our voices can be. Simply by spreading the information about marriage equality across our college and university campuses, we could help bring awareness of this issue facing many of our residents and students. I had the opportunity to talk with a few other students and friends about their thoughts on the fight for equality. They were amazed at how many people were involved on different levels and how much more work it took on a grassroots level. They were even more surprised at how, as students, we could still make a huge difference.
One student commented on how same-sex couples, just like opposite-sex couples, want the American dream: marriage, kids and a home they could call their own. Another student said, “I believe that everyone is entitled to make their own happiness in life.” It’s aggravating to think that our state leaders, who are supposed to be so much more knowledgeable and experienced than students, could lack the common sense to know what is right and what is wrong. Some allow their own personal religious views and the religious views of others to dictate how they stand on the topic of marriage equality. Whether politician or not, we all know that the United States guarantees us freedom — freedom to live life to the fullest. As a student, as a friend, as an activist and as a human being, I’m calling out to all students of all ages to stand up and fight for what is right. Marriage Equality doesn’t just affect older members of our community, it affects us also. To paraphrase Thomas Jefferson in the Declaration of Independence: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all people are created equal.”