Peaceful activism can make a big difference
Eric Hydrick / Columnist
With gay marriage becoming more and more of a hot topic in
the United States today and legal efforts from multiple
sources mounting to stop it, the mayor of San Francisco is
taking the same first steps to make major national changes.
He stood up and said "This law sucks, I'm not doing
that." Now homosexuals can come to San Francisco to get
married, despite state laws that say they can't.
It is this kind of acting out that forces sweeping changes
in America. By petitioning for the right to marry,
homosexuals would have to work for multiple lifetimes in
order to see much, if any progress. By ignoring the law and
marrying anyway, they are forcing the states to quit ignoring
gay marriages or trying to dodge the issue. Now they have to
examine it and act based on the results from the marriages
that have been made.
The best part about all of this is that nobody is getting
hurt. There is no physical damage resulting from these
marriages. There is no violence or rioting going on due to
the gay marriages in San Francisco. People are just getting
married despite a law that says that they can’t, just
like some people sat at a counter and asked for food despite
laws saying they couldn’t.
Acting out against laws that are viewed as unjust in such a
way as to not do harm to anyone is the highest form of
expressing oneself. Because, after all, if there is no chance
of causing injury to anyone, is there a point in punishing
people for it? San Francisco’s mayor doesn’t seem
to think so. Martin Luther King Jr. didn’t seem to
think so. Mahatma Ghandi didn’t seem to think so. Henry
David Thoreau didn’t seem to think so.
San Francisco is an example of democracy in action. By
getting married in spite of state laws forbidding it, people
are making it known that they see nothing wrong with gays
getting married. They are also clearly stating an unpopular
opinion on a touchy subject without setting anybody off.
Civil disobedience is one of the best catalysts for change in
a democratic society. Instead of activists trying to convince
the system that there is a need for change, now the system
must determine the best way to continue on in the future.
The homosexual marriages going on in San Francisco are the
people’s way of making their preferences known
peacefully. This is the kind of thing that children are
taught in schools when discussing protests and making changes
in the world. This is the kind of activism that we value in
our society, acting out peacefully. The actions of the mayor
of San Francisco will go down in the history books, not
because of whether he supported gay marriage, but because of
how he acted on the issue. This is what is truly important in
San Francisco, and what we should all take away from it.