You’re in a changing room with your best man, ready to walk down the aisle. You and your girlfriend have been dating for three years now, engaged for five months— it’s finally time to become husband and wife! You’ve got the suit, she’s got the dress and her ring and bridesmaid— and today’s the day.
A knock comes at the door, though, just as you’re rolling up your cuff sleeves.
“I’m sorry, sir,” the preacher says. “A vote has just been called for; it should only take a few minutes.”
“Yes, sir,” the preacher says. “The whole town has to vote on your marriage.”
You look to your best friend, who just shrugs his shoulders. You walk into the church proper and you see hundreds of people lined up to cast a ballot. There’s your mother and your father and her mother and father. There’s the woman who taught you in third grade. There’s the grocery store owner who always thought you were looking for trouble, and that guy who you accidentally got in trouble once for having a fake ID, and the religious old lady who thinks you shouldn’t kiss before you got married.
There’s the crazy ex-girlfriend of yours that thinks that you’re meant to be, your grandparents, all of those who approve and disapprove of you— and then there’s complete strangers.
Someone turns on a TV screen shoved in the corner of the room, and the news comes on. People are lining up all over to cast their ballot. And the preacher wasn’t exaggerating— in fact, he understated it. It’s not just the town— it’s the state. No, wait. It’s the entire country? Voting on your marriage?
Your girlfriend is crying in the corner, her white wedding dress slumping pathetically against the floor. You don’t know what to say. You just wanted to walk down the aisle. On the news, there’s a talk radio host talking about how ‘young men and women should wait until they’re at least 30 until getting married’ and how your marriage will taint the institution of marriage all together.
After a long, long wait, you hear the results. “I’m sorry,” the preacher says, “but you just can’t get married. The country has spoken. I’m going to have to ask you to leave.”
You hang your suit back up and kick off your shoes. She takes off her wedding dress and curls the tulle and organza in her hands. You exit the church with a large boulder of shame sitting in-between your two shoulder blades.
Where had you gone wrong? What right did those strangers have to say who you should marry? You love this girl with your whole heart, and it was supposed to be the best day of your life. And now it’s gone.
Sounds outrageous, right?
This is what happens when you vote on marriage. This is what happens when you vote down the possibility of gay marriage.
But this isolated incident won’t happen! You’re exaggerating!
Too late. It already has.
You don’t have the right to say that any two people can or cannot be married, no matter what the circumstance is. It’s that fucking simple.