U.S. District Judge, Michael McShane, has struck down the American state of Oregon’s ban on same-sex marriage, much to the celebration of thousands of LGBT Oregonians and their supporters.
Judge McShane gave a compassionate speech in his ruling yesterday, noting that while a ‘large number’ of Oregonians may be against the idea of extending marriage rights to same-sex couples, the social acceptance of homophobia has led to “an environment of cruelty, violence, and self-loathing”.
“Generations of Americans, my own included,” explained McShane, “were raised in a world in which homosexuality was believed to be a moral perversion, a mental disorder, or a mortal sin.”
“I remember that one of the more popular playground games of my childhood was called “smear the queer” and it was played with great zeal and without a moment’s thought to today’ s political correctness. On a darker level, that same worldview led to an environment of cruelty, violence, and self-loathing. […] Even today I am reminded of the legacy that we have bequeathed today’ s generation when my son looks dismissively at the sweater I bought him for Christmas and, with a roll of his eyes, says ‘dad … that is so gay.'”
In supporting the four gay couples, whose case against the State of Oregon led them to McShane, the District Judge made the announcement that he was “struck more by our similarities than our differences”.
“I believe that if we can look for a moment past gender and sexuality, we can see in these plaintiffs nothing more or less than our own families. Families who we would expect our Constitution to protect, if not exalt, in equal measure. With discernment we see not shadows lurking in closets or the stereotypes of what was once believed; rather, we see families committed to the common purpose of love, devotion, and service to the greater community.”
Judge McShane also referred to those who are currently against the notion of extending marriage rights to gay and lesbian couples, and those who “…suggest we are going down a slippery slope that will have no moral boundaries.”
“To those who truly harbor such fears,” McShane concluded, “I can only say this: Let us look less to the sky to see what might fall; rather, let us look to each other … and rise”.