There's a lot of holidays in the world that I don't understand.
I don't know why there needs to be a Towel Day, and I don't see the point of Pi Day or Talk Like a Pirate Day.
While I may not value these holidays, their existence isn't something that affects my daily life, with the exception of the one day a year the drive-thru guy at Wendy's asked me "arrrr you sure you don't want to laaaaaaarge size your combo?" Luckily for me, Tennessee's state Senate, through Senate Joint Resolution 134, has added another holiday to the calendar year, "ido4life Traditional Marriage Day."
I know what many of you are thinking, what kind of gall has possessed the Senate to make them dare schedule a holiday on the same day as National Trail Mix Day? Hippies and former Occupy Wall Streeters from Portland to Vermont will be out in full force with devil sticks, hacky sacks and kokopelli tattoos on their ankles demanding their right to bask in the glow of their organic Chex Mix.
But, in all honesty, this new resolution is another step in our state's continued climb through ignorance to prejudicial views and ultimately to outward discrimination against same-sex couples residing within Tennessee's borders.
Starting in 2006, our state started its crusade against marriage equality by passing, with 81 percent of the voting population, Amendment 1 to the state constitution, legally defining the recognition of marriage in Tennessee as being only between a man and a woman. And since that day, it seems as if there's a new bill every year that looks to curb the rights of homosexuals in this state (the anti-handholding bill and our boy Stacey Campfield's "Don't Say Gay" attempts come to mind), with this new resolution standing as the cherry on top.
Now in this state, not only do we outwardly express prejudicial views and discriminatory policies against a section of our population, we literally celebrate it with a holiday.
The main voice for the holiday, Pastor Lyndon Allen, cites not only Genesis 2:24 as a defense for his want to celebrate "traditional families" (I guess separation of church and state is no longer applicable in Tennessee), but also statistics that highlight the economic, physical and psychological benefits of a married couple. As Allen told a Nashville TV station, "Without marriage, the place just falls apart ... We need to get married."
I don't have enough space to fully express my disagreement with this statement. For starters, what is "traditional marriage"? Who has the right to define what is marriage?
As a history lesson, state regulated marriage, which Allen is promulgating as the cure-all to society's ills, only came around in the colonial era. Its roots were as a way of economic controls by simplifying and regulating the lines of inheritance, therefore protecting the passing of family wealth from baseborn children. It had nothing to do with love, nurturing children or even God's command; it was all about financial considerations.
And second, hasn't marriage been tainted and dragged through the mud enough by heterosexuals couples who rush into the commitment marriage entails without even thinking about the repercussions of their decisions? TV shows make marriage seem like a glitzy game where we "Say Yes to the Dress," and yet one in two marriages end in divorce. I think that half of our population is fine living outside of Allen's "traditional marriage" model, and our world still functions.
I try not to get too riled up by things like this, but it gets depressing to constantly be surrounded by the negativity and prejudice that gets spouted out by some people in our state.
I believe in marriage equality. I believe that any consenting adult, man or woman, should be able to enter into a marriage and be just as miserable or just as happy as any other heterosexual couple.
I don't know what my future holds for me, but I do know that on Aug. 31, 2013, I won't be celebrating "ido4life Traditional Marriage Day," but that might just be because I'm too burned out from "Race Your Mouse Day" on the 28th.
— Preston Peeden is a senior in history. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.