Nearsighted Nebraska

Nebraska same sex marriage couples still have a while to wait to say “I do”

Naomi Prasad

In 2003, a video called “Kids React to Gay Marriage” was uploaded to YouTube. Kids from 5 to 13 were shown two proposal videos, one portraying a lady proposing to another lady and the other, a man proposing to another man. After watching, the kids were asked a series of questions, including “What do you think of gay marriage?”

“I don’t care,” Lucas, shrugging his shoulders, plainly put it.

“I’m just new to the concept,” seven-year-old Samira replied.

“If one person should be able to do it then another person should be able to do it,” Derek stated.

Another fact was presented to them: “In only 14 U.S. states are you allowed to get married if you’re gay.”

“That is just insane!” the astonished Dash responded, an incredulous look on his face.

“I need to talk to Mr. President,” Jayka said, raising her fist in the air.

“Some people want to live in one state and get married, but they have to move to another state, but I’m afraid there will be tornados. I don’t want to go there, but I have to because I want to marry someone I like, and that’s not right,” seven-year-old Maxim explained.

In the year since this video came out, a total of 35 states, including four states bordering Nebraska, have approved same-sex marriage laws. Nebraska is not one of them.

The Williams Institute's analysis of the 2010 U.S. Census recorded that  2,356 same-sex couples are living in Nebraska, representing 3.3 same-sex couples per 1,000 households.

Nebraska’s governor Dave Heineman stands his ground, stating, “The people in Nebraska in 2000, voted overwhelmingly that marriage is between a man and a woman. That’s what Nebraska has believed.” Future governor Pete Ricketts also agrees with Heineman and declares he will defend what Nebraska put in the constitution a decade ago. But nearly a decade and half has passed since Nebraska last spoke. But how does Nebraska feel right now, nearly 15 years later?

The Omaha Herald Poll stated in October 2012 that 54% of Nebraskans support some form of legal recognition for same-sex couples, 32% that support gay marriage laws and an additional 22% saying they support civil union.

Jenni Glomb and her wife Mandi grew up in Nebraska. Their family and friends live in Nebraska. Yet the couple decided to move to Iowa because they saw that their home state was not budging to change the law, and they wanted their son to share their last name.

Brandi Jeffery, a Husker on the women’s basketball team, has openly been a bisexual. She and her girlfriend Raven have enjoyed a great relationship for a year and a half. When asked if Raven sees herself marrying Brandi, she raved, “She has changed me for the better and I truly love her. It’s the type of love that I’ve never had before in a relationship and it’s amazing! I’m getting butterflies in my tummy just talking about it. All her teammates and coaches know about us and they are respectful about it,” Raven said.

So why does this matter to us? Yes, most students at Union College are from other states that may or may not have passed laws on same-sex marriage. But as of now we live in a state where people are discriminated based upon who they show their love to. Same-sex marriage isn’t a topic that you can just brush off and push into the future. It is happening now. Educate yourself and do not be lukewarm about this situation. Don’t support gay marriage just because you want to be a part of the movement but you don’t know what the movement is about. If you are against it, stand next to your decision and be able to stand your ground.

For many of us, religion is a big part of our social views. We have been told that homosexuality is wrong and an abomination. The great part about being in college is that you get to study and ask questions about things yourself. It’s foolish just to adopt a stance on something because of what the majority is saying.

If more people speak up about same-sex marriage, our governors and senators will have no choice but to address the issue. Many people aren’t challenged by same-sex marriage until one of their family members or a friend comes out. “Change will not come if we wait for some other person, or if we wait for some other time,” Barack Obama stated in a 2008 speech in Chicago. “We are the ones we've been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.”

Naomi is a sophomore studying chemistry and pre-med.