Conservatives Should "Tolerate" Marriage Equality, But Not Support It?


In an attempt to rally the GOP’s livelihood, op-ed writer Ayobami Olugbemiga called for the same conservative action which has made the GOP increasingly untrustworthy to millennial voters in the past.

“Flip-flopping,” switching from defense of one argument to the other, or the art of using political ploys for personal gain, seems to have been running rampant in the past weeks in light of the equality debate. However, in his op-ed, Olugbemiga made it painstakingly clear that the GOP uses key societal issues as pawns in their run for political power.

Olugbemiga’s op-ed had an underlying premise to the GOP: do not waver from your conservative beliefs in an attempt to gain more liberal voters, as you will lose those who have always been loyally conservative. And on this concept, I can agree with him. However, the premise was unfounded in that it failed to acknowledge that society, and therefore political parties, evolve. The needs of the people change. Therefore, the government must address those needs on their basis as a liberty in which this country was founded.

In what was entitled a “Memo to the GOP,” it appears that Olugbemiga forgot to realize that such a memo can be seen by everyone. Perhaps he should have bit his tongue, when stating that conservative politicians are using support for gay marriage to “win over young people.” Alleging that politicians are simply endorsing the marriage equality issue due to its “popularity” is inherently in flux with the argument that the underlying disputes are ones of clear human rights and a quality of life.

Instead of defending the fact that “perhaps” marriage equality is an essential human right, Olugbemiga demands that the political party seek to become more “tolerant” of marriage equality, but withhold the need to endorse it. Throwing out the complete notion that some of these representatives may now truly believe the underlying philosophy of equality, Olugbemiga furthers the erroneous stigma that gays are not entitled to marriage and the civil liberties that come along with same.

For example, Olugbemiga writes: “It is no longer fashionable these days to suggest that marriage should be between a man and a woman. Opponents of gay marriage are now seen as bigots, or backward-thinking Jesus freaks. Bill O’Reilly calls them Bible-thumpers.” Continuing, Olugbemiga states that there are ways to dispel such a “negative image” without the need to endorse gay marriage.

In such a blatantly distasteful way, Olugbemiga confirms what my worry was all along: that people do not clearly understand the true right to liberty and life that comes along with the necessity for marriage equality. To dispel such a “negative image”, one must understand what that “negative image” is. Proponents of marriage equality are not out pushing for an agenda with no true backing; these advocates have a deep fundamental principal which is the threshold of their ability to live their life freely. Marriage equality is not simply an attempt to overthrow any given person’s religion or belief, but it is to separate one’s beliefs from the ability to dictate another’s life.