Why same-sex marriage does matter

Ten years ago, Spain became a pioneer in human rights and broke with many former types of being a conservative and closed minded country. Ten years ago, the Spanish government approved same-sex marriage and adoption. And, everything changed… for a better society.

Many arguments and positions were raised during the campaign for the approval of same-sex marriage for many months. Arguments used went from one extreme such as “the Spanish society will collapse and families will disappear”, passing through “it is fair, it is equality” to “we don’t need same-sex marriage because marriage is an old contract of society”. The approval rates of same-sex marriage in Spain were slightly over 50%. Ten years later, they are over 90%. Spain did not break, it got stronger.

I could continue talking about different positions, arguments and facts, but I just want to share why for me marriage, and same-sex marriage does matter.

First, because, it is a matter of equality. The European Union and, the majority of their members states, consider themselves a stronghold of human rights. However, it still a shame that the European Union has not created a common directive imposing, yes, imposing same-sex marriage to its members.

Second because we are talking about love. Love can be expressed in many ways, but after all, it is one of the pure and more positive feelings of mankind. Banning people for making their love official should be a crime and something we fight against. We have other and bigger problems in society to tackle than to say no to love. Yes, it may seem different if you have never seen it or you have been raised being told that it is not correct, but I consider ourselves clever enough to acknowledge a new type of love that can enrich our society.

Third, it is a matter of law. Some countries have some same-sex couple recognition and protection, but this is not enough for many law related topics. Without an official equiparation as marriage, in many states, being just a registered couple gives you a “second class citizen status” towards many legal side effects (inheritances, children, health care, etc.).

And, last but not least, because, maybe you are just a teenager without any gay references around you, and you think you live in a society you don’t belong to, feeling an outsider and feeling guilty or different for realizing you may have other type of preferences. This is just an example of why same-sex marriage (among other laws) could be important for giving support to people with these feelings.

Ten years ago, I was having this feelings. Ten years ago, I was 14-15 years old, and, as the majority of teenagers, I started to realize many things in my life: what I liked, what I didn’t like and what my preferences were. One of those was who I love. Even though I was lucky enough to have a tolerant education and family, I was feeling lonely for many years. I was feeling lonely because I felt my society didn’t accept or acknowledge me, and therefore, my family and my friends could refuse me for being different.

My story was not that bad. It could have been much worse, but it could have been much better too. If same-sex marriage would have been accepted already in Spain back then when I was feeling like that, probably, it would have changed my reality (and the reality of a lot of people), and that is also why same-sex marriage does matter.

However, this is a battle that is fought step by step, barrier after barrier everyday by, luckily, more and more people that have accepted and embrace all type of love.

Ten years later, today I feel quite proud to be Spanish and of the fact that many people, when I was feeling alone, fought for all of us (gay, lesbian or whoever). I feel proud that Spain made that step and we are a quite open and tolerant society. True, way more things are needed to be done still, but we are on the way. As I said, step by step and everyday, we are more and more people fighting for the cause, and these words are my small contribution to the ongoing fight.

Now, it is time for Slovenia to make this step. In ten years, I want to see  that these words are not needed anymore and my Slovenians friends will feel proud to be the first Slavic and Central European country to approve same-sex marriage directly, embracing all types of love. I really hope so. I could not expect less from such a hospitable and beautiful country that, after all, contains the word love in their name. So, please, sLOVEnians, vote ZA! the next 20th of December!

Written by Ander Guerrero Ruíz, AEGEE-Zaragoza and Financial Director of AEGEE-Europe