Constitution Day: Perfect time for a debate

by Simpsonian Staff

Our View

We’re familiar with Labor Day, Memorial Day and President’s Day, but Constitution Day? What’s the significance of September 17? Exactly 222 years ago today, the Constitution of the United States was signed.

Today every educational institution which receives federal funding is required to hold an educational program pertaining to the United States Constitution. There’s little doubt that the men who wrote the Constitution were great debaters of their time.

What better way to commemorate that significant event than with a debate about one of the most controversial issues facing Iowans and all Americans today?

Everyone remembers that day in April. The day the Iowa Supreme Court legalized gay marriage. Thousands of people were absolutely thrilled. Others were outraged.

For some the subject died down over the summer. But for others, the fight for equal rights for gay men and women remains a hard-fought battle for recognition and acceptance.

To deny same-sex couples the right to marry and receive the same benefits as those in “traditional’ marriages is to deny a part of the population their basic rights as Americans. Some say that gay marriage erodes the true meaning of the word, that two men or two women can’t possibly love each other the way a man and a woman can. But what happened to those famous words from our nation’s founding document?

“…All men are created equal…” and that each and every one of us has the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Who are we to say who can or cannot love and be happy? Why should someone be denied those basic rights simply because they are attracted to someone of the same sex?

It was a pretty significant move for the state to allow same-sex marriage – Iowa was the first non-coastal state to do so. And historically we haven’t had a reputation for being the most open-minded and accepting people. That’s an image we can finally start to work past.

Of course, not everyone agrees with the idea of gay marriage, and the Constitution Day debate is a great example of one forum where those who disagree are able discuss their differences in a civilized fashion. In a country where more and more people are turning to screaming matches and irrational, unfounded arguments, it’s nice to have a reminder.