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Showing Mercy - An important milestone

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By Mercy Lopez

There has been so much debate over gay marriage,  with many bringing up the Bible and other religious beliefs against it. For the record, I am a Christian, and I am in support of same-sex marriage.

It is simple: Our country was built on the foundation of freedom. Brave men and women have fought and died to preserve our right to freedom, and many of them were gays and lesbians.

We have a right to speak our minds, a right to bear arms, but more importantly we have the right of freedom. With this freedom, we are free to love whomever we want. I don’t go around dictating to my fellow humans whom they can choose to marry, so why should anyone be able to dictate whom I can love and eventually marry?

A legal marriage is a civil contract between two people. If a couple chooses to make religion part of their ceremony, and the religion is OK with it, that is their own personal choice. But to deny a person the right to enter into a civil contract is discrimination.

I did not wake up one morning and decide I was going to be a lesbian. Being gay, bi-, lesbian or trans-gender is as much a part of who they are as is their height and race. In simple terms, I was born a lesbian and I will take my last breath as a lesbian.

I am also a Christian. As a Christian, I accept people as they are and not for whom they choose to love. I am a strong believer in the principle of live and let live. We are all the same and should all be equal. Love really is about equal opportunity. Love does not discriminate on the basis of gender, ethnicity, age or disability.

The most fundamental basis of all religions is love. Christianity teaches us to love thy neighbor; John 3:16 states, “For God so loved the world, that He gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

My life would be so much easier if I were straight. I wouldn’t be judged on a regular basis. I could walk into a county clerk’s office and get approved for a marriage license without any fuss. Sadly, the majority of people who judge me call themselves Christians.

One such Christian once told me I was going to hell. My response was, “If I am going to hell after I die, well, the world we live in has completely prepared me for it, as being a lesbian on earth has been true hell.”

A good Christian does not go around judging others.

I know the hardships that are associated with being lesbian. I’ve been around people who were unable to make a medical decision for their partner. I know how it is to feel so helpless because someone is prevented from being with his or her partner during a time of need.

Married couples are allowed to make end-of-life decisions for one another, and they enjoy breaks on inheritance and gift taxes. Without same-sex marriages, those rights are limited to heterosexual couples.

With the action of our very own county clerk, Melanie Y. Rivera, many of my hardships will be reduced. When Rivera announced she would begin issuing same-sex marriage licenses, I had tons of emotions run through me, but mostly I was in shock.

Never in my life did I think it would happen in the county that I call home. San Miguel is a very Hispanic Catholic county.

Now, I am proud to call San Miguel County my home. Rivera said it was simply the right thing to do. I cannot agree with her more.

Many do not understand what it is like to be gay or lesbian. It isn’t easy.

I, myself, have even questioned God on why I was born this way, but as a Christian who believes in the Bible, Proverbs 3:5 says it all:  “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.”

I am extremely grateful Rivera started issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples without having been forced to do so by a court order. Rivera is a true pioneer.

The state Supreme Court will soon take up this issue. Let’s hope they uphold same-sex marriages so that we can all be equal

Mercy López is the Optic’s features editor. She may be reached at mlopez@lasvegasoptic.com