Same-sex marriage is a polarising topic. In the United States alone, the issue has created a sharp divide in the American social and political landscapes. Elsewhere, opponents would often cite religious and moral reasons to justify their condescension. While there are sound social and moral reasons for same-sex marriage, for members of the LGBT community, support from famous and influential people creates a sense of empowerment and hope.
Here are some quotes from famous and influential people who support same-sex marriage:
1. Through sheer political will and commitment, United States President Barack Obama has been instrumental in legalising same-sex marriage across United States. However, before his public declaration of support in 2012, he was totally against the idea, often citing tradition and religion as reasons. But years in politics had shifted his perspective. In his 2012 interview with Robin Roberts of Good Morning America, he said:
“But I have to tell you that over the course of several years, as I talk to friends, family, and neighbours. When I think about members of my own staff who are incredibly committed, in monogamous relationships, same-sex relationships, who are raising kids together. When I think about those soldiers or airmen or marines or sailors who are out there fighting on my behalf and yet, feel constrained, even now that Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell is gone, because they’re not able to commit themselves in a marriage.
At a certain point, I’ve just concluded that for me personally, it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same-sex couples should be able to get married.”
2. After the United States Supreme Court made a historic decision on 26 June 2015 that barred states from denying same-sex marriage and affirmed the constitutionality of such, the LGBT community has found an unlikely supporter from Jesuit priest Fr. James J. Martin. On his verified Facebook account, although he did not voice out full endorsement, his words were encouraging. He said:
“No issue brings out so much hatred from so many Catholics as homosexuality. Even after over 25 years as a Jesuit, the level of hatred around homosexuality is nearly unbelievable to me, especially when I think of all of the wonderful LGBT friends I have.
The Catholic Church must do a much better job of teaching what the Catechism says: that we should treat our LGBT brothers and sisters with ‘respect, sensitivity and compassion.’
But God wants more. God wants us to love. And not a twisted, crabbed, narrow tolerance, which often comes in the guise of condemnations, instructions and admonitions that try to masquerade as love, but actual love.
Love means: getting to know LGBT men and women, spending time with them, listening to them, being challenged by them, hoping the best for them, and wanting them to be a part of your lives, every bit as much as straight friends are part of your lives. Love first. Everything else later. In fact, everything else is meaningless without love.”
3. The ruling of SCOTUS that upholds the constitutionality of same-sex marriage was historic for several reasons—first, because it delivered heartfelt and logical message for supporting the plight of LGBT. Through the lengthy decision and majority opinion, Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote one of the most beautiful truths about same-sex marriage:
“No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family. In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were. As some of the petitioners in these cases demonstrate, marriage embodies a love that may endure even past death. It would misunderstand these men and women to say they disrespect the idea of marriage. Their plea is that they do respect it, respect it so deeply that they seek to find its fulfilment for themselves. Their hope is not to be condemned to live in loneliness, excluded from one of civilisation’s oldest institutions. They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right.”
4. Devout Catholic and former Ireland President Mary McAleese appeared in front of an LGBT audience to voice out her support for same-sex marriage, particularly to call for a YES vote in the same-sex marriage referendum. While reflecting on the experience of her gay son, she said:
“We who are parents, brothers and sisters, colleagues and friends of Ireland’s gay citizens know how they have suffered because of second-class citizenship. This referendum is about them and them alone.
The only children affected by this referendum will be Ireland’s gay children. It is their future which is at stake. It is in our hands. They are too few in number to win this referendum on their own. We, the majority, have to make it happen for them and for all the unborn gay children who are relying on us to end the branding, end the isolation, end the inequality, literally once and for all. A yes vote costs the rest of us nothing. A no vote costs our gay children everything.
Will a yes vote affect my heterosexual marriage or any heterosexual marriage? Not in the least. But it will greatly affect my life and the lives of all parents of gay children. It will give us peace of mind about our children’s future and pride in our country’s commitment to true equality. It will right a glaring wrong.”
5. Facebook has been an influential medium in this age of social networking. Thus, when founder and chief executive Mark Zuckerberg rolls out a message in support of the June 2015 LGBT Pride celebration, he also expressed his delight from the landmark SCOTUS ruling:
“Our country was founded on the promise that all people are created equal, and today we took another step towards achieving that promise.
“I’m so happy for all of my friends and everyone in our community who can finally celebrate their love and be recognised as equal couples under the law.
“We still have much more to do to achieve full equality for everyone in our community, but we are moving in the right direction.”
6. United Kingdom Prime Minister David Cameron said that the introduction of same-sex marriage is one his proudest achievements in 2014. Although he “treasures” the moment his country became one of the fastest growing economies in Europe, same-sex marriage had personal impact. In his article for LGBT media website PinkNews.co.uk, he wrote the following:
“Of course any marriage takes work, requires patience and understanding, give and take—but what it gives back in terms of love, support, stability and happiness is immeasurable. That is not something that the State should ever deny someone on the basis of their sexuality.
“When people’s love is divided by law, it is the law that needs to change.
“The introduction of same-sex civil marriage says something about the sort of country we are. It says we are a country that will continue to honour its proud traditions of respect, tolerance and equal worth.”
7. Bestseller novelist and popular culture icon J.K. Rowling who authored Harry Potter has always leaned toward progressive ideologies. In slamming Westboro Baptist Church for criticising her against her stance regarding the Irish same-sex referendum, Rowling replied via Twitter:
“Alas, the sheer awesomeness of such a union in such a place would blow your tiny bigoted minds out of your thick sloping skulls.”
8. Of course, in any lists of influential people, celebrities are never singled out because of their reach and stature. From movie and television actors, to pop superstars, a lot of them have been rallying behind the LGBT community.
Pop superstar Lady Gaga has been the most influential gay icon and LGBT advocate of the contemporary time. With legions of fan, she commandeers an advocacy centred on acceptance and equality. One of her quotes about same-sex marriage reads, “Gay marriage is going to happen. What the Pope thinks of being gay does not matter to the world.”
Another LGBT icon, comedian and host Ellen DeGeneres slammed Sarah Palin for favouring the federal ban on gay marriage. She said, “I don’t know what people are scared of. Maybe they think that their children will be influenced. And I gotta say I was raised by two heterosexuals. I was surrounded by heterosexual, just everywhere I looked — heterosexuals. And they did not influence…. I mean I dabbled in high school, who didn’t? Everyone dabbled, ya know?”
Hollywood hunk and heartthrob Zac Efron is a favourite in the LGBT community. Apart from his demigod looks, he is a vocal supporter of LGBT rights, including same-sex marriage. He said, “It’s an issue that affects so many people in my life — a lot of my close friends and some of the most influential people around me. I just want them all to be happy. It would make me so happy to see them able to live their lives and do what they want to do.”
Then there is Harry Styles of One Direction. A vocal supporter of LGBT community despite persistent rumours about his sexuality, took on to Twitter and posted this messgae before his millios of followers, “Huge day for America.. Happy to see the news. All the love.”