Editorial: Celebrating equality

Bret Belden

By TNH Editorial Staff

By the end of Monday, same-sex couples gained the freedom to enjoy a legal marriage in 30 states. On Monday morning, the U.S. Supreme Court shattered expectations when it declined to hear seven petitions from five states seeking a rejection to the right for same-sex couples to marry. The Supreme Court effectively ruled that it would leave the decision of same-sex marriage up to the state and lower federal court judges.

This is a monumental event in the LGBTQ+ movement, as it seems less and less likely that this progressive course will be reversed in the future.

And the timing couldn’t have been better.

On Saturday, the nation will come together in celebrating the courage and strength of the LGBTQ+ community. A nationally observed holiday, National Coming Out Day commemorates the 1987 national march on Washington for lesbian and gay rights, will be celebrated throughout the week at UNH and we urge all students to participate in at least a couple of the offered programs.

The LGBTQ+ movement the nation has witnessed in the last several years has been nothing short of remarkable. Similar to the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s, this movement has touched every corner of the U.S. and has shifted the general attitude towards accepting people who identify as LGBTQ+.

In the world of politics, only an ill-advised candidate would run on an anti-LGBTQ+ platform these days when it was only a short time ago that “gay rights” was a frequent topic in political debates.

As Hadley Barndollar identified in her story summarizing the week ahead, Michael Sam broke ground in 2014 as the first openly gay football player to be drafted into the NFL. It is no secret the NFL, as well as the general world of mainstream professional sports, has handled the topic of LGBTQ+ athletes in a “don’t ask, don’t tell” manner. Sam’s courage, as well as that of openly gay NBA player Jason Collins, who came out in 2013, broke down the wall of silence. Sam and Collins opened the conversation, bravely asserting to league officials and fans that it was time move out of the 20th century.

Our generation has grown up in a far more accepting world, and it is our responsibility to carry this attitude into the real world after graduation. But we are far from perfect. Still, it is common to hear remarks, offensive slang and malicious comments whispered around campus. We challenge every student to avoid these terms for at least the duration of the week. Perhaps by the end, some won’t feel the need to use them anymore.

We are all excited for the Homecoming festivities this weekend, but let’s not overlook the far more important celebration taking place this the week.​