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Saturday, June 10, 2006


delawareonline ¦ The News Journal ¦ Our Readers' Views
Yesterday in the News-Journal there were three letters to the editor dealing with "same-sex marriage." (There were two more today, but they're largely the same content wise as yesterday's. I started this yesterday but wasn't able to finish it.) The first one argued the the proposed amendment to the Constitution (defeated the other day) "defines marriage in a narrow-minded and un-American manner."

There's an old saying: "Don't be so open-minded your brains fall out." The first recourse of liberals is to declare conservatives narrow-minded, bigoted, racists, etc. It's cliched, offensive, puerile and wrong. Not worth dealing with. Also note that the writer declares all of American history to be "un-American" since this new notion of marriage between members of the same sex is brand-new compared to the span of our national history.

The writer goes on to say: "The institution of marriage is neither created by nor restricted to fundamentalist Christian churches, and marriage's definition should not be a slave to such churches." This may surprise some of you, but I actually agree with this to a point. Marriage was "neither created by nor restricted to fundamentalist Christian churches," that's certainly true. The institution of marriage predates history. For as long as we have records, marriage has been Between a man and a woman. (Many cultures have had polygomous periods, but even there they were male-female relationships.) So, rather than "fundamentalist Christian churches" seeking to impose their will, isn't really the other way around? Who's proposing the change? Who's thoughtlessly ignoring millenia of practice and tradition? (By the way, it's not just Christians, ask Muslims or practicint Jews what they think of "same-sex marriage." Heck, ask any non-Western society from any point in the world's history.) Marriage predates any of our cultures, churches, etc. It's not ours to change.

The next letter begins "I cannot fathom why people are violently opposed to letting two people in love commit their lives to one another. I understand that people interpret verses in the Bible as admonitions against homosexuality, but there are plenty of other verses that seem to be conveniently ignored, such as what foods to eat." This is one of my pet peeves: people who attempt this argument are merely showing their ignorance of the Bible while thinking they've made a brilliant point. (Read Acts Chapter 11 to see when dietary prohibitions were removed from Christians.)

The next paragraph states: "But more important, I recall verses where Jesus says the greatest commandment is to love God, and to love your neighbor as yourself." And part of loving our neighbor is correcting them when they are sinning or doing something unhealthy. As even the letter writer notes, the Bible does condemn homosexual relations (unequivocally, I might add). Loving someone does not mean letting them do whatever they want; does a parent let their child eat only ice cream for dinner every night? No, that would be a bad parent. They make sure their children eat properly so they can grow strong and healthy. So it is with spiritual and moral life.

"One reader says, "We are fighting to preserve our sacred and traditional view of marriage from those who would besmirch and trivialize it." If this is true, then why not petition against casino wedding chapels, where people marry on a whim only to divorce when the euphoria wears off?" Because this is where the battle line is. A similar question would be "Why didn't the Allies invade Berlin in 1942?" Because the battle line was in Africa. Plus, would anyone ever say, This guy's bleeding from an open wound. let's break his leg and weaken him further since he's already hurt." That's what this argument is saying: "Marriage is already hurting, why not hurt it some more?"

"Marriage is supposed to be the union of two people who love each other and want to commit their lives to one another. Two people of the same sex are just as capable of that." Marriage is supposed to be an environment for raising children. And, in large part, that's what this argument is about: who will raise our children? Putting aside religious arguments for now, shouldn't evolution dictate that the best environment for children to grow up in is with a male-female couple as parents? After all, for millenia, they've been growing up in such an environment? Wouldn't natural selection favor those who can best adapt to such an environment? Wouldn't those children alive now be "expecting" such an environment? Wouldn't that implicitly declare any other environment sub-optimal and or even harmful? You wouldn't transplant a polar bear to a tropical island, unless you work for the Hanso Foundation.

"This country is full of immorality, but it has nothing to do with homosexuality, and everything to do with the vehemence with which people hate one another." There's plenty of immorality; that's certainly true. And I'll be the first to admit I'm part of it. The homosexual orientation is not wrong in and of itself; it's how a person acts on it that can be wrong. As stated above, correcting someone's improper actions is a sign of love; hatred would be letting them continue down a harmful path.

The final letter reads:
My partner and I have been together for 30 years in a committed gay relationship. All of our friends have been in relationships of at least 15 years; our closest friends have been together for 32 years. I question the rationale that says gay people are promiscuous, sexual addicts who hop from one bed to the next and are a threat to the sanctity of marriage.

From what I've seen, much of the bed hopping has been by married legislators, preachers and 50 percent of married couples who divorce. I've seen a couple whose marriage lasted 55 hours. I've seen a legislator who blamed his affair on a youthful indiscretion at age 43. I've seen preachers get on television, sobbing for forgiveness, only to get caught again. How about the 25-year-old married school teacher in Florida who had an affair with a 14-year-old student and was given probation. How about the other infamous teacher who had her affair with her 13-year-old student, ended up leaving her family and is now married to him?

How is it that gay couples who want to legalize their relationships are denied that right, yet heterosexual couples are allowed drive-through window weddings. If anyone is destroying marriage and the family, it certainly isn't the gay population because in most instances we are not entitled to marriage or a family.
And my big brother can beat up your little sister. This letter writer is guilty of comparing the best homosexual relationships with the worst heterosexual relationships. I'm not aware of anyone holding up Britney Spears' first marriage as a good thing. (Or her second one, for that matter.) The rest of his argument was dealt with above.

The following points should be cleared up:
1) It's argued that homosexual relationships aren't being given proper recognition by government for purposes of hospital visitation, for example. This can be resolved through means short of redefining marriage. And the proposed Amendment would have allowed for states to do so. All the Amendment really did was seek to prevent a same-sex relationship from being called a marriage. All the other legal benefits (inheritance, survivor's rights, visitation, etc.) could conceivably have been undertaken through other laws, but not through the judicial system. Note the actual text of the amendment; these benefits could still be granted, but there would no legal requirement to do so. This would allow for a public discussion and debate about this and a concensus built, rather than an imposition by a few people wearing black robes, which would only increase bitterness and resentment surrounding the issue. (After all, look how well the imposition of abortion on demand has calmed people's opinions around that issue. Tempers would be a lot calmer had a compromise been reached through the political process, rather than through a heavy-handed imposition from on high.) In any event, redefining marriage to solve these problems is using an atomic bomb to kill a fly.
2) It's true. Marriage is in a sad state in American society. The solution is not to "define deviancy down," in Daniel Patrick Moynihan's famous phrase; it's to try to rebuild it, give it the respect it deserves, not continue the downhill trend of people making it what they want it to be, rather than what it should be.
3) As I stated yesterday, it's not smart to rush into changes. This concept of same-sex marriage was unthinkable a decade ago. I was in college at the University of Delaware when they were proposing same-sex domestic partner benefits, and those proposing it made clear they were not pushing for marriage rights. Now all of a sudden, to hear some talk, only bigots oppose it. It's never smart to undertake a sudden, big change this quickly, especially one affecting the foundational unit of our society. A decent summary of how quickly demands are escalating in this area can be found here. (I'm not a big fan of this writer's rhetoric, but this a very illuminating point.) The first letter argues (correctly) that churches should not be forced to perform same-sex ceremonies, but we can see that push is starting in other nations. And given our Supreme Court's fondness for imposing foreign law on Americans, who's to say that won't happen some day soon?
4) Some who should know better have argued that this amendment shouldn't be pursued until after "same-sex marriage" is a reality. This is fixing the barn door after the horse is gone. If we wait on the amendment until after "same-sex marriage" is a reality, that will strengthen the position of those who support it. They'll be able to point to all the "married" couples who we'll be saying aren't married and how evil and mean we are for doing so. The longer we wait, the more momentum builds for the destruction of marriage as we know it.
5) The marriage amendment is not a waste of time when we have "more pressing issues to deal with." And many of those who make this argument agree with that, frankly. After all, what pressing matter did the Senate take up after failing to close debate on this amendment? An attempt to create a racially-based government in Hawaii that fortunately looks like it will fail. It was just a talking point they found scored well; they don't actually believe it. And if the issue of redefining marriage is so unimportant given everything else we have to deal with, can we guarantee that there won't be any lawsuits or legislative attempts to redefine it while we drop our attempts to defend marriage? I don't think so either.
6) It's also claimed that marriage has always been a states issue, rather than a federal issue. This also is not the case. See here, which lists four pieces of federal legislation against polygamy. (From what seems to be a pro-polygamy site.)

The amendment was timely, was important and should have been passed.

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