Friday, October 31, 2008

Legislating Love


Surrounded by friends and family in a traditional circle of love, their unremitting smiles warming my heart that sunny day on the beach in Cape May. Two close friends vowed their love and lives together. A culmination of 9 years of happiness, loyalty and love through good times and bad…a perfect example of what a marriage should be.


In a 4-3 decision, Connecticut Supreme Court struck down the state's civil union law and ruled that same-sex couples have a constitutional right to marry. Connecticut thus joins Massachusetts and California as the only states to have legalized gay marriages. But these progressive inroads to equality are quickly being challenged. In a few days, Proposition 8 will be voted on in California to overturn the courts ruling by banning same-sex marriage. Similar legislation is being issued in Florida and Arizona.

Religious conservatives note that California sets cultural trends for the rest of the country and even the world. They fear that if same-sex marriage is allowed to become entrenched in California, it will open the floodgates to same-sex marriages everywhere. “This vote on whether to stop the gay-marriage juggernaut in California is Armageddon,” said Charles W. Colson, the founder of Prison Fellowship Ministries. “We lose [Proposition 8], we are going to lose in a lot of other ways, including freedom of religion.” 1

Argument 1 insists that churches will be forced to perform weddings because churches have a tax-exempt status and that the separation of church and state is a guise by which they hide the approval of these laws. The Massachusetts high court in 2004 held that same-sex marriages were legal. It has been four years since this groundbreaking decision, and there has yet to be a lawsuit against a church not sanctifying a same-sex marriage. Rev. Karen Sapio, the minister of Claremont Presbyterian Church in Southern California, “I have not heard of a single Catholic church forced to marry someone who has been divorced, or a rabbi forced to perform an interfaith marriage or an evangelical church forced to marry a couple who has been living together.” 1

According to the Code of Canon Law 1084, antecedent and perpetual impotence at the time of marriage invalidates the marriage.2 Hedir Antonio de Brito, a paraplegic man, was two weeks away from marrying Elzimar de Lourdes Serafim when he received a shocking letter from the local bishop denying their application for a marriage certificate since his condition rendered him impotent. A requirement for marriage in the Catholic Church is that both parties must be “open to children”. If it is known that one party is unable to produce children, the marriage can be annulled on that basis alone.3 Although this took place in Brazil, the Catholic Church throughout the world, has rules governing who can marry, and despite lack of case law in the United States, the government has never attempted to legislate these church rules.

Argument 2

Glenn Stanton, Director of Social Research and Cultural Affairs for Focus On The Family argues that it “would open the door to polygamy” because the first same-sex marriage that was issued in Massachusetts, the couple commented that they will have an ‘open marriage’. Polygamy was taught and practiced by Joseph Smith, Jr. and formally introduced to the public in 1852. Mr. Smith was the founder of the Latter Day Saint movement, which was the foundation for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.4 Ergo in the name of the church, polygamy was first introduced through Christianity. And although the church officially abandoned the practice in 1890,4 anyone who has opened a newspaper over this past year is aware that polygamy is still being practiced.

Argument 3

“The traditional family, supported by more than 5,000 years of human experience, is still the foundation on which the well-being of future generations depends.”5 Let’s see how this ‘foundation’ has done thus far:

The CDC reported for 2005:

· Marriage rate: 7.5 per 1,000 total population
· Divorce rate: 3.6 per 1,000 population

According to Child Maltreatment 2006, the most recent report of data from the National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System, approximately 905,000 children were found to be victims of child abuse or neglect...
…And, one or both parents were responsible for 75.9 percent of child abuse or neglect fatalities. As of September 30, 2005, there were an estimated 513,000 children in foster care in the U.S. alone.6

Justice Barbara A. Madsen wrote in the an opinion upholding the ban on gay marriage in Washington State, “Limiting marriage to opposite-sex couples furthers procreation, essential to the survival of the human race, and furthers the well-being of children by encouraging families where children are reared in homes headed by the children’s biological parents.”7 Despite ignorance rooted in Ms. Madsen’s statement, many people should not be procreating and are in no way fit to raise children. By the way, there are 6.7 billion people on this planet and a current growth trajectory expected to reach nearly 9 billion by the year 2042.8 What we need for the human race to survive is compassion.

Argument 4

“No culture needs same-sex marriage…if it was necessary, it would have been invented earlier.” 9 Let’s see…Women’s Suffrage…1920…Civil Rights Act…1964. It is never too late for progress, and equality is always necessary.

Argument 5

“Interpreting our state constitutional provisions in accordance with firmly established equal protection principles leads inevitably to the conclusion that gay persons are entitled to marry the otherwise qualified same-sex partner of their choice,” Justice Richard N. Palmer declared in the 4-to-3 majority decision for the Connecticut Supreme Court. “To decide otherwise would require us to apply one set of constitutional principles to gay persons and another to all others.”10

But why aren’t Civil Unions sufficient? Civil unions still deny the same financial, social and emotional benefits accorded in a marriage. Therefore producing what the court called a “suspect class”- a group, like blacks or women, that has experienced a history of discrimination and was thus entitled to increased scrutiny and protection by the state in the promulgation of its laws.10


It is not about a bride and a groom, a bride and a bride, or a groom and a groom. It is about two consenting adults vowing their love to one another. Cynics will say that love is not enough to create a future together, but it is the key ingredient that is missing in almost half of the marriages each year. Because love is truly rare, when you find someone to love, hold and cherish him or her, and make sure no law prevents you from sharing your lives the same way that needs be entitled to everyone.

Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.
-- Corinthians 13:7-8

1 “A Line in the Sand for Same-Sex Marriage Foes,” by Laurie Goodstein, The New York Times, 10/27/2008
5 “Two Mommies Is One Too Many,” by James C. Dobson, Time Magazine, December 18, 2006
7 “Washington Court Upholds Ban On Gay Marriage,” by Adam Liptak and Timothy Egan, The New York Times, July 17, 2006.
10 “Connecticut Ruling Overturns Ban on Same-Sex Marriage,” by Sharon Otterman, The New York Times, October 11, 2008

Congratulations A&J, and M&G! Best wishes to you always!


Anonymous said...

Once again your the Babe Ruth of rants, you hit another our of the park...

Discrimination doesn't belong in any Constitution. And when it has been, WE THE PEOPLE have removed it.

If these amendments do pass I believe the gay community should work on pushing an amendment for each state banning divorce and "open relationships". Divorce and "open relationships" ruins one in four heterosexual families, breaks the hearts of their children, creates a huge financial burdens on the state and country and basically is illegal in all types of bibles.(Even if you only read the red words).

I have never read a story about a gay couple killing each other for money, leaving their child to die in the trunk of a car or dumping their love ones so they can be with an a younger richer person. I actually believe gay people are more compassionate and can handle the world better the most straight people since they have had to deal with so much because of their sexual preference. In fact some of the nicest smartest and thoughtful men and women I have met in my life are gay. Not allowing them to live life the way I am allowed to is discrimination.

What benefit does this bring our country? What does this "amendment" protect? Children or some kooky belief that is thousands of years old? With our economy in a huge hole, people losing their jobs wouldn't allowing gay couples to get married actually help some small business? I mean to have a wedding you need a DJ, a hall, clothing, food, Limos, a honeymoon and all the other goodies. So lets do some math:

Do you know that average straight couple in the united states pays $28,732 to get married. If you have just 10 gay marriages in a city a month that would pump $287,320 into the local economy. And remember within that number there are TAXES to be paid to the government .Even better if you look at that yearly that is close to $14 million dollars each city loses a year because gay couples are not allowed to get married. It is good to know these amendments are protecting me and all the children when millions of dollars are being wasted to discrimination. I don't know any city, state or country that wouldn't mind an extra few million in revenue to keep their economy rolling. John McCain talks about pork and how it has no place in government because it wastes taxpayers money. Well amendments like this are Bullcrap and they also have no place in government because in the long run, it ruins peoples lives and costs taxpayers and "Joe the Plumbers" money. Amendments are to balance budgets and keep companies from stealing 401k money and pensions but for some reason they never show up on my ballot. We need change in this country. Hopefully in a few days it will happen.

Anonymous said...

Being a straight woman I know exactly what it is liked to be discriminated in marriage due to the Catholic church. I was raised Catholic and my husband wasn't and they found out we LIVED together. We basically got thrown out of the priest's office and told us we couldn't take the Pre-Cana classes and referred us to another church that might have taken us. We both decided to not get married in the Catholic church because if we had to endure all that, it wasn't worth it.

Having gone to this Cape May wedding and seeing two women who were together for 9 years finally tie the knot, it felt enlightening to see. It was also great to see over 200 people there to share it with them. Nobody cared or had a problem with the fact that it was a same sex marriage. McCain is so against this and I like the previous comment about it helping the economy. Do we really want a president like that? Should anyone not be able to have a legal life partner?

One voice of many said...

If procreation is the basis for marriage, then childless couples shouln't be allowed to marry either, correct? That is my fury with the entire argument. LOVE is LOVE. That's all there is to it.

Jonathan said...

Great post! Thanks for writing it.

What do you think marriage amendment proponents mean when they claim that they are "protecting the institution of marriage"?

Today's Rant said...

We may have taken one step forward towards equality with electing a black man to the presidency but with Proposition 8 and Amendment 2; we just took two steps back.

Today's Rant said...

To extend your point on the economics of same-sex marriages,"estimated that legalizing same-sex ceremonies in the state would result in about $63.8 million in government tax and fee revenue over three years."

Today's Rant said...

Anonymous said...

im in favor of all marriages being banned. its a religious thing. the gov't should not give special groups special economic privies. in fact people with children should also pay more. no tax deductions. they are more of a burden on society. why should people without children pay the bill. its absurd. im pissed my parents sent me to public school :)
Chris 94' Floyd

Today's Rant said...

"Exit polls showed that religion played a significant role in the outcome." -using religion as the basis for discrimination. What would Jesus think? Think he would be disgraced.

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