Why the Fuss?
(About Same Sex Marriage)
(written Nov. 2003)
HJ 56: Marriage Amendment
(written July 2003)
The So-Called Defense of Marriage Amendment
(written July 2001)
This was written as a letter to my Senators and Representative on July 1, 2003. It was in response to proposed Constitutional Amendment, HJ Res 56, limiting marriage to heterosexuals.
I am writing to you regarding the so called "Marriage Amendment," HJ 56.
I strongly urge you to vote against this proposal, for the following reasons.
First, it is nothing more than a mean-spirited attempt to set homosexuals apart as a sub-class of citizens, unable to enjoy the rights and responsibilities that other citizens take for granted.
Just a few days ago, the Supreme Court ruled that it is wrong to make such a distinction, which demeans the lives of homosexual persons. They clearly believe that, for purposes of law, homosexual citizens should be treated exactly the same as anyone else.
In his dissent, Justice Scalia wrote that the phrase " 'Preserving the traditional institution of marriage' is just a kinder way of describing the State's moral disapproval of same-sex couples." This is undoubtedly true, and is what this amendment would do.
Justice Scalia further says that such approbation is perfectly legitimate, since "many Americans" don't want homosexuals around.
I'm sorry; but the dislike of many, or even most, people cannot be allowed to stand in the way of equal treatment for all citizens. If it could, then we would still have segregation in many areas of this country, for there are many that dislike people of color, and don't want them around.
Some argue that equal treatment isn't an issue here, since men and women are being treated equally insofar as neither can marry a person of the same sex. That is undoubtedly true; however it's beside the point.
We aren't discussing whether men and women are being treated equally; but whether homosexual persons and heterosexuals persons are being treated equally. They obviously are not; since under this amendment, heterosexual persons would be allowed to marry the person they are in love with, while homosexual persons could not.
Indeed, this amendment would enshrine the notion that homosexuals are not like other people, and should not be treated like others; but are lesser individuals whose loving commitment is not worthy of recognition.
Secondly, it is now well known that sexual orientation is inborn, or develops very early in life, and cannot be changed. There is a wealth of research that shows this, and no reputable research at all that shows anything else.
So it is quite unreasonable to assume that "homosexual" is a moral characteristic of any kind, any more than "left-handed" or "red haired" (both of which were, at one time, viewed as indicative of bad moral character.)
Thirdly, all of the other Amendments to the Constitution seek to further equality between citizens by enumerating ways that one group of citizens cannot be legally set apart.
This one would set one group apart, singling them out for unequal treatment. That is just wrong.
Fourthly, the arguments put forward by those in favor of this amendment claim that it would reduce the number of fatherless families.
This fails the most basic test of reason, since refusing marriage to homosexuals will not affect the existing or future marriages of heterosexuals at all.
Indeed, by passing this amendment, the number of single-parent families would be likely to increase, since gay people have children, too; and this amendment would bar them from the security afforded by marriage.
To assume otherwise shows a basic misunderstanding of homosexuality, or a basic misunderstanding of marriage licenses. On the one hand, it would imply that homosexuals, if denied marriage to each other, would marry opposite sex individuals, and that those marriages would last. This is simply not true. On the other hand, it would imply that there are a limited number of marriage licenses available, and that if homosexuals are allowed to have them, there won't be enough for heterosexuals. Also not true.
Fifthly, the argument that marriage has "always, universally, been defined as between one man and one woman" is false.
This is not the definition in many places in the world, nor has it been the definition throughout time. Even in the Bible, there are many instances of men having more than one wife. Look at David, Solomon, or any of the Biblical kings or founders. There are even cultures, including several Native American cultures, where marriage between individuals of the same sex was not unknown.
Sixthly, the argument that same-sex marriage is against the will of God cannot be allowed.
At the present time, any homosexual couple who so desires can have a ceremony before God and a congregation, sanctifying their commitment to each other. The sacrament is easily obtainable. It is the civil equivalent that is currently denied, and, should this amendment become enacted, will continue to be denied.
To suggest that one group's interpretation of God's will holds precedence over the interpretation of another group is in violation of the guiding principals on which this country was founded.
Lastly, it is obvious that this amendment is being proposed because those who don't want to afford legal protection to same-sex couples fear that such refusal is, at its root, unconstitutional.
After all, there are already laws in many states, as well as a Federal law, that define marriage as "one man and one woman." If those laws are Constitutional, this amendment is not needed. If they are not, then would not an amendment to specifically bar a whole class of people from access to a fundamental human institution subvert the principals behind the Constitution?
Shouldn't the Constitutionality of the current laws to be tried, without changing the Constitution to allow such possible subversion?
In conclusion, this amendment would have the effect of setting millions of Americans apart as an underclass, unworthy of the basic human right to form a family that is protected by law. As such, it would exacerbate the problems faced by those who, through no fault or choice of their own, are homosexual; causing real harm, grief, and uncertainty to them and to their children.
This is a clear violation of the principles of equal treatment of all individuals, and of basic human rights.
Please vote against this proposal.