November 10, 2005

The "Threat" of Same-Sex Marriage

If you think there's been a lot of focus in recent months on the issue of gay marriage, just wait. The fire is just getting warm and is sure to burn right through the 2006 elections. The latest chapter of this story was Wednesday's approval of a measure to establish a U. S. constitutional amendment baning gay marriage by the Senate's Judiciary subcommittee on the Constitution. Ironically, the measure is named the "Marriage Protection Amendment."

I must once again ask who exactly are conservatives working so hard to protect? As a straight man only days away from getting married myself, I don't feel the least bit threatened by any same-sex couples that would like to do the same (unless they invite us to the wedding and want an expensive gift). If anything, my impending nuptuals make me even MORE supportive of their right to marry, to experience the joy and fulfillment of making not only an emotional committment but a legal one to the person we love most in the world. I see couples in my own church who are in long-term committed loving relationships that should have every bit as much right as I do to be recognized as legal spouses.

How exactly would the right of men to leagally marry men or women to legally marry women diminish my marriage to a woman? Going back to the early days of this nation, there has always been a faction who felt threatened by the granting of rights to anyone not quite like them, feeling that it would diminish their stature, their power, whatever.

At one point in our history, blacks did not have the right to be educated, own land, and vote. Women didn't gain the right to vote until early in the 20th century, when the U. S. was well over 125 years old. Arguements were made back in the day about how these restrictions were needed to protect society. We now hear those same justifications to support not legally recognizing same-sex marriage.

Despite the loud and well financed message of the anti-gay conservatives, I feel this too will pass just like other restrictions have fallen by the wayside over the decades and centuries. Despite the efforts of these right-wingers to hold us back, society gradually becomes more enlightened as time moves forward.

After all, Jesus' message was about unconditional love. Let's put our effort on promoting love. One way of doing that is encouraging people that love each other to make the firmest committment possible to each other.


  1. As a man who cannot legally marry my Partner in 49 of the United States, I draw attention to the lessons already learned in the one state that has permitted it: Massachusetts. This is taken from an article in Bay Windows Online -- State Rep. Eugene O'Flaherty, an influential opponent of civil marriage rights for same-sex couples, now says that he is opposed to the current effort to put a gay marriage ban on the 2008 ballot. During a lengthy interview with Bay Windows, O'Flaherty also says that as House chair of the legislature's Joint Committee on the Judiciary he will recommend that the legislation not be passed should it come before his committee, as it likely will.

    The Chelsea Democrat has long been an obstacle to gay rights ranging from his opposition to simple domestic partnership legislation to his attempts to block implementation of the Supreme Judicial Court's Goodridge decision, which found that the state constitution guaranteed the rights of lesbian and gay couples to marry. As one longtime State House observer says of O'Flaherty, "He hasn't [just] opposed the gay community, he has led the fight against the gay community viciously and vociferously."

    But a number of factors have convinced the five-term legislator to change his position. The lengthy debate on marriage, O'Flaherty says, has consumed too much of his time as a legislator. "I want to try to dispose of this issue," he says. "It's occupied the last three years of my life; a lot of time, a lot of energy and I'd like to apply that to healthcare. I'd like to apply that to some of the other issues that we have in front of us, that as far as I'm concerned, are much more important to our constituents at this point."

  2. Ironically, the measure is named the "Marriage Protection Amendment."

    Yeah, and it's not the first time by any means. The anger is often built on a foundation of fear. The move is not meant to be malicious. A similar move, with equally similar language...

    In 1912, Rep. Seaborn Roddenberry (R-Ga.) proposed this amendment to the Constitution: "Intermarriage between negros or persons of color and Caucasians... within the United States... is forever prohibited." The amendment did not pass, even though the majority of Americans opposed interracial marriage and advocates argued this amendment was necessary to save the sacred institution of marriage.