July 19, 2007

Questioning the "Sanctity" of Marriage

One of the right-wing arguements against same-sex marriage is that it would destroy "the sanctity of marriage." An op-ed piece by Chris Kocher of the Binghamton (NY) Press & Sun-Bulletin questions that premise:

So I'm always a little puzzled when people talk about the "sanctity" of marriage. At least half of Americans are not taking the "until death do us part" portion of the wedding vows to heart. Marriage has become just another part of our throwaway culture -- some people even have "starter marriages" in their 20s and settle into the "real thing" the second time around.

Which brings us around to same-sex marriage. I say, let gay couples give it a shot -- at this point, can they screw it up any more than the heterosexuals? Perhaps so, but they should get a chance to have both sides of the coin: happiness and sadness, love and breakup. It seems only fair.

I understand how some people object to same-sex marriage on religious grounds, but we're living in a country with a clear separation of church and state. What one religion believes -- and there's some debate about that, as recent back-and-forth articles on these pages can attest -- should not dictate to everyone. As I recall, about half the country did not want civil rights for blacks in the 1960s (some people still don't), but that became the law of the land because it was the right thing to do.

We've solicited readers' opinions about same-sex marriage for a feature that will run next week, and we've had a number of responses from both sides of the issue. As a preview, I'd like to share a favorite one, from Ronald Kracht of Windsor:

"One of the things I have learned in the past 35 years is that no other relationship, happy or unhappy, married or unmarried, straight or gay, has any impact on the strength or sanctity of my marriage. I don't believe that any 'separate but equal' institution is warranted or appropriate. Any religious body which chooses not to approve of same-sex marriage should be allowed to refuse to perform such marriages."

I could not have said it better myself.

Neither could I.

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