Sunday, October 23, 2005

A Conservative Approach to Marriage Equality

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Although, in my opinion, she still shows some bias against homosexuality... its a good look at the conservative side of support for marriage equality: Gay marriage, big whoop By Samantha Swindler - The Jacksonville Progress, October 23, 2005 Proposition 2, sponsored by our District 3 Rep. Sen. Todd Staples, is a proposed Texas Constitutional amendment which states that in Texas, marriage consists only of the union between one man and one woman. It basically backs up the Defense of Marriage Act passed by the state legislature in 2003 which banned same-sex marriage in the state of Texas. By making gay marriage unconstitutional, Texas judges cannot interpret laws to favor same-sex marriages in their own courts. I've thought a lot this week about same-sex marriages and came to this conclusion - I don't care. What people do in the privacy of their home between consenting adults is no business of mine. Be gay, be bisexual, be straight. Whatever. As long as I don't have to see any public displays of affection from anybody, I don't care. But for Prop. 2, Staples argued that allowing people the right to “personal affairs” without persecution is a different issue than condoning the behavior and recognizing a gay relationship as a marriage. OK. So, who owns the idea of marriage? I think “marriage” belongs to the church, any church, and lawmakers have no right to lay claim to it. The state should have never gotten into the business of marriages. Marriage is a union before God. It's a sacrament of the church. If a church bans or accepts gay marriages, it has a right to do that. That's something decided among church leaders and closed to government criticism. It's sort like a private club with private rules. The government should only recognize things called “civil unions” - and that doesn't mean anything more than two people are sharing bank accounts, are entitled to health benefits, and can file income taxes jointly. It's win-win. Marriage can belong solely to the church. Nobody feels their rights are infringed upon. A couple can have a big white wedding in a cathedral, but it doesn't mean the government gets involved until they go down and file paperwork at the county courthouse. Other religious sacraments aren't government sanctioned. You don't file at the courthouse when you get baptized. The only reason people register marriages is because it affects taxes, inheritance and bank accounts - civil things. It shouldn't have anything to do with the government's endorsement of Judeo-Christian values. One argument for Prop. 2 is that this ban is “defending” the sanctity of marriage, but I can't imagine that fathers and mothers are going to abandon their families and run off to join the “Gay Circus” just because they can. For the record, Massachusetts - home of The Original Gay Wedding - has the lowest divorce rate in the nation (Boston Globe, Oct. 31, 2004, edition.) To quote the Globe, “At latest count it had a divorce rate of 2.4 per 1,000 population, while the rate for Texas was 4.1.” Say what you will about Massachusetts (I know, there is plenty to say), but it seems they're doing a pretty good job of defending marriage. East Texas, however, seems to have a real problem with domestic violence, adultery, child abuse and the like. There are many factors that contribute to these problems, but I seriously doubt a rise in the homosexual population has anything to do with it, nor will this defense of marriage proposition do anything to address these real issues. There is a moral issue involved here that is the white elephant in the corner. Americans are afforded the liberty to hold to any religious belief, including the one that homosexuality is a mortal sin. But, it is a slippery slope when the state gets mixed up in moral issues. Moral issues - ones that don't involve physical or monetary harm to others - are for the church to decide. The government should stick to concerns about income tax filings, which would be a good reason to limit civil unions to being between two people, for simplicity reasons. You don't want this to get out of hand. Religious beliefs are based on faith, something that cannot be proved or disproved with fact - that can be healthy for the soul, but not for a state legislature. Original Source: /2005/10/23/opinion/opinion02.txt