Friday, October 24, 2008

Gay Marriage: Yes, no and maybe...

Connecticut YOUTH Forum Member Justin has something to say about the recent decision by the Connecticut Supreme Court regarding same-sex marriage in the state.

I am extremely thrilled that CT made this decision. For the first time in my memory, I am genuinely proud to be a resident of this state. I never really saw CT as being all that progressive, but this proved that we could be. We are ahead of the rest of the country with same-sex rights, being the third state to grant marriage privileges and one of the first to enforce civil unions.

But, however ahead we may be I am still worried. It is only a matter of time before rallies and protests occur, and people start to fight against this new-found freedom. There has already been a proposal to create a constitutional convention that would undoubtedly reform and reverse the same-sex marriage bill. I hope that it does not come into creation, but even if it doesn't there will be something else. And if that doesn't work, there will be something else. While this may be a huge success, there is still a lot of fighting to do, and quite frankly I am tired. Tired of fighting for my rights, tired of discrimination, tired of having to actually prove that I am equal. I feel like I should not have to use all this energy, and that this fight should have never existed in the first place. "Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" is what this country was modeled after, yet the latter just isn't being fully embraced.

I am happy for Connecticut, but ashamed that the rest of the country has not come to same conclusion. 3/50 is far from good enough.

From another YOUTH Forum Member David from Granby

Have anything to say about the topic? Do I ever! ^^ And awaaaay we go.

Before anything else, the distinction needs to be made between civil union and marriage. My personal belief is that civil union should be what's recognized by the government (on any level), and marriage should be upheld by churches, communities, what have you. With this distinction made, I don't see any reason why federal or state governments should fail to give gay and straight relationships equal weight. Our government is a secular institution, no matter how hard religious or anti-religious groups might try to hijack it, and moral/religious beliefs aside, I've seen no convincing reason why a gay couple is inherently less functional than a straight one. Thus, the government should recognize civil unions for both straight and gay couples, and not get involved with what is or is not a "marriage".

That said, I also don't believe that the government has the right to interfere with churches to force acceptance of gay marriage. If religious authorities on either a parochial or higher level decide that their faith or denomination does not support or sanction gay marriage, or consider same-sex couples married, then that's their right.

As a caveat: if there is a type of relationship (e.g. between an adult and a child) with the potential for serious inherent difficulty, it *may* be appropriate for the government to deny the same rights and benefits granted to most couples. I shouldn't be able to wed a three-year-old and expect to be treated as a "married" couple. This is the point where libertarianism becomes a bit fuzzy, though, and I'm extremely hesitant to take a stand here. I believe that if there is a valid argument against legal recognition for gay couples, it likely falls into the "slippery slope" category.

I'm obviously pulling my anti-gay-marriage punches pretty hard, because I don't actually know the extent to which it would be difficult to draw the line, as many opponents of gay marriage believe it would be. It definitely bears consideration by policy makers.

Best of luck with the blog, and I hope to see you at the next Youth Forum event. (It's at my school! W00ts!)

Not everyone is so thrilled. Juliet from Madison writes:

Marriage is and always has been a union between and man and a woman. To allow gays or anyone else to appropriate marriage as an institution is not only an insult to my marriage but a dangerous slippery slope. If two men or women are allowed to marry, what is stopping anyone from marrying a beloved pet or sibling? Further, marriages are the foundation upon which families are built and children should ALWAYS be raised in a family with a mother and father.

I have nothing in particular against gays. As far as I’m concerned they are free to do what ever they want in the bedroom. That does not give them the right to threaten my or any other normal couple’s marriage.

What do you have to say? Are we at the start of a golden age of tolerance, or on the precipice of the end of civilization?


Anonymous said...

I fail to see how the legalization of gay marriage would "threaten" the marriages of straight couples. For that matter, I can't see how it would affect them in the slightest. And for that matter, nobody owns the concept of marriage, so it's not like anybody can "appropriate" it. I mean, I have yet to hear any pro-gay activists advocate any legislation to prevent heterosexual marriages, so what's the problem? While we're at it, why not prevent the children of immigrants from "appropriating" America?

What's to stop other, more exotic relationships from being considered marriages? Well, Juliet seems concerned on behalf of children, so we'll go with the example of child care. Two adults in partnership are able to provide mature guidance for a growing child. An adult and a dog, or a child, or a television set? Not so much.

And if children should "always" be raised in a family with a mother and a father, then we have to illegalize divorce as well. After all, how could a home with two parents of the same sex be less stable than one with only one responsible adult? And we can't leave victims of domestic violence at their spouses' mercy, as removing the option of divorce would, so we need to crack down on that. But wait, how can we? I actually have a plan: find a guy, take his picture, make posters out of it, put them up everywhere, and install little security cameras behind them. Maybe we could add a little slogan to each one...

To Justin, I would say: as a fairly conservative Christian, I don't believe that same-sex relationships are generally a wise choice. However, this doesn't stop me (or many of my equally or more conservative peers) from holding you as equal to ourselves, or to any other person. I know a lot of people consider it contradictory, but even though I don't believe in everything that you stand for on this issue, I absolutely affirm that you are as human as anyone else, and not a second-class individual.

meredithjustice said...

I'm with David's basic premise... the governement's role is secular and equality is the law of the land so civil union (or whatever the term in vogue is, including the special word marriage; if that's the word we're going to use) should be availbale to all.

That also means that places of worship/religous denominations have no business in the legal union business... their sanctification should not have any legal standing re: who is a couple in the eyes of the law or anything, like taxes, health insurance or next of kin medical decisions, related to that legal relationship.

That also means, as long as we've separated the secular/legal from the religious, that houses of worship/religous denominations can decide who gets to be joined in a sactified union; it's up to them!

Anonymous said...

In response to Juliet from Madison...

How are homosexual unions threatening to your, or any other marriage? You make it sound like the homoesxual community is out to takes away the rights of the heterosexual community (or "anti-gay" community, I should probably say), when, in reality, it's the other way around. You are putting your foot down on somebody else's civil rights, simply because you FEEL threatened by something that has nothing to do with you, anyway.

~ The Quiet Lion, from CT