Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Guest Blogger: Paula Cochran

Paula Cochran is a member of the board of the Central Susquehanna chapter of the ACLU of PA.

All deserve to be treated fairly
or
What makes you queasy?


Marriage can mean a man and a woman making a lifetime commitment and the possibility that the relationship will produce offspring. Yet, we don't take a marriage licence from those who choose not to, or find they cannot, produce offspring. Just as we do not take a marriage licence from those who adopt because they lack a shared genetic make up with their child (and yes, we do consider it their child). Nor do we deny marriage licences to those who divorce and choose to remarry, once, twice or three times.

A letter to the editor in The (Sunbury) Daily Item recently stated that the writer can "understand gays and lesbians entering into economic interdependence" though the thought of gay couples "engaging in some form of physical union" makes him queasy. Yet, there is no legal requirement for heterosexual couples to assure their choice of "physical union" won't make the rest of us queasy. And who would get to decide which forms of "physical union" qualify as queasy and thus, make one ineligible for a marriage license?

At least fifty percent of Americans grew up in a family where the parents got divorced. In my family there were three. All heterosexual marriages and divorces, I might add. Anti-gay marriage advocates believe that legalizing gay marriage will destroy the definition of family, which they define as "a stable, two-parent, male-female home." Yet the divorce rate in the US hovers at around 50% for first marriages, 67% for second marriages and 74% for third marriages. Almost 50% of children live in a single parent family and another 30% live in either a step or cohabiting family. That means 68.7% of American youth live in a nontraditional family already.

If gay marriage becomes legal will it mean heterosexual marriages will fall apart and we'll find 68.7% of our children living in non traditional settings? No. We already have that. Will it mean that marriage will no longer "imply procreation?" Or do moral, responsible, stable, two-parent, male-female heterosexual couples only have sex for procreation but gay people do it just because it feels good? Now I'm beginning to feel a bit queasy.

So, what would be the consequence of gay marriage? Gay people would get the same legal benefits heterosexual couples get. It's not a moral or ethical question. It's a legal question. That question is: Do all people, by law, deserve to be treated fairly?

4 Comments:

Anonymous Atheism Quotes said...

The problem we run into is that people who are against gay marriage because of religious beliefs see nothing wrong with forcing their religion into laws.

So while it would be nice to make it as simple as saying that legally, there should be no discrimination against gays in marriage, it's just not going to happen while these folk believe they should be legislating their beliefs on the rest of us.

4:35 PM  
Anonymous Keanus said...

Paula's comments are spot on. They remind of what I've often thought but never sought to write down.

As for feeling queasy, I get that way discussing sex between any two other individuals. Since any one else's sexual exploits are of no interest to me, does that make the Christian right a bunch of voyeurs who want spy cameras in every bedroom so the sex police can make sure no one violates "good taste?"

Given their pecadilloes, I also wonder how the oppenents of gay marriage with their rhetoric about the "sanctity of marriage" meaning a two-parent, male-female home [in the business of procreating] can approve of two 60+ folks marrying, if they can't produce children. Doesn't that violate their "sanctity of marriage" too?

5:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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2:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Personally, I think the state ought to get out of
the marriage business entirely. Let everyone be entitled to a civil
union, including elderly partners in platonic relationships,
regardless of sex and/or gender.

Marriage is a spiritual union. If we want to be married, let us do so
according to our own faith traditions. Get the government out of my
marriage!

8:06 AM  

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