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Should gays have the right to marry?
AJC.COM ^ | July 18, 2003 | SHAUNTI FELDHAHN DIANE GLASS

Posted on 07/18/2003 10:12:51 PM PDT by new cruelty

Shaunti Feldhahn, a right-leaning columnist, writes the commentary this week and Diane Glass, a left-leaning columnist, responds.

COMMENTARY-

My 3-year-old daughter has decided that she will marry her baby brother in a few years. She feels love toward her brother and wants to live with him forever, which, in her mind, means getting married. This makes sense to a 3-year-old. But at some point, my husband and I will explain what marriage is and what it is not.

When I don't condone my toddlers' getting married, am I toddlerphobic? Bigoted? Am I denying them equal rights under the law? No, I'm just explaining the facts -- marriage is a sacred and legal covenant between an unrelated man and woman. It may be understandable that a gay or lesbian couple wants legal recognition, but that couple cannot be married. Because no such state exists.

Marriage is the oldest institution in the world, and I would argue, exists outside of any temporal definition of it. Because of this, with few exceptions, every society down through history, and every major world religion, has recognized the same one-man, one-woman parameters. No court, no legislature, can change the fundamental structure of marriage. Only its Creator can change it, and it doesn't look like He is doing that any time soon.

All we as a society can do, then, is change our definition of marriage. And that would be a mistake. We would be trying to make marriage something it isn't, would be violating the conscience of millions of people for the sake of a small minority, and would be setting ourselves on a slippery slope to disaster. If we change our definition of marriage to include gay and lesbian couples today, what is next? Bigamy? Adult-child unions? I'm not being facetious.

If we don't hold an objective, unwavering line on what marriage is and is not, what grounds do we have for objecting to any type of marriage union? I happen to think that bigamy is sexist, abusive and demeaning to women (even women who choose it), but if society tries to make marriage something it is not, why shouldn't a patriarch be allowed to take three teenaged wives if he and they so choose?

The conservative opinion on this may seem unjust to some, but it is not. It is protecting the traditional definition of marriage against an onslaught that would undermine our society.

My heart goes out to my gay friends who may struggle with feeling unequal under the law, but compassion should not result in destroying the fundamental definition of society's most important institution. I believe the gay lifestyle is morally wrong, but a gay citizen is entitled to civil rights and a free choice of lifestyle like anyone else. Some may say, "Well, then I have the right to marry." Yes, of course you do. The only qualification is that you marry someone of the opposite sex.

REBUTTAL-

Shaunti is right. Marital unions outside of heterosexual unions do not truly reflect the spirit of marriage. Marriage is based on male property rights and commerce. This power structure can only exist between a man and woman. Or to use the very words of the Christian church -- words that aptly identify the power imbalance -- marriage can only exist between "man and wife."

Yet same sex partners still want to marry. Their desire to reap the same financial and social benefits of marriage, as their heterosexual counterparts, upsets the conservative community. Conservatives fear a deterioration of their traditional values and a precipitous decay of morals that will inevitably plummet down the slippery slope toward pedophilia.

It's only a slippery slope if your definition of marriage begins and ends with conservative Christianity. I can draw conclusions about the dangers of religion that the devout draw about same-sex marriages: If we give those Christians free rein what's next? Male superiority and female subservience? Oh, wait. That already exists. I blush. I should try to pick a more outlandish example. Sorry.

The reality is that other religions and lifestyles exist. As hard as this concept may be to understand in the state of Georgia, it is nevertheless true. The United States was formed based on free speech and self-determination and the separation of church and state. It wasn't based on the question: "What would Jesus do?" Does everything have to inevitably revolve around Christian ethics? If that's the case, I think we should consider revising our Constitution to better reflect New Testament ethics.

But in the meantime, I think it is fair to say that same-sex unions can't topple an institution that was never firmly grounded. Marriage predates Christianity. Marriage was originally an arrangement devoid of love, a monetary transaction that extended a couple's social network. It was a matter of survival. Women had babies and men foraged for food.

Marriage = Economics, b.c.

If conservatives are upset about sullying the original meaning of marriage let's go back even farther and talk about ancient Mesopotamia or Egypt. Let's talk about dowries, about transferring property right between father and husband. Let's talk about the husband's surname as a cattle brand. The definition of marriage as a heterosexual union was only recently adopted by the Church as a holy union between 'man and wife'. And this is only a single chapter in a long history of marital 'bliss'.

If the concern is that we satisfy the "majority's conscience," despite a vocal minority, this argument isn't convincing. Women couldn't own property or vote when they were a minority voice, does this make it right? (Do I need to mention slavery, too?)

Church and state were separated for a reason: to respect all religions and lifestyles, not just the dominant one. Same-sex couples should be afforded the legal and financial benefits equally under the law, not to mention the emotional rewards of being recognized and affirmed as equally valued and contributing members of a society that they helped create.


TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Culture/Society; Editorial; Government; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: gay; homosexual; homosexualagenda; prisoners; samesexmarriage
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1 posted on 07/18/2003 10:12:52 PM PDT by new cruelty
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To: new cruelty
If conservatives are upset about sullying the original meaning of marriage let's go back even farther and talk about ancient Mesopotamia or Egypt. Let's talk about dowries, about transferring property right between father and husband. Let's talk about the husband's surname as a cattle brand. The definition of marriage as a heterosexual union was only recently adopted by the Church as a holy union between 'man and wife'. And this is only a single chapter in a long history of marital 'bliss'.

Recently adopted?

Matt 19:4-6 And He answered and said to them, "Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning 'made them male and female,' "and said, 'For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh'? "So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate."

Six days after the whole universe was created, God made it one man and one woman. I fail to see how anyone can call that "recently adopted".

Perverts and Liberals. Totally incapable of telling the truth.

And my wife doesn't consider taking on my name "being branded like cattle".

2 posted on 07/18/2003 10:19:46 PM PDT by Dr Warmoose
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To: All
Thank you very much!
Thank you very much!
That's the nicest thing that anyone's ever done for me.
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3 posted on 07/18/2003 10:20:18 PM PDT by Support Free Republic (Your support keeps Free Republic going strong!)
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To: new cruelty
"Should gays have the right to marry?"

No

4 posted on 07/18/2003 10:22:24 PM PDT by dixiechick2000
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To: new cruelty
A man and woman get married and have a son. The man gets a retirement check in his old age. then the wife dies.

To keep the retirement money flowing in the son convinces his pop to "marry" him with a gay wedding. Father and gay son live now as man and "wife'. Then Father dies and gay son continues to live on Poppa's retirement check as the "spouse".

If son gets another "spouse" and the son dies can the new "spouse" continue to live on Papa's retirement check?

Consider the posibilities for fraud...
5 posted on 07/18/2003 10:27:10 PM PDT by Ruy Dias de Bivar
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To: new cruelty
So called "gays" already have the right to marry. No one has ever denied either male or female homosexuals the right to marry.

The problem does not lie with society denying them the right to marry--the problem is with their perverted desire to marry man-to-man or woman-to-woman.

This has never been acceptable throughout history. It is not acceptable now. But it may become legal anyway.
6 posted on 07/18/2003 10:35:41 PM PDT by the lone wolf (Good Luck, and watch out for stobor.)
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To: new cruelty
Gays might have a ceremony but they will not be married since by definition they are not a man and a woman.

Gays want to ape the straight people whom they revile. I can't wait to see the expression on the face of some wealthy chicken hawk when his boy toy takes him for millions in community property and separate maintenance after 6 months of "marriage".

7 posted on 07/18/2003 10:36:27 PM PDT by Mike Darancette (RATS: We're sorry Saddam.)
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To: new cruelty
Should gays have a right to get married?

Only if they are conservative republicans. If we need to prevent someone from getting married or breading, it should be liberals.

8 posted on 07/18/2003 10:40:56 PM PDT by Jeff Gordon
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To: new cruelty
"Should gays have the right to marry?"

The state can't grant rights. . .only protect them. Guess the question should be directed to God. I can't speak for Him, nor can the state.

Matrimony is defined as a union between a man and a woman. Guess the gays will have to invent a new word to describe their thing and then apply for a license to practice whatever it is that they do.

9 posted on 07/18/2003 10:52:30 PM PDT by Eastbound
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To: new cruelty
Diane Glass, a left-leaning columnist

what an understatement . . .

Her constant mention of "separation of church and state" is completely ridiculous - and even more aggravating!!! That phrase is nowhere in the Constitution. The Second Amendment says Congress can't establish any religion (and when they say "establish", I'm sure they mean in both senses of the word). It is clear to those with knowledge of the Constitutional Convention that the Founders intended that this nation would make political decisions with a moral, even religious base: there was prayer before every meeting of the convention and among the first actions of the convention was the appointment of a chaplain.

Also, according to a recent Supreme Court decision regarding flag burning, the determination of what is acceptable free speech and what isn't depends on the opinion of the majority. If one thinks about this, this decision has great implications on not only the gay marriage issue, but also other sexual issues, such as pornography in libraries.

10 posted on 07/18/2003 11:03:07 PM PDT by Red 5 (Watch your six.)
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To: new cruelty
THIS ENTIRE SCHEME HAS ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO DO WITH INCLUSION. THIS HAS LESS TO DO WITH CIVIL RIGHTS AND SOCIAL EMPOWERMENT THAN THE IMPOSITION -- VIA JUDICIAL DIKTAT AND THE POLICE POWERS OF THE STATE -- OF AN ANTI-RELIGIOUS AGENDA. THE TRUE NATURE OF THE AGENDA IS REVEALED BY THE FACT THAT THEY DO NOT LOBBY FOR A NEW STATUS THAT HAS THE LEGAL EQUIVALENT OF MARRIAGE UNDER SECULAR LAW, BUT RATHER A REDEFINING OF "MARRIAGE" ITSELF.
11 posted on 07/18/2003 11:03:07 PM PDT by CaptIsaacDavis
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To: Eastbound
I think the whole thing is going to come down to semantics, and religion.

Gays can legally accomplish much of what marriage entails as far as civil matters are concerned via wills, power of attorneys etc., with the exception of things like Social Security benefits etc, and as far as I am concerned, we should be able to leave any funds remaining in our SS "accounts" to whoever we wish to leave them to, it doesn't become the government's money just because I died.

I think there will be some sort of "civil union" made available to anyone who wishes to enter into a legal cohabitation agreement without being actually married, something not confined to same-sex couples.

As for the institution of marriage, we can't either force Churches to conduct same-sex marriages, nor demand that they don't.

Marriage will survive gay unions, it's survived everything we have done to it thus far.
12 posted on 07/18/2003 11:03:50 PM PDT by Luis Gonzalez (Cuba será libre...soon.)
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To: CaptIsaacDavis
Ease off the CapsLock key there . . .
13 posted on 07/18/2003 11:04:58 PM PDT by Red 5 (Watch your six.)
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To: new cruelty
at some point, my husband and I will explain what marriage is and what it is not.

The way the laws are going, someday that will be illegal. The only thing you'll be allowed by law to tell your kids about marriage is "anything goes".

14 posted on 07/18/2003 11:08:57 PM PDT by Hillarys Gate Cult ("Read Hillary's hips. I never had sex with that woman.")
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To: Luis Gonzalez
Bump.

I tend to avoid these threads, however, that was a very good response and I found myself nodding in agreement.
15 posted on 07/18/2003 11:10:03 PM PDT by JakeWyld
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To: new cruelty
Should gays have the right to marry?

Hey, if we heterosexual males have to worry about being taken to the cleaners in Divorce Court, why shouldn't gay males have the same privilege?

Let them have their "Civil Unions" (Minus adoption rights that would involve a child).

After a few years, they will be longing fo the "Good Ole Days".

16 posted on 07/18/2003 11:18:57 PM PDT by Polybius
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To: new cruelty
Should gays have the right to marry?

So much for journalistic standards, the very title is biased. Gays have the right to marry just like anyone else. But if they are men they must marry a woman and vice versa. Gays and Straights have the exact same rights. The real title should be "Should marriage be changed from a union of man and woman, to any union of two individuals" This much more accurately reflects the issue and should make us ponder, with marriage already in trouble, do we really want to trivialize it anymore by twisting it beyond recognition.

17 posted on 07/18/2003 11:22:03 PM PDT by Godel
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To: Polybius
"Let them have their "Civil Unions" (Minus adoption rights that would involve a child)."

You know what I found funny about the whole Lawrence case?

In Texas, gays can adopt children.

Now, how the hell does that make any sense?

18 posted on 07/18/2003 11:25:23 PM PDT by Luis Gonzalez (Cuba será libre...soon.)
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Comment #19 Removed by Moderator

To: Luis Gonzalez
"As for the institution of marriage, we can't either force Churches to conduct same-sex marriages, nor demand that they don't. "

My point was that the words, 'marry' and 'matrimony' have been reserved and protected by copywrite and can't be used to define a contract between two people of the same sex. The state is not at liberty to infringe on the copywrite by changing the definition of those words. Nor is the church. That's why I suggested they invent a new word to describe their contract.

If the state wants to use the same logic as it did to recognize (not grant) the rights of freed slaves with the 14th Amendment, I suppose they can do something similar to free up and recognize the gay community's claim for a contractual union without actually calling it 'marriage' or 'matrimony.'

20 posted on 07/18/2003 11:30:33 PM PDT by Eastbound
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