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Legalize Same Sex Marriage: It is the Right Thing to Do

There are practical reasons for legalizing same sex marriage, but the most important reason transcends mere pragmatism.

It is a given under United States law that the state must have a compelling reason to deny a specific group equal access to basic human rights; I have yet to see Mr. St. Martin put forth a compelling reason for the state to deny same sex couples equal access to civil marriage.

St. Martin introduces a red herring when he asks, "does 'everyone's right' include polygamous and poly-amorous[sic] marriages?" Perhaps someday someone may advocate for polygamy and/or polyamory or even polyandry, but that is not the issue here.

Allowing same sex couples to enter into the civil contract known as marriage would not, in any substantive way, change the definition of civil marriage; it would remain a contract between two consenting adults who are not already close relatives. All that would change is that more consenting, unrelated adult couples would be able to enter into a contract that is currently limited to two people of the opposite gender.

Legalizing polygamy, in contrast, would require a complete rewriting of current civil marriage laws to account for inheritance, child support and custody as well as rights of visitation and power of attorney.

As for religious people being 'silenced', frankly, given the prevalence of churches and the prominence given to prayer and the observance of religious holidays both in Minnesota and the United States as a whole, it is ridiculous to claim that religious voices are stifled.

Nevertheless, civil law must not be based on religious dogma, particularly when that dogma runs counter to the teachings and practices of other, equally valid religious beliefs; we cannot allow our civil law to dictate religious observance or we risk violating both the spirit and the letter of the establishment and free exercise clauses of the First Amendment. 

I have not seen even one objection to same sex marriage which is not based on religious dogma; people may claim "it is about the children", but same sex couples have children, and those children should be entitled to the same protections enjoyed by the children of married heterosexual couples. People claim they object because same sex couples cannot have children by "natural means"; well, neither can infertile couples and elderly couples.

Are we going to require fertility tests and a declaration of intention to have children before we grant marriage licenses? If not, then the "natural means of conception" test for same sex marriage is irrelevant.

St. Martin takes me to task for delineating some of the practical benefits of legalizing same sex marriage, but, the practical benefits are just the beginning. Marriage is the gold standard for committed, loving relationships, it is the ultimate expression of lifelong support and devotion despite any hardships that may occur; marriage is first and foremost a declaration before friends and family, recognized by the state, that two people will stand by each other and care for each other through all the vagaries of life.

I think, for example, of my cousin Lee in New York, who was finally able to marry his partner of nearly 20 years; I think of the looks on their faces as Lee and Dan publicly declared their love for each other, and I wonder why that shining moment of love and devotion, surrounded by friends and family and recognized by the state, should be denied same sex couples here in Minnesota. Why should I, a 62-year-old widow, have the right to marry my partner, but not same sex couples who share the same love for and commitment to each other that my partner and I share?

In  short, St. Martin asks, 'what ultimate, fixed principles does one invoke when one claims that some course of action, some law, or some social or political innovation -- a revolutionary, substantive innovation especially -- is the "right" law, the "right" thing to do?' Here is the answer, Mr. St. Martin, from Matthew 7:12:

"Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets." I would add that this is a law that transcends and precedes all religious beliefs and mores; it is the very glue holding civilization together.

Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Roy Roscoe October 17, 2013 at 01:12 AM
I believe a child has a God given right to a mother and a father. Not all kids realize that right but the reasons in the past for not, where either things beyond human control like the death of one, abandonment, dangerous parenting that required intervention by courts, divorce where courts had to intervene with judgements etc. This is the first time, I know of, where the right to a mother and a father had been stripped from children, by the legislature, without there bring a danger for them, an act that could not be controlled by law, or where the parents could not live together to provide a mother and a father together.
Joyce October 17, 2013 at 01:54 PM
Well, David, that is YOUR belief, and you don't get to impose YOUR particular religious beliefs on the rest of us through our civil laws.
Roy Roscoe October 18, 2013 at 11:37 AM
You're right. Joyce, I don't wish to impose any beliefs on others. But, I can wish others, before imposing their beliefs on children, would develop a refined sense of logic and exert their imposition considering the best interests of those whose voices have never been heard or even listened to. Instead, some have demanded compliance by all, to be accepting of that which services the few. And, Joyce, though I believe the right comes from the Creator, for the purpose of this issue it doesn't matter where the right comes from. We can remove religion from the discourse entirely by taking "God" out and simply asking on what grounds does the right of same-sex couples superseded the rights of children. Simple logic tells us that force should be applied to defend the most innocent and least able to defend themselves when a choice must be made. Who could be less able to defend themselves and more deserving of our collective protection than children?
Joyce October 18, 2013 at 12:32 PM
David Hansen wrote: 'But, I can wish others, before imposing their beliefs on children, would develop a refined sense of logic and exert their imposition considering the best interests of those whose voices have never been heard or even listened to...... We can remove religion from the discourse entirely by taking "God" out and simply asking on what grounds does the right of same-sex couples superseded the rights of children. Simple logic tells us that force should be applied to defend the most innocent and least able to defend themselves when a choice must be made. Who could be less able to defend themselves and more deserving of our collective protection than children?' ============ Here is a reality check for you, David: first, same sex couples have children, and will continue to have children, regardless of whether or not they are allowed to marry. ............... More importantly, though, allowing same sex couples to marry provides vital protections for the children of those couples. So, David, why do you oppose allowing the children of same sex couples to have the same protections allowed the children of heterosexual couples? What do you have against the children of same sex couples that would justify your wishing to harm them?
Roy Roscoe October 19, 2013 at 07:36 AM
Joyce, I never said I support the children of same sex couples to be deprived of anything. I hope they are never encumbered by their realities. I wish each one could have a mother and a father but due to many things beyond their controls many children of all types of parents are in less than ideal circumstances. It's very sad. The failures of adults have placed an undue hardship on the government to attempt to correct. In so during, we should guard against the failure of government which can contribute to the damage as well. Recommend
Joyce October 19, 2013 at 11:18 AM
David Hansen wrote: 'Joyce, I never said I support the children of same sex couples to be deprived of anything.' ----------- And yet, David, you want to deprive them of the protections afforded children whose parents are married, so yes, David, you want to harm the children of same sex couples. --------- Once again, David, I have to ask you: why do you hate the children of same sex couples?
Roy Roscoe October 19, 2013 at 10:53 PM
And, I for the second time tell you Joyce: I do not hate or wish to harm any children. I do hate the situations children find themselves in that harm them by depriving them of the joys and benefits of having both good mothers and good fathers. There is a fundamental difference.
Roy Roscoe October 20, 2013 at 03:30 AM
Joyce, Children should be protected by the government regardless of who their parents are. Part of protecting them is not allowing parents to use them for political posturing and justification for furthering practices that put them at an unjust disadvantage. As Solomon wisely chose the legitimate mother of the child our legislatures should wisely recognize who is fighting for a practice that deprives some children of both sexes in parenting.
Roy Roscoe October 20, 2013 at 10:21 AM
Joyce, Your words paint quite a dramatic and storybook picture of marriage. I should remind you that the truth is some marriages are simply done unceremoniously by the mayor or JP. So far as the legislature and law is concerned they are equally as legal.
Joyce October 20, 2013 at 12:19 PM
David Hansen wrote: 'And, I for the second time tell you Joyce. I don't hate any children. I do hate the situations children find themselves in that deprive them of the joys and benefits of both mothers and fathers. There is a fundamental difference Joyce.' ======== And yet, David, you advocate policies that harm the children of same sex couples; if you don't hate those children, then why do you want to harm them?
Joyce October 20, 2013 at 12:24 PM
David Hansen wrote: 'Children should be protected by the government regardless of who their parents are. Part of protecting them is not allowing parents to use them for political posturing and justification for furthering practices that put them at an unjust disadvantage. As Solomon wisely chose the legitimate mother of the child our legislatures should wisely recognize who is fighting for a practice that deprives some children of both sexes in parenting.' ====== David, you are twisting yourself into knots in your attempt to justify opposition to same sex marriage. Refusing civil marriage rights to same sex couples does NOTHING to prevent them from having children, but it does prevent the children of same sex couples from enjoying the benefits of married parents. Those who oppose same sex marriage are the ones "using children" for "political posturing"; they post ads about the rights of the children while trying to deny rights to those children. -------- So, what would you do to prevent children from the "horror" of living without parents of both genders? Would you forcibly sterilize homosexuals? Would you forcibly remove children from single parent homes? Outlaw divorce? Mandate immediate remarriage for divorcees and widows?
Joyce October 20, 2013 at 12:26 PM
David Hansen wrote: 'Joyce, Your words paint quite a dramatic and storybook picture of marriage. I should remind you that the truth is some marriages are simply done unceremoniously by the mayor or JP. So far as the legislature and law is concerned they are equally as legal.' =========== What is your point? Legalizing same sex marriage is about civil marriage; churches can marry whomever they wish.
Roy Roscoe October 20, 2013 at 05:54 PM
My point Joyce, is there is no good argument, devoid of holes to justify same sex marriage and you make it clear there is no good argument to justify marriage to be heterosexual in the secular world which is the one we must live in. The only rational solution is to dissolve the institution of marriage entirely in the secular world. The only logical place for this to end is with an every person for them self legal system. One where all contracts are between individuals as authorized by the state. You have pointed out there is absolutely no need for traditional marriage and I see no need for same sex marriage so we are in a place where neither of us sees anything special about the others ideal of marriage and we can survive just fine with that arrangement. Why do we need marriage at all? My church can suffice for me and my family. My wife and I can have our lawyer write up contractual arrangements for property. We can get government out of the business of taxing in multiple manners. We can get SS out of the relationship business. We can get government out of the relationship business.
Roy Roscoe October 20, 2013 at 07:26 PM
It seems silly that the government should discriminate against people who have never found a partner at all. Where is the golden rule for them? It appears the golden rule only applies to those for whom Joyce advocates.
Roy Roscoe October 20, 2013 at 07:37 PM
I don't have all the answers Joyce but for starters parents who are negligent could be so penalized that none would dare neglect their children. I would certainly consider sterilization for first time offenders. Perhaps work farms should be considered where dead beat dads could live and learn until they support their kids while contributing to their own and their children's sustenance.
Joyce October 21, 2013 at 12:25 PM
David Hansen wrote: 'My point Joyce, is there is no good argument, devoid of holes to justify same sex marriage and you make it clear there is no good argument to justify marriage to be heterosexual in the secular world which is the one we must live in. The only rational solution is to dissolve the institution of marriage entirely in the secular world. The only logical place for this to end is with an every person for them self legal system. One where all contracts are between individuals as authorized by the state. You have pointed out there is absolutely no need for traditional marriage and I see no need for same sex marriage so we are in a place where neither of us sees anything special about the others ideal of marriage and we can survive just fine with that arrangement.' ========== Are you serious? How did you reach that conclusion from my arguments? Did you pull it out of your hindermost? Eliminating civil marriage entirely, requiring people to hire lawyers to draw up marriage contracts would be a huge boon to the legal profession - think of all the billable hours - and it would put marriage out of reach for all but the well-financed. Moreover, doing that would not remove government from civil marriages because the government oversees and enforces civil contracts. ------------ No need for traditional marriages? Seriously? Allowing same sex couples to marry in no way harms more traditional heterosexual marriages; your argument doesn't even rise to the level of speciousness.
Joyce October 21, 2013 at 12:27 PM
David Hansen wrote: 'It seems silly that the government should discriminate against people who have never found a partner at all. Where is the golden rule for them? It appears the golden rule only applies to those for whom Joyce advocates.' ======== The government has an interest in promoting stable families and in protecting the rights of children; whether or not individuals choose to enter into marriage is not the purview of the government.
Joyce October 21, 2013 at 12:30 PM
David Hansen wrote: 'I don't have all the answers Joyce but for starters parents who are negligent could be so penalized that none would dare neglect their children. I would certainly consider sterilization for first time offenders. Perhaps work farms should be considered where dead beat dads could live and learn until they support their kids while contributing to their own and their children's sustenance.' Forcible sterilization; interesting stance, David. And I suppose you consider same sex couples abusive parents simply by virtue of their genders.
Roy Roscoe October 21, 2013 at 04:48 PM
Interesting Joyce, I never thought about it. I only consider one of the same sex parents to be a parent because a child only had one mother and one father. But, in the case of same sex parents, I wouldn't know how to decide which one is the parent and which one is the parent's partner. Though I would consider it poor parenting, for the parent to try and convince a child that the parent's partner was also the child's parent and not the real parent's partner.
Joyce October 21, 2013 at 06:18 PM
David Hansen wrote: 'Though I would consider it poor parenting, for the parent to try and convince a child that the parent's partner was also the child's parent and not the real parent's partner.' ========== Do you also consider adoptive parenting invalid?
Roy Roscoe October 23, 2013 at 09:48 AM
No, so long as the mother and father are good choices for adopting.

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