"Marriage Protection Week"
By John Buck
This week, October 12th-18th, has been declared "Marriage
Protection Week." According to the Family Research Council
the project is the result of an attack on marriage by people
who want to redefine what marriage is.
During the coming week and beyond the Family Research Council
will be asking elected officials to not only support the proposed
Constitutional Amendment defining marriage as "one man and
one woman" but going beyond that definition.
It states the following:
I, ______________________ , pledge to the families of
the state of ___________________ , and to all the American
people that I will protect the inviolable definition of
marriage. I firmly believe this definition is as follows:
Marriage, whether entered into within or outside of the
United States, shall consist of the legal union of one
man and one woman. Every person has the right to marry
a person of the opposite sex, subject to state laws based
on age and consanguinity. The uniting of persons of the
same or opposite sex in a civil union, domestic partnership
or other similar relationship shall not be valid or recognized
with any legal benefits or privileges in the United States.
President Bush has even signed a Proclamation
officially recognizing the week. It reads in part:"We must
support the institution of marriage and help parents build
stronger families. And we must continue our work to create
a compassionate, welcoming society, where all people are treated
with dignity and respect."
How does preventing a civil union protect marriage? How does
this help create a "welcoming society, where all people are
treated with dignity and respect"?
The issue here is not protecting marriage. The real issue
is intolerance. Many religions do not approve of same-sex
marriage. And some people are unable to separate their religious
beliefs from the legal aspects of civil marriage.
You see, the concept of civil marriage is to have a legally
recognized, long term, committed, relationship with another
person. To fully share in building a life. That is a concept
which strengthens our communities. That is a concept which
promotes families to adopt and provide quality homes for children.
That is a concept which allows more than one thousand legal
according to the U.S. Government's General Accounting Office.
Rights a married couples get with one piece of paper, but
require same-sex couples spend thousands of dollars in legal
fees and hundreds of hours in paper work to attain.
Same sex unions aren't the evil thing the Family Research
Council, the President of the United States and Republican
party would like to portray. They don't cause abortion or
out-of-wedlock babies. They don't create increased welfare
rolls. They don't prevent anyone else from getting married
and loving each other. All they do is allow two people to
share a life.
Certainly, many religions will not support same sex marriages.
That is their right. But equally important is the right to
have your relationship recognized by the governmental units
of our country. Perhaps not with the word "marriage," but
certainly with the equal opportunities of the legal benefits
of marriage under local, state and federal law.
Before we go amending the Constitution to define marriage,
perhaps we should reconsider Thomas Jefferson's advice: "I
am not an advocate for frequent changes in laws and constitutions.
But laws and institutions must go hand in hand with the progress
of the human mind. As that becomes more enlightened, as new
discoveries are made, new truths discovered and manners and
opinions change, with the change of circumstances, institutions
must advance also to keep pace with the times. We might as
well require a man to wear still the coat which fitted him
when a boy, as civilized society to remain ever under the
regime of their barbarous ancestors." (Words inscribed at
the Jefferson Memorial in Washington D.C.)
Call it Civil Union. Call it Marriage. Call it whatever you
like. But, to deny the civil rights of individuals because
of individual religious belief goes against the basic concept
of the U.S. Constitution. And to support a concept which goes
against the U.S. Constitution...well...you can decide for
yourself what that is.