Saturday, June 24, 2006

My Thoughts On The Gay Marriage Amendment

I do not believe that a loving gay relationship is immoral. There, I said it. First thing I said in this article, as a matter of fact. The fact that I do not believe a gay relationship to be immoral means nothing, though, until you learn some of the things I do consider to be immoral.

I think it's immoral to gamble or drink away your paycheck before your family's needs are met. I think it's immoral to cheat at business, or in a marriage for that matter. I feel it's immoral to lie under oath in court. I think it's immoral to intentionally hurt someone else, either physically or psychologically. I do believe the "rest area" type of homosexual cruising is immoral, just as frivolous, lustful heterosexual sex is immoral. There are many more, but I think this simple list is diverse enough to let you know my core beliefs.

Some, if not most of my conservative Christian brethren are against a recognized gay union because it's "immoral" or a "sin". But, is an immorality a sin? Is a sin an immorality? That's a tough pair of questions, and I'm no theologian. Biblically, not all of the immoralities I mentioned above are sins, depending on your definition of what the Bible declares to be a sin. If a sin is defined as violating one or more of the Ten Commandments, only a couple of them would be considered sins. If, on the other hand, a sin is defined as a violation of the ancient Hebrew Mosaic Law, then they all would be, along with eating that Surf and Turf you had the last time you and your wife went out to dinner, or failing to build a parapet around the perimeter of the roof of your house. Many, if not most, Christians believe they were freed from the "curse of the Law" when the Temple veil was rent in two at the time of the crucifixion. Put simply, that's when Surf and Turf and cheeseburgers and violations of Moses' building codes and homosexuality became "legal". Shellfish consumption and the combining of meat and dairy in one dish is no longer looked upon as an abomination by most Christian denominations. But homosexuality still is.

That's as deep as I'm going to go into the religious viewpoint of a gay relationship. For the purposes of this essay, any further exploration of my religious convictions on this subject are irrelevant.

Some would have you believe that codifying gay marriages would threaten traditional marriage. I suppose it could. Whenever a question of "original intent" is decided by anyone who is not the "original intenders" the possibility of twisted logic arises. But I have done a fair amount myself to debase the institution of marriage. So I won't go there either.

My opposition to the Marshall/Newman amendment, otherwise known as the "marriage amendment", is based on the effect it could have on unmarried couples of either sex.

The full text of the amendment;
That only a union between one man and one woman may be a marriage valid in or recognized by this Commonwealth and its political subdivisions.

This Commonwealth and its political subdivisions shall not create or recognize a legal status for relationships of unmarried individuals that intends to approximate the design, qualities, significance, or effects of marriage. Nor shall this Commonwealth or its political subdivisions create or recognize another union, partnership, or other legal status to which is assigned the rights, benefits, obligations, qualities, or effects of marriage
If the Marshall/Newman amendment ended with the first sentence, I could accept it. I may or may not vote for it in that form, but I could accept it as an amendment to place before the citizens of the Commonwealth. The second and third sentences muddy the water considerably. I've never been too fond of jumping blindly into a muddy stream. I won't do it this time either. I'll vote no. There are too many ways this amendment could be interpreted in the future.

A few examples, or food for thought;
  • In 2005 the General Assembly passed a law that allows small businesses and insurers to agree on health insurance plans that would cover all members of a household, including common-law spouses, in-laws, or even homosexual domestic partners. Would the passage of this amendment take that option away?
  • Would an unmarried victim of domestic abuse no longer be able to ask for a restraining order? The victim of simple assault does not have that valuable tool available.
  • How would it affect the surviving minor children of an unmarried couple?
  • What could be the implications on unmarried couples use of the courts in matters involving child custody, property rights, health care issues, and other civil cases.
  • What would be the effect on numerous and varied financial contracts between unmarried partners?
That list of questions could get really long, and they all point to the ultimate problem that I promised I would not get into. You will notice that each question could apply equally to unmarried heterosexual couples and homosexual couples. When any of these sticky questions ends up in front of a Judge, and they most certainly will if this amendment passes, what will he or she decide?

That final question bothers me. Right now I'm one half of an unmarried heterosexual couple. When I find the right other half I'll let you know.

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