from a public HS teacher (Gov't, Religion, Soc. Issues), who is eclectic (Dem-leaning) politically and Quaker (& open) on everything else. Hope you enjoy what you find here.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Common Sense on same-sex marriage 

appeared today in a wonderful Boston Globe op-ed by Pulitzer Prize winner Ellen Goodman, entitled Score One for Cupid.  As is my usual practice with the many wonderful pieces I find on the op ed pages of the Boston Globe, I will below the fold offer a few snippets to whet your intellectual appetite, but I urge you to go to the link above and read the whole piece.  There is a reason she won that Pulitzer.


The beginning:

NOW THAT WE have celebrated the paper anniversary of same-sex marriage in Massachusetts, may we pause for a moment to admit that the opponents were right: Same-sex marriage is proof of a crisis in traditional marriage.

But gay marriage is not the cause of the crisis, it's a consequence. The true culprit is, well, Cupid.

What's Love Got to Do With It? Precisely. Until roughly two centuries ago, the institution of marriage was considered far too important to leave up to the emotions of two people. Marriage was about economics and politics and, more than anything else, about creating new in-laws.

To see how far we've strayed from the rule of in-laws to the rule of love, just compare the 16th-century ''Romeo and Juliet" to the 21st century -- forgive me, Will -- ''Shrek 2." In our modern fairy tales, a father is expected to support a love match even if his daughter marries an ogre. Any mother who interferes is a ''Monster-in-Law."

another on-point snippet:

From the get-go, social conservatives warned of disaster. If love were the only criterion, people who hadn't fallen in love might remain single, people who had fallen out of love might demand divorce, and even homosexuals could lay a claim to marriage. As Coontz says, they were right. They were just 200 years early.

totally on-point:

Heterosexuals said marriage should be about love. Heterosexuals claimed the right to decide whether to have children. Heterosexuals said marriage wasn't about gender roles but about individualized relationships," says Coontz. ''Then gays and lesbians said, `Knock, knock. You are talking about me.' "

As Anne and Chad Gifford, former head of Bank of America, wrote this week in the Globe, their son's wedding ''brought home the reality that marriage is about two people who love each other and who desire to commit to a life together."

and the concluding paragraphs:

James Dobson of Focus on the Family has countered by insisting that ''the homosexual agenda is not marriage for gays. It is marriage for no one." But the nearly 6,200 gay couples who got married in Massachusetts suggest quite the opposite. Marriage, with all its vulnerability, remains the gold standard of relationships.

Conventional wisdom tells us that gay marriage mobilized the religious right and helped turn the 2004 election. But here, as they say, the sky didn't fall, the Red Sox won the World Series -- and public approval rating for same-sex marriage went up from 40 percent to 60 percent.

Over the years, same-sex marriages will be subject to the usual ups and downs, risks and rewards. But now, love has everything to do with it.

I hope this has given you a good sense.  But these snippets do not do justice to the piece.  Please, go read the entire thing.

no one is forcing any religion to perform any wedding that violates its precepts.  The relationships that many gays are seeking to get recognized are far more stable than many of the heterosexual marriages that are supposed to be being threatened --  after all, our divorce rate is around 50%, and it is interesting how many lean-right political leadership has been through at least one broken marriage.  Heck, St Ronald the Reagan had a divorce.

The rest of the world is recognizing that this is a fundamental human right  --  or are we to assume that such nations are Netherlands, Canada and even Spain are moving in the direction of accepting same-sex relationships.  Perhaps we won't officially call it marriage, given sensibilities  -- perhaps then what we should do is call it a civil union license, and drop the idea that the state issues anyh marriage license, and leave "marriage" to individual religious bodies  -- which might in cases like the metropolitan Community Church, some Friends Meetings, and perhaps a few other groups include the union of gays.

I know this  -- marriage is not just for procreation, or it would be illegal for senior citizens to marry one another. Arguments used against gay marriage have been used against interracial marriage, against interreligious marriage, etc.  

I think that standing up for the rights of ALL people will in the long term a winning political strategy.  In the mean time, it is the right moral thing to do.  And mayb e that is more important than  winning.  If we learned nothing from this last presidential cycle, if you don't stand for something, if your only claim is electability, you won't get elected.

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