Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Letter to PowaySean in the San Diego Union-Tribune

Just came across this comment in the San Diego Union-Tribune:

By PowaySean on 10/29/2008 at 9:40 a.m.
...I disagree with you that marriage is a "right". Marriage is a religious institution that governments endorse. Child rearing is an expensive and difficult venture. Governments endorse marriage as an encouragement for stable procreation. There is no other logical benefit for government to endorse marriage. Since homosexuals, by the very definition, cannot procreate there is no reason to endorse it. As for homosexuals, I am all for treating them with respect, but since marriage is not a human right I see no reason to support it. Just my humble (and to some I am sure "extreme") position.

and I wrote this response:


You say:

a. "marriage is a religious institution"

Actually, no. Marriage is a civil right in California, and clergy are permitted to act as agents of the state. A church wedding not registered with the state is not valid. In most modern countries, only a civil marriage is legal, and if the church wants to bless the union, that is extra, and the state pays it no notice. Marriage in the U.S. began with the doctrine of coverture, in which a woman was her husband's property and had no rights of her own. Once there was no divorce, but the state (not the church) made divorce legal. Once there were miscegenation laws, but the state (not the church) made them illegal. Religion may guide your individual choices, but if your choices are not my choices, then it is the state, not your church, which should referee our differences.

b. "marriage (is) an encouragement for stable procreation.

Yes, but that's hardly all that marriage is about.

Would you argue that two individuals in their 50s who want to marry should not be allowed to do so? Sterile men? Infertile women? Women and men who choose not to have children?

Should the 163,879 American households (2000 Census - no doubt there are many more now) in which children live with gay parents be thrown under a bus because you want to limit marriage to procreators? That's 22% of male same-sex couple households and 33% of female same-sex couple households, by the way.

Let's not lose sight of what Prop. 8 would do: it would take away civil rights that Californians currently enjoy, rights the Supreme Court found in the Constitution. Why? Because some religious people want them taken away? If we were going to be dictated to by organized religion (and good Lord, why would we forget Thomas Jefferson and 200 years of American tradition to do that?), why not the Congregationalists? The Quakers? The Unitarians? Reformed Jews? They all embrace gay and lesbian people and are urging Californians to VOTE NO ON PROP 8.

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