Thursday, October 30, 2008

Equality for All

We are being told that it does not matter how we feel about marriage, but that it is wrong to take away someone else's rights--equality for all is more important. Is this really what is happening if Prop. 8 passes?

What right is being taken away and what do we mean by equality?

That every citizen should be able to marry who they love?

That sounds fair, but is it just and is it right? Should there be absolutely no limits to marriage, so long as you love the other person?

It is NOT a fundamental right to marry who you love.
It IS a fundamental right to marry who you choose IF your choice conforms to the legal limits placed on marriage.

These limits on marriage protect children and are for the good of society. The limit to opposite-sex couples is only one of those limits. Consider, for example,

the age limit -- you have to be 18 to get married

the limit to 2 persons--you can only marry one other person

the prohibition of incestuous relationships--you cannot marry a close relative

WHY are these limits in place? Are they unfairly discriminatory?

If you really believe in equality for all NO MATTER WHAT your personal beliefs about marriage are, then why should we not remove ALL the limits on marriage? Think about it.

Limiting marriage has nothing to do with equality, but it has EVERYTHING to do with what is considered right, moral, and permissible in society. That is why we have legal limits on marriage. It matters very much what your beliefs on marriage are.

This is NOT about equality, it’s about what is right.

What do YOU think is right? Please vote according to your conscience and your moral beliefs regarding marriage. It’s the right thing to do.

Comments are now closed.


Saturday Surf said...

Well said.

kerfuffler said...

The problem with this argument is that there are many religious organizations that accept same-sex marriage. Why is the government telling these churches and temples whom they can and cannot marry?

Since "it matters very much what your beliefs on marriage are", why should one religion try to impose it's beliefs on other groups?

Personally, I think the government should only recognize civil unions for all couples. Any marriage should count automatically as a civil union, but people could opt for the purely secular civil union. The decision of whom to marry should be left to each religion.

Jennifer B. said...

You pose a good question. Why should the government impose any limits on marriage at all? The answer is that regulating marriage serves compelling state interests. The fundamental unit of society is the family--society benefits when families thrive--families thrive when healthy marriages produce healthy children.

I can see your point about the government only recognizing civil unions and marriages being left to religions--that is another good argument to vote "Yes" on 8.

You asked, "Why is the government telling these churches and temples whom they can and cannot marry?"

Why indeed?! Should the government be able to punish, fine, or label as discriminatory churches who teach and perform only heterosexual marriages??? This is where we are headed if Prop. 8 does not pass.

Since the government does have a say in limiting marriage, I agree that no one religion should have the only say. Instead, the voice of the people must decide what those limits are.

Yes on 8.

kerfuffler said...

It is strange to assume that the government would "punish or fine" religions for not performing same-sex marriages. Religions are allowed to discriminate! A Catholic priest would not perform a ceremony for you, a rabbi would not officiate at a Buddhist ceremony, and your religious leader would not marry me to anyone unless I converted to your faith.
You responded to my last comment via e-mail, but I don't see my comment here. I believe my tone was polite, my reasoning relevant and my desire to communicate sincere. Why an I not published?

kerfuffler said...

Just for the record, I am not gay, but I have known many gay couples with children, and they maintained loving households with happy, well adjusted kids. State interest well served.

Jennifer B. said...

Actually, it is not strange and it is already happening. Churches who rent out their facilities to the public can be fined or sued if they will not allow their facilities to be used in same-sex marriages.

Jennifer B. said...

Also, I am always glad to hear that children are happy and well-adjusted.

Clearly, you have your definition of marriage and your reasons to support it and I have mine.

I am fine with differences in opinion.

I just don't want people to be intimidated into voting against their morals because they are worried that they are forcing their views on another or that they are taking away a fundamental right. This is not the case.

Each voter should vote according to their personal feeling of what marriage is and what is right.

You vote your way, and I will vote mine.

Thanks for your comments.

kerfuffler said...

The reason the Constitution has the Bill of Rights is to protect any minority from the tyranny of the majority. True, the Constitution does not mention gay marriage specifically, but it does say that all people should be seen as equal in the eyes of the law. That is why this topic is likely to be settled by the courts rather than by referendums.
You can remain disapproving of gay marriage if you must, but that doesn't mean that the government should fail to recognize the legality of these unions. And if their religion says they are married in their faith, who has the right to say otherwise?

Jennifer B. said...

Yes. All people should be viewed as equal under the law. Homosexuals are subject to the same limits on marriage as heterosexuals are--in this way they are treated equally.

Why, though, should they be granted special privileges just because they do not wish to be intimate with the opposite sex? That seems unequal treatment.

To reiterate: it is NOT a fundamental right to marry who you love. It IS a fundamental right to marry who you choose, IF that choice conforms to legal limits.

The government is under no obligation to honor any religious unions. With the number of differing and even opposing religious viewpoints, I don't know how the government could choose which religious practices to honor.

kerfuffler said...

But you do favor civil unions don't you?
Frankly that is ALL the government should recognize for ALL couples.

The religious expression of marriage must be left up to religions to define and regulate.

I agree that churches and temples should remain free to rent their spaces out as they see fit. I am sure there is an easy fix to that problem.

Jennifer B. said...

You make good points.

As to the renting of church property--Massachusetts has yet to figure out a simple solution.

Do you have any suggestions for infertility specialists and adoption agencies who, based on religious and moral beliefs, prefer to limit their services to heterosexual married couples?

kerfuffler said...

People in the medical professions should choose specializations that suit their beliefs. A pharmacist should not refuse to fill prescriptions for the pill because he or she is Catholic. They should not become a pharmacist if that is going to be a problem for them. Fertility specialists are likely to be in demand by gay couples, so it seems a poor choice for someone with strict views on gay marriage. You may be disgusted by that answer, but really, if your grocery store hired a vegetarian 'butcher' who replaced all the meat with meat substitutes like Tofurky (uhhg, truly repellent stuff!) wouldn't you say they just shouldn't have that job?
And maybe more adoptions should be going through civil bureaucracies.

Jennifer B. said...

So, let me be clear, in your opinion, practitioners and vendors should have no right to refuse elective services/products based on their religious beliefs?

kerfuffler said...

Not what I said! I think people are foolish to enter fields where their scruples interfere materially with the performance of the job. In some cases they merely lose business for themselves. But what if in a small town there is only one pharmacist, and they don't feel right about dispensing birth control pills? Don't the people of that community have a right to a practitioner who can fill their LEGAL prescriptions?

Jennifer B. said...

Do you have an opinion on the matter? Whether or not it is "wise" to enter a certain field is not what is at stake if Prop. 8 fails. What is at stake is religious freedom.

Can people only enjoy freedom of religion if they live in large cities?

m_and_m said...

Thanks for this post.

It seems to me that equality is something that is often distorted to mean something it was never meant to mean. And the logic will break down at some point...and, with regard to marriage, could get pretty crazy pretty quick if enough people get together and decide that they, too, deserve their relationsihps to be called marriage.

kerfuffler said...

If freedom of religion is the highest priority, then one must endorse voting No on prop 8. Many sects and religions accept gay marriage. Having the government enforce an old, arbitrary definition is counter to the spirit of freedom of religion. Religions that don't endorse it are free to not endorse it although it does effect adoption services. Churches are allowed to prohibit services in their chapels that are counter to their beliefs. All you really have to do is leave people alone, and not force your rules upon others, even if a majority of people agree with you.

Archimel said...

Jennifer, I mostly agree with what you've got to say on this issue. I wrote up my own point of view on my blog:

Jennifer B. said...

kerfluffer -- you said, "All you really have to do is leave people alone, and not force your rules upon others, even if a majority of people agree with you."

I can see why you would think that, but it's not possible. I myself would like to be left alone and not have the rules of homosexual marriage being forced upon me. However, somebody's rules are going to be written into law, so the question is not WHETHER the rules should be written, but WHICH rules should be chosen.

Everyone needs to take a stand.

Archimel -- I'll check it out.

SageGreen said...

Jennifer, thanks for you comment on my blog. I know my friend didn't change her mind, but she did read your arguments as did her friend who said she hadn't considered some of the implications.

This is a tough topic. I hope that Prop. 8 passes, but if not, I hope it will not infringe on our religious and parental rights (even though Mass. and Canada have shown otherwise).

wynne said...

I got online first thing this morning to see if it passed--so far, looks favorable for a "Yes."

wynne said...

Comment moderation, huh? Looks like you've attracted some attention, hey?