-- TED MILLER, Richland
Public policy that guarantees all citizens are treated equally under the law is an idea enshrined in the Declaration of Independence and ensured by the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. I believe discrimination based on race, gender, ethnicity, culture, age, disability, religion, sexual orientation or any immutable characteristic is unconstitutional. And that means that I believe the gender of two individuals who wish to enter into a legal marriage should not be a factor in whether the state grants them a marriage license. Here's how I have come to this belief:
-- Over the years, I have become convinced that sexual orientation is not a choice. Sexual orientation is as much a part of the core being of an individual as the color of their eyes or whether they are right or left handed.
w Marriage in the eyes of the state is a legal covenant between two adults that provides certain legal rights and protections to the married individuals.
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-- Although many marriages have a religious component to them, the state has no interest in that religious aspect nor does it require any religious affiliation to license and record a legal marriage.
w Because the state makes no law with respect to religious marriage practices, same-sex marriage does not infringe on religious liberty.
-- An intent to have children is not a requirement to be married nor does the lack of children make a marriage any less legal.
-- Same-sex marriage does not restrict, alter or in any other way affect opposite-sex marriage.
-- Separate but equal is not equality. Civil unions or domestic partnerships are not the same as marriage.
-- Denying marriage to same-sex couples is denying them a state recognized right based solely on an immutable characteristic.
I believe in marriage equality. Two people who love each other and want to dedicate the rest of their lives to each other have the right to marry. I personally know many same-sex couples who have been in long-term, loving relationships. They should have the same right to marry as my heterosexual married friends. Voting for Referendum 74 is the only moral and ethical choice.