It's amazing to remember that just a mere 2-3 decades ago, homosexual/lesbian behaviors were in the closet as they had been for a long time. Now such relationships are trumpeted by the press and politicians alike as normal, mainstream even healthy albeit "alternative" relationships.
Governments, schools, social organizations, even politicians and business interests would be wise to champion only the cause of traditional male-female marriage relationships as it is the only kind of intimate human relationship that can produce a tangible product we call a child, to keep civilization moving, pay the taxes, work, produce, recreate, earn and all the like. Natural law -- not governments, not politicians, not even churches -- is what defines marriage, whether you choose to believe in the Biblical account in Genesis or not.
Despite Rep. Maureen Walsh's and the "yes on R-74" lobby rhetoric about "loving relationships," marriage has always been about much more than just "loving relationships." Governments and societies from the beginning of time have granted institutional status, tax and other benefits only to traditional male-female marriages because only this relationship can freely perpetuate the human family. Given that flawed logic, if "loving relationships" is all marriage is about, soon we will have folks wanting to marry their own children, parents, animals or even more bizarre, non living objects, all under the mantra of "loving relationships." It's even more illogical to look at the myriad of government programs out there funded by our precious tax dollars to make up for the absence of a father or mother, and now the state wants to establish and even officially endorse and encourage a system to raise children where there is not both a father and a mother.
We don't have enough recent history to know how well this "complete redefinition" of marriage will work. The gay lifestyle of the Romans and Greeks in AD 200-450 was a factor in the downfall and collapse of those great educated and advanced civilizations. The entire cites of Sodom and Gomorrah didn't fare so well either.
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A tried and true method of evaluating the long-term consequences of moral and social behavior far from historical and established norms is this: What would the net result be like if everyone did it? In the case of same-sex marriage, the result is beyond our ability to fully comprehend.
As learned in California in the aftermath of Prop 8, the same-sex marriage crowd talks a lot about acceptance, tolerance and peaceful co-existence, until they don't get their way. My "no on R-74" yard sign disappeared early on, as did others. There are already reports from western Washington of verbal and racial attacks to those campaigning for "No on R-74." Regardless of religious, political, social or other leanings, citizens of the USA have a constitutional right of expression to believe, say and teach that the practice of gay/lesbian marriage is wrong, totally unsupported in 4,000 years of Biblical history, unsustainable over the long-term existence of the human family, and invites a host of other negative issues on civilization as we know it. Even the animal kingdom knows better; it's too bad that the human species can't figure it out. Traditional marriage = biology, not bigotry.
The only right choice
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:
w 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.
w 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.
w An intent to have children is not a requirement to be married nor does the lack of children make a marriage any less legal.
w Same-sex marriage does not restrict, alter or in any other way affect opposite-sex marriage.
w Separate but equal is not equality. Civil unions or domestic partnerships are not the same as marriage.
w 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.
-- TED MILLER, Richland
The state's interest in marriage
Everyone who votes on R-74 this year needs to know this: No new rights or privileges are granted by this law. The current Revised Code of Washington states explicitly in multiple places that, "For the purposes of this code, with the exception of chapter 26.04 RCW, the terms spouse, marriage, marital, husband, wife, widow, widower, next of kin, and family shall be interpreted as applying equally to state registered domestic partnerships or individuals in state registered domestic partnerships as well as to marital relationships and married persons, and references to dissolution of marriage shall apply equally to state registered domestic partnerships that have been terminated, dissolved, or invalidated, to the extent that such interpretation does not conflict with federal law. Where necessary to implement chapter 521, Laws of 2009, gender-specific terms such as husband and wife used in any statute, rule, or other law shall be construed to be gender neutral, and applicable to individuals in state registered domestic partnerships." (RCW 1.16.100 and 1.12.080). The only exception made? Actual rules for getting marriage licenses. Check it out yourself at http://apps.leg.wa.gov/rcw/
Ask yourself: Why does the state, the law, care about marriage at all? Because marriage generally tracks biology. Marriage is the most effective way to link children to their biological parents and link those parents to each other (so the child has access to both). Because kids need both a mom and a dad.
True, some bio parents endanger their kids, and some kids are missing parents. Adoption and other legal structures exist to take care of these exceptions -- but they are exceptions. Redefining marriage would further institutionalize the permanent exclusion of at least one bio parent (probably dad) from a child's life. And this would be done not to meet the needs of the child, but the desires of the adults. Already in state domestic partnerships, the female partner is considered the "other parent" of any babies her partner bears, even though 100 percent of the time she isn't. Should we spread this injustice to children further? Do we really want to remove gender and biological reality from marriage?
-- AMANDA ALVINE, Richland
Respect each other
There is one reason that I am against gay or lesbian "marriage," and that is children. Children need to learn by example and teaching that a child is raised and taught and supported (emotionally, physically and spiritually) by a mother and a father. As many people seem to be unaware, there is a big difference between being a sperm donor and a dad and between an egg donor and a mom. Unfortunately there are many situations where children are required to be raised by a single parent. That should not be the case for convenience or disregard for the other sex.
I respect the rights of gays or lesbians to live their lifestyle as they choose, including civil unions. Please respect my right to believe and say that it is normal and natural for a "family" to consist of a dad, a mom and children (pets optional). Bless the family in which the children are raised and taught and loved by both a mom and a dad. I believe that this is the way God planned and made the world. Cursed be the people or our state if they teach children that the other sex is not important and that moms (or dads) are not needed.
Thank God I still live in a country where I can express my opinion while still respecting others.
-- Philip McGuinness, Kennewick
There is no such thing as gay marriage. It's an oxymoron at best with no real, or clear function, whether real or imagined. The Bible says, "all scripture is God-breathed." The word "all" means just that. If you have a problem with some scripture, you'll have a problem with the rest of it. If you don't believe in some scripture, then you don't believe in any of it. Isaiah said, "Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness."
The gay lifestyle is unnatural and gay marriage is an affront to all married people everywhere. It demeans, undermines, degrades and makes a mockery of the one and only true marriage and is a slap in the face to the union of one man and one women. It is the mother and father that has sustained us and populated the Earth and it is our sons and daughters who will grow up and continue on.
The gay lifestyle is described the Old Testament as being detestable. It is also found in the New testament in 2 Peter, Romans, 1 Corinthians, and also in St. Jude. These verses I might add, are not suggestions. However, we are commanded to love the sinner but hate the sin.
There is a creator God infinitely more powerful and more wise then all the power and wisdom that has ever been on Earth or will ever hope to be and there is a certain way that he has structured his universal creation. When that structure is interrupted it upsets the delicate balance that God alone has put in place.
-- Benjamin C. Cook, Kennewick