More than just 'love'
Just what is the basic definition of "marriage" anyhow? Every dictionary I've consulted simply says that it's a union of a man and a woman -- period. That's what it's meant for a very long time and that's what it still means for most people today. Where does any legislative body get the authority to take a commonly used word and give it the opposite meaning?
That dictionary definition does not include the concept of "love," rather it encompasses arranged marriages, marriages of convenience and love unions. While arranged marriages generally occur in other countries, some of those folks do move to the U.S. Marriages of convenience are rarely discussed and likely were more common years ago when people lived in more isolated communities, but many still occur today (read Dear Abby lately?). Many couples remain married after "love" has flown the coop "for the sake of the kids" or for financial reasons or because of social pressures. What will the word "marriage" really mean if R-74 passes?
While R-74 does allow religious institutions and clergy to refuse to perform same sex "marriages" if they wish, no such protection is given to anyone else -- including event centers, photographers, etc.,. should they have the same objections. What are going to be the other consequences of this proposed redefinition of marriage -- both legal and social? Seems like there are an awful lot of unanswered questions. The consequences of passing R-74 are no where near as simple as the Herald and other supporters would like people to believe.
-- MARILYN YOUNG, Pasco
Through the "everything-but-marriage" law same-sex couples have all the rights and benefits of married couples. Changing the definition of marriage will have profound negative consequences that I believe most people haven't considered, even those advocating for this change. The following examples are issues that have already occurred in states that have redefined marriage.
Religious groups who have refused to make their facilities available for same sex couples have lost their state tax exemption. Charitable groups, who provide adoption services, will have to choose between fulfilling their social mission based on their religious beliefs or be forced to close their charitable adoption agencies. Non-profit groups are faced with abandoning their historic mission principles in order to maintain governmental contracts for things like low-income housing, health clinics etc.
In Massachusetts, students are taught about gay marriage in school and the courts have ruled that parents have no right to prior notice or to opt their children out of this instruction.
Redefining marriage is one more step in destroying the "family" -- mother, father and children. Our country has been great because of our belief in God and family. We must re-embrace the true definition of marriage.
-- RITA MAGNAGHI, Kennewick
It only makes sense
I am shocked to hear so many people in favor of the redefining marriage act. So here we are in favor of fiction. Here is humanity's new plan of action, okay. Forget the way God designed us. Let's all become a single sex and propagate asexually. That way our race can survive what is to come.
I then hear the solution to this is that we should let artificial insemination or adoptions take place. Sounds to me like us women are now allowing two men to take advantage of us for the purpose of having children. The same goes for men where two women are concerned.
Let's get real, people. Face reality. Men and women together, and only in marriage, have sex to have children as well as intimacy. It is only in marriage between a man and woman that a child can grow up securely knowing and respecting both genders equally.
It isn't discriminating to say no to same sex marriage. It is logical.
-- JENNIFER DARNER, Kennewick
A civil rights issue
Same-sex marriage is fundamentally a civil rights issue. Denying a group of American citizens their rights based on exclusionary factors including gender and race has repeatedly been struck down as unconstitutional. Same-sex marriage is no different. Opponents of R-74 say it violates their freedom of religion; however this law preserves the right of churches to refuse to perform or recognize these marriages. The violation is to the millions of American citizens that want the most fundamental right of all other Americans but are denied this right based on gender. Most people view the day of their marriage as one of the happiest of their lives. When the U.S. Constitution guarantees "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness," how can this fundamental right be denied to a millions of Americans? Vote "Yes" on Referendum 74.
-- TOM and DEBRA JOHNSON, Richland
We believe that marriage is only between one man and one woman -- a holy institution ordained by God. We're concerned that many who believe as we do may not be speaking out.
We agree with the following statement on marriage in the "Manhattan Declaration: A Call of Christian Conscience" at www.manhattandeclaration.org:
"No one has a civil right to have a non-marital relationship treated as a marriage. Marriage is an objective reality -- a covenantal union of husband and wife -- that it is the duty of the law to recognize and support for the sake of justice and the common good. If it fails to do so, genuine social harms follow. First, the religious liberty of those for whom this is a matter of conscience is jeopardized. Second, the rights of parents are abused as family life and sex education programs in schools are used to teach children that an enlightened understanding recognizes as 'marriages' sexual partnerships that many parents believe are intrinsically non-marital and immoral. Third, the common good of civil society is damaged when the law itself, in its critical pedagogical function, becomes a tool for eroding a sound understanding of marriage on which the flourishing of the marriage culture in any society vitally depends. Sadly, we are today far from having a thriving marriage culture. But if we are to begin the critically important process of reforming our laws and mores to rebuild such a culture, the last thing we can afford to do is to re-define marriage in such a way as to embody in our laws a false proclamation about what marriage is."
We will be voting NO on Referendum 74.
-- GENE and LAURA WILSON, Richland
Attack on family
Our Democrat legislature passed Senate Bill 6239 to (1) allow same-sex couples to "marry," (2) to change earlier legislation (EXCEPT for seniors) to eliminate domestic relationships that supported homosexual co-habitation, and (3) to preserve the right of clergy and churches to refuse to perform, recognize or accommodate any marriage ceremony. Senate Bill 6239 is just the camel's nose under the tent flap, a preamble to future expansion of the ongoing attacks on our culture, which would normalize homosexual marriage, de-normalize heterosexual marriage, and ultimately to require clergy and churches to perform homosexual marriages under the pretext of "equal rights as defined by Legislature or Courts."
Referendum 74 allows us to reject this aggressive attack on heterosexual marriage and family responsibility. Homosexual "marriage" violates the natural parent-child bond in every family, and the right of families for protection by society and by Washington state government. It would essentially reduce families from being a natural God-given unit to merely a collection of adults having some shared financial advantages -- a corporation or barracks --by another name. Children in that arrangement would essentially become pawns, wards of the state, since they just become some incompetent individuals who happen to live at some address, and who should be indoctrinated in government schools to view perversity as acceptable and desirable behavior.
The long march by the secular humanists and radical feminists resulted in the emergence of this homosexual attack, a skirmish in the ongoing war to replace our natural rights endowed by our Creator with authorizations originating in a recent Legislature or Court. Referendum 74 allows us to defeat this attack by the Legislature on we citizens by voting to reject SB 6239.
-- CHUCK FOLEY, Richland
Truth never changes
So many people seem to be in favor of same-sex marriage. They feel this is right for their future and happiness, and because this is right for them, truth depends on their judgment, just as some people like oranges and some apples. But marriage is more than liking apples or oranges or bananas. Marriage is based on natural, moral truth and conscience. Truth and conscience are based on objective verity. Two and two are four, no matter what the coloring of the conscience. This is the first scholastic principle: That a thing is what it is, not what it is not. Two oranges and two oranges are still four oranges. They may be good oranges or bad oranges but they are still oranges. A thing is what it is.
The moral law seeks not only truth but also good. The good of children, the good of man and wife, the good of true love, the good of home and security. When some of these purposes are missing, objectively true love and sharing can't be fully present. Legalizing same-sex marriage and proposing that because it is legalized it is therefore right contradicts Christian as well as Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu and nearly all other beliefs. Two and two remain four.
Truth is truth, morals are morals, nature is nature, faith is faith, and I am yours, in prayer and affection.
-- D.P. DILLON, Kennewick
All about money
There is no difference between a marriage and a civil union that doesn't involve money. To say that love can be defined, or that a relationship has more merit, because of a piece of paper is testament of how a system based on coercion, incentives, and tax breaks, diminishes humanity. No give-aways, no issue.
-- JEREMY OWEN, Kennewick
The American way
So why is it that the government, church or anyone else should have the ability to tell grown adults who they can or cannot marry? Since when is it a negative thing for two people in love to be joined in matrimony? People do not choose to be homosexual so why do so many Americans choose to be ignorant and deny them the rights to marry. Come on, Americans, remember how much we appreciate freedom. Stand up and approve Ref. 74 and stop denying homosexuals the right to live happily ever after in matrimony.
-- BONNIE JO BURKOS, Richland
Here's the trade: Homosexuals return the word "gay" to its original meaning, "merry," and they can use the word "marriage" to describe their unions. Question: Does "gay" as in "gay, lesbian, and transgender events" only apply to males? OK, I'm being flippant to make a point. Why so much energy over a word? And why now when we have so many important challenges like the economy and education? If proponents are correct that nothing changes except gay "unions" become "marriages," what's stopping them from having a big ceremony (religious, if their religion allows), spending $1,000s, inviting dozens of family and friends, and publicly announcing their love? On the flip side, with so many "straights" choosing to live together without marriage (certificate or ceremony) why should straights care if gays want these things?
Bottom line: I'm really on the fence. Is this issue only about a word or are there some unintended consequences?
-- CHRIS WOLLAMN, Richland