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HOMOSEXUAL (SAME-SEX) MARRIAGES

"HAWAI'IS FUTURE TODAY" STATEMENT

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Hawai'is Future Today is a group composed mainly of Mormons and Roman Catholics. They raise 6 concerns about same-sex marriages:

  1. "Regardless of parental wishes, schools will be forced to teach our children that homosexual relationships are just as desirable as heterosexual ones." Their comment is probably valid. Homophobic parents will probably be unhappy when the reality of sexual orientation is taught to their children. This concern is vaguely similar to those expressed a few decades ago in Southern US states that schools will be forced to teach that African-Americans are just as good as Caucasians.
  2. "Laws regarding the adoption and fostering of children will be affected." While it is true that laws regarding adopting children and placing children in foster care would naturally be expected to change, it is not obvious that such change would have a negative influence on society. One can easily argue that a gay or lesbian youth could thrive better with homosexual foster parents.
  3. "If parents divorce and one partner remarries a homosexual, who would have custody of any children, the single mother or the newly married gay men?" We do not see this as a problem. We assume that the decision would be made, as always, based on the best interest of the child.
  4. "Our tourist industry will suffer as our usual visitors abandon Hawaii and its image as the 'gay wedding and honeymoon capital.'" The implication here is that the number of extreme homophobes in North America is greater than the total number of gays, lesbians and heterosexuals who value diversity and equality. This is a debatable assumption. Some estimate that gay and lesbian marriages could bring 2 billion dollars per year of tourist business to the Islands. We find it distasteful that moral questions should be debated from a financial perspective. Again, we can hear echoes from decades-old debates over the ending of racial segregation.
  5. "Promoting Hawaii as a haven for those practicing a high risk lifestyle will increase the burden on the social services and the health care system which we all pay for." The word "lifestyle" has been defined as "the consistent, integrated way of life of an individual as typified by his or her manner, attitude, possessions, etc." (Webster's New World Dictionary, 2nd College Edition). The term is improperly used here. It is normally used to refer to changeable, choosable factors in a person's life, not an unchangeable quantity like one's sexual orientation. It is true that gays, on a per-capita basis, have a higher rate of AIDS and of some other STD's than do heterosexuals. However, lesbians have much lower rates of such diseases.
  6. "Extending the economic benefits of marriage to everyone will lead to a reduction in the real value of those benefits to families and traditional married couples - the foundation of our society." This statement means that there will be more benefits available for heterosexuals to use if we deny those same benefits to homosexuals. Again, we find it offensive to use economics to debate a moral question. They are implying that gays and lesbians are sub-human individuals who are expected to pay the same in taxes as everyone else, but are not sufficiently worthy to get an equal share of society's benefits. One has to be very careful with this type of belief; The Nazi Holocaust has shown that genocides are proceeded by the reclassification of the victim group as sub-human. Using the HFT logic, one could deny marriage benefits to mixed-race spouses; that would make more benefits available for "traditional" same-race couples. One part of their statement is correct: "traditional" married couples (i.e. those with heterosexual spouses) are the foundation of society. And they will remain so. Even when same-sex marriages become generally available, they will probably never constitute more than 5% of the total.

Appended to the Hawai'is Future Today page is a statement of Rex E. Lee, dated 1996-FEB-16. He raises two additional points:

  1. "..fathers are abandoning their children...mothers are opting to parent without the support of a husband...it would be irresponsible to adopt a marital policy which sends the misleading message that a mother and a father are not both important to the welfare of children." Mr. Lee has a valid concern for the deleterious effects that a family breakup has upon children. But he attempts to connect this thought with the belief that a child needs parents of both sexes. Various studies of families with same-sex and opposite-sex parents were quoted at the 1996-SEP Circuit Court trial. They showed that the gender of the parents are unimportant to the quality of child rearing. Family breakdowns are certainly harmful to the children; but there is no connection between the failure of a marriage and the genders of the parents. One could argue the opposite to Mr. Rex: that if parents in committed homosexual relationships could marry, then the latter would tend to be more stable. This stability would lead to fewer marriage breakdowns and an improved climate for the upbringing of children.
  2. "...a same-sex marriage policy would prompt a constitutional crisis as other states seek to avoid having domestic policy crated in Honolulu imposed and enforced in Peoria." Mr. Lee is concerned that a decision to legalize marriages for persons of all sexual orientations in Hawaii would require the legislatures of other states to decide whether to recognize the validity of marriages there. This is analogous to the situation 30 years ago when some states in the US recognized mixed race marriages; this required the other states to decide whether to follow suite. We have the greatest confidence that the remaining 49 states could handle the work load this time as well. Again, we are offended by a debate on a moral issue being argued on the basis of legislative convenience.

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