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An essay donated by Patrick Nailon

In favor of marriage for all

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I have been reading about the belief of some in California that gay marriage poses a 'threat' to traditional marriage. That gays have 'no right' to marriage. And that 'traditional' marriage consists only of one man and one woman.

To this I have to say -- Please listen with an open mind to these words of support for marital rights for all Californians.

First -- the Constitution of the United State of America states clearly that "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free expression thereof ..." These are, in fact, the very first words of the Bill of Rights of the Constitution of the United States. They guarantee freedom of worship, and require that no church to be made the 'official' church of the United States. Therefore, any single church's condemnation of homosexuality based on it's interpretation of it's religious text, cannot be made into law which will impede the rights of other worshipers, nor can someone be kept from marrying if their church decides that no spiritual impediment exists to marrying.

Remember too, the Constitution of the United States of America states plainly that "... all [men] are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." (Italics are mine) Here is the original document creating the new United States, plainly invoking a CREATOR, though not naming any specific name, and stating that the rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are inalienable -- that is, cannot be separated OR REMOVED from any citizen of the United State of America.

Second -- the arguments against gay marriage are inconsistent and frequently contradictory. The federal government tried to pass a "Protection of Marriage" act, and currently California has on its ballot for November an amendment to the state constitution defining marriage as solely between a man and a woman. Why no claim of 'protection' of marriage? Simple, because this isn't protection -- it's discrimination. It's as discriminatory as if the constitutional amendment specifically forbids male-male or female-female marriage. Elimination of legality of non-traditional marriage is still a discriminatory act. And failing to provide any logical reason for the amendment casts serious concerns about the reason for the amendment. Why not an amendment that 'defines' voters in the state of California as only white males over 21 years of age? That is a definition amendment. Yet it is terribly discriminatory in that it eliminates everyone not falling into that narrow definition.

Further, as regards to reason -- what reason is there in forbidding two people in love who are already living together the legal protection and human dignity of marriage? Is it because of one person's inability to reconcile the idea of gay sex? What about gays who are in advanced years or for whatever other reason live together in love, harmony but do not have a sexual life? Are these still anathema? And most importantly -- of what importance is it to anyone else what any two married people do together? Many people find other straight couple's sex lives to be unpalatable -- yet no one has suggested any restriction upon marriage against couples participating in any non-traditional heterosexual acts. Nor has anyone suggested limits on the number of times any straight couples can be married, divorced and remarried.

It has been often suggested that gay marriage will 'ruin in institution of marriage' -- nonsense. No one, NO ONE, has ever heard a husband file for divorce from his wife because the fact that somewhere in the world two women are living happily married. It has never happened and never will. Nor has any young woman ever turned down the proposal of marriage from her beloved because two men once had a wedding. Again, never happened, never will. HOWEVER -- everyone knows someone who has no respect for the institution of marriage because of the multiple marriages and divorces that straight couples frequently experience. You want to 'protect' the institution of marriage? You need to limit straight marriage, not gay.

Third -- every American child has learned in school the Pledge of Allegiance. Allegiance to the flag and to the United States of America. The last line of this wonderful promise of good citizenship states clearly -- "... with Liberty, and Justice for All." To limit rights of marriage and the legal protection attached thereto is to make a mockery of this pledge. Every time any Americans say this pledge, should marriage rights be restricted from gays, we must change the words to "... with Liberty and Justice for most Americans, but not all." What a shame that would be, and what an insult to the heritage of the men and women who've given their lives in the manifold struggles for independence for our nation, for it's unity, and in battle to insure that these rights also meant female Americans, Americans of color, and Americans of non-Christian religions -- for each of these segments of the population has been discriminated against legally, and has won their rights to equal protection under the law. Will you salute the flag and say the words that you have voted to make meaningless? Can you do so without any regret, and can you visit the graves of your grandfathers on Veterans Day, to thank them for saving you while you personally voted to exclude the freedom they died for from your fellow Americans?

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Fourth -- it has been suggest by many that religious reasons forbid gay marriage and gay relationships. This is particularly knotty of a subject, because invariably the arguments mix and mix-up Old Testament scripture, and to any real Christian -- that is, a follower of the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth -- the Old Testament isn't always to be taken literally. For example, Deuteronomy 22:5 states, "The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman's garment: for all that do so are abomination unto the LORD thy God." But how many people have put a woman to death for wearing slacks or killed a Scotsman in a kilt? And though some Old Testament texts seem to condemn gay sex, they are usually condemning heterosexual sex without the benefit of marriage as well. And Jesus, though He never ruled on homosexuality, DID condemn those who divorce. How many divorcees think themselves holy, while condemning gays?

Most importantly are the simple teachings of Christ, all of which are about one thing -- one's own personal relationship with God through human tolerance, and NOT pointing fingers, damning others, or practicing public piety:

Matthew 5:43-44 "You have heard that it was said, 'You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I say to you, 'Love your enemies and pray for those that persecute you,"

Matthew 6:5-6 "And whenever you pray, do not be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the [churches] and at the street corners, so that they may be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward. But whenever you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who sees in secret and will reward you."

Matthew 7:3 "Why do you see the speck in your neighbor's eye, but do not notice the log in your own eye?"

And Finally -- many whom I know who are in support of, and who will help to keep legal marriage for all, are following this most wonderful quote of Jesus Christ:

Matthew 5:16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
We are working for the good of all. For the freedom of those long oppressed who have been denied equal treatment before the law, and to open the eyes of those who do not see their own brothers and sisters for the sins they imagine others to be committing. We do this to follow the words, teachings, and love of our guiding, all mighty Creator.

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Original posting: 2008-AUG-28
Latest update: 2008-AUG-29
Author: Patrick Nailon

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