|MARRIAGE: SOCIAL CUSTOM OR
|by M.H., Akron, Ohio |
I am writing in response to the Federal Marriage Amendment
legislation floating around Congress. These proposals
seem designed by frightened legislators to keep gay couples
from engaging in the social custom of a wedding ceremony.
Well, I am all for the defense of marriage — especially for
heterosexual couples who have chosen to bear children but
aren't always too keen about putting in the parental effort it
takes to raise them. If you ask me, the sanctity of
marriage is threatened much more by heterosexual couples who
marry and then exhibit no better than a 50/50 chance of
staying that way.
Where is the threat to American society if two loving gay
people wish to solidify their relationship in a legal marriage
ceremony? Marriage is one of our many social customs —
customs that change over time. As is often the case,
social practice precedes social custom. And social
custom precedes recognition by the law. Just because
the law has not yet caught up with a social practice doesn't
mean that it should be prevented from ever doing so.
Just as interpretations of the Constitution change over
time, cannot also social customs change and evolve? If
that were not the case, many in Congress would still own
slaves while others would still be without the right to vote.
No one is asking that legal gay unions be recognized by
anyone's religion, just that they be recognized by the State.
I urge Congress to quit trying to hide its prejudices
behind the flag, the Bible, and the Constitution.
|BUSH: "I believe that a traditional marriage
— marriage between a man and a woman — is an important part of
stable families." |
|KERRY: "The flag of the United Sates Senate
should only be used for the common good, not issues designed
to divide us for political purposes." |
|"This is outrageous! I can't believe that the
writing of bigotry into our Constitution is even up for
San Mateo, California
|"(This) doesn't meet the threshold for constitutional
importance. Constitutional principal of inclusion has
expanded since inception, and this seems to not be in that
|"Government should stay out of the marriage issue.
If two people love one another, and want to get married,
government should stay out of it." Mari |
|"Marriage is already defined and does not need this issue
which will only be a disadvantage to all people." |
Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio
|"I believe that marriage is the only issue that crosses
the lines of church and state. Marriage is a church
function. Civil unions, partnerships, should be treated
as a legal issue. If a couple wants to have their union
'blessed,' then they can do that at a church of their choice
and call themselves married. Couples that choose civil
unions can call themselves partnered. All civil unions
would have the same legal status, and this should apply to all
couples regardless of gender." B. L. |
|Should we officially define marriage with this
Proponents say this approach is ultimately fair.
States can choose to recognize gay marriage if they want; they just
can't make other states do it.
Opponents say it's the epitome of unfair. It's an
unethical and illegal way to discriminate against homosexuals.
|RESULTS OF VOTING |
||31.0 % |
||0 % |
||0 % |
||6.9 % |
||62.1 % ||
|H.J. 56: THE FEDERAL
The Constitutional Amendment proposed earlier this year, to
define marriage at a federal level, was quite simple in its
"Marriage in the United States shall consist only of the union of
a man and a woman. Neither this Constitution or the
constitution of any State, nor state or federal law, shall be
construed to require that marital status or the legal incidents
thereof be conferred upon unmarried couples or groups."
In other words, as a nation, we will not recognize marriages
between two men or two women. Furthermore, the federal
government cannot require any state to acknowledge gay marriage.
In the words of one of the bill's sponsors, Congresswoman
Marilyn N. Musgrave (R-CO), it "prevents states from exporting gay
marriage." It also circumvents the rulings of federal
justices who are questioning parts of the Defense of Marriage Act
passed in 2002.
To become part of the Constitution, an Amendment must be ratified
by the legislatures of three-fourths of the States. This has
to happen within seven years of May 21, 2003, the date this
amendment was introduced.
About a dozen states will have referendums on this issue on the
ballot this November. Only one thing is certain: This
is an issue that won't go away any time soon.
What do you say? Go to the Voter's box and cast your
ballot. Or submit your comments by clicking here.