Tuesday, July 13, 2004 - Apache Junction, Arizona, USA
President Bush, in his radio address last Saturday, said that legalizing gay marriage would redefine the most fundamental institution of civilization. His exact words were, “If courts create their own arbitrary definition of marriage as a mere legal contract, and cut marriage off from its cultural, religious and natural roots, then the meaning of marriage is lost and the institution is weakened.”
I’ve listened to the debates on the Federal Marriage Amendment on CSPAN-2 for the past two days. Led by Mormon Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT), almost every Repubo who spoke supported the FMA because they didn’t want “activist judges” to redefine marriage, thus ditto-heading what the president said in his address.
Let’s take an in-depth look at the definitions involved. First, the definition of marriage as the FMA would put it:
“Marriage in the United States shall consist only of the union of a man and a woman.”
The redefinition people are talking about would read thus:
“Marriage in the United States shall consist only of the union between two people committed to each other through love.”
Big deal, huh? If you think this is all that the hubbub is about, you’re naïve. If you think these people only want to “protect traditional marriage,” you’re equally naïve. The phrase they don’t talk much about in the FMA is the real crux of the argument.
“Neither this Constitution, nor the constitution of any state, shall be construed to require that marriage or the legal incidence thereof be conferred upon any union other than the union of a man and a woman.”
Consider “the legal incidence thereof” for a minute. The legal incidence of heterosexual marriage are the 1,049 federal benefits of marriage and the multitude of state benefits that are consigned to marriage. While the senators supporting the FMA fall all over each other telling how they have nothing against gays and lesbians, nor do they want to interfere with their lifestyle, almost EVERY state marriage constitutional change due to be voted on in November will eliminate the availability of civil unions and domestic partnerships to gay couples. Virginia goes even further by stating that gays cannot enter into any kind of legal contract that resembles marriage. Other states are specific in stating that the benefits of marriage may not be given to couples entering into civil unions or domestic partnerships.
Who’s kidding whom here?
Black ministers are against gay organizations comparing our fight to the discrimination blacks went through during their struggle against segregation. They say gay marriage has nothing to do with the institution of slavery from which blacks were freed. No gay organization that I know of ever said that. They do say that our fight is similar to the fight to make interracial marriage lawful. But even that gets twisted by the radical right calling it the gay agenda to destroy traditional marriage.
Gays don’t care what states call it – marriage, civil unions, or domestic partnerships, as long as the benefits their unions incur equal those of heterosexual marriage. Fortunately, most freedom minded Americans realize that, which is why the FMA will fail.
©2004 Marcia Ellen "Happy" Beevre
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