Friday, January 21, 2005

Time Is Running Out for Opponents of Gay Marriage

There is not much new to say about the issue of “Gay Marriage.” The central matter of contention seems to be that proponents want the government to recognize same-sex unions as legal marriages. Opponents want the term “marriage” reserved solely for the union of a man and a woman.

Even this simple description conveys something of the deeply held personal, religious, and symbolic associations of the term “marriage” for many people. Being married myself, I know I have strong feelings about it. I find married life to be a source of happiness and strength. It is one of the good things in life, and why shouldn't everyone have the chance to experience it?

This is the main reason that I support Gay Marriage and hope that same sex unions in America become legal and recognized as marriage. To me, marriage falls under the “pursuit of happiness” right that we agree – in the Declaration of Independence, anyway – is the birthright of all people.

If a consenting adult willingly desires to be married to another consenting adult, then the government’s obligation is to protect the right of these people to be married. We can all understand the strong fears, feelings, and desires of those who covet a traditional definition of “marriage” and do not want it expanded. But trying to reserve the term for only one combination of consenting adults is childish, immoral, mean-spirited, and undemocratic. Using a moral guise, it attacks the very spirit and core principles of American governance.

More than this, even, the fight to restrict the definition of marriage is a profound waste of moral energy that might be directed toward helping the poor, the ill, and the lost. I cannot help but notice that the same folks who cry to have morality legislated in this case – through a constitutional amendment – are often the same folks who don’t want morality legislated when it comes to helping our country’s impoverished.

Inevitably, “marriage” will one day cover both heterosexual and homosexual unions. Only fear and prejudice stand in the way. But those in power in the government, courts and lobbying groups are aging and on the decline. Those of my generation, who are on the political ascent, will make the issue right and put it to rest.

Perhaps then our country will be better equipped to deal with the serious moral issues confronting us.

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