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May 24, 2012

Gay Marriage: A Social or Political Issue?

Patricia A. Kelly

How unfortunate that the issue of gay marriage has come to the forefront of the presidential campaign. The media continues on its too frequent path, distorting this story as it has so many others.


AOL, in its “news piece” on this, referred to President Barack Obama’s decision to support – on a personal level – gay marriage, as a “brave” political move. So much for objectivity in reporting.


Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney states that he believes that marriage should remain between a man and a woman, although he supports partners’ rights.


Both candidates say they believe the decision should be made by the states.


The best way to deal with this is not to have the states decide. We are too united as a country to have people, married in one state, find their marriage unrecognized in another. This is a decision for American society as a whole, not for the media, not for Hollywood royalty, not for gay rights groups, fundamentalist religious groups, or maybe most of all not for political parties, but for us all.


If gay marriage is accepted in our country, we must consider the right of different religions to practice its beliefs, even if that includes not marrying people of the same gender. We should consider adopting the French system of civil contracts, not for gay people, but for all. We go to county courthouses now to get a license. Why not return after the waiting period and pick up a civil contract? Then each couple could go to the church of their choice and marry in a religious ceremony. Religious freedom would be protected.


At present, about 50% of the American people are opposed to gay marriage. Many believe that marriage between a man and a woman is the only way, and sacred in the eyes of God.


Views on homosexuality range from it being a normal variant to it being of the Devil, and an abomination. There are those who accept the condition but state that celibacy is necessary for homosexuals to obey the will of God.


Although there may be people who choose to dabble in homosexuality or bisexuality, my contacts with homosexual friends, relatives and patients only add to my conviction that there is no choice for them. Every “coming out” I’ve seen has been agonizing, and many older people have remained in hiding for their whole lives. Almost like passing for white….


The question is not a political one. It is a social one, in the sense that, just like desegregation, it reflects societal evolution. My grandmother told me that God made black people inferior to white people. I briefly dated a black man during the seventies in the South.  We both agreed that we didn’t want him lynched or a cross burned on my lawn. We learned a lot from each other and moved on, with abiding affection.


I recently sat at a party with a little girl with two mommies. I was teasing her about wanting to give her baby sister “back” so she wouldn’t have to share her mommy. She said: “I would give a mommy back and get a daddy.”


Neither this issue nor the issue of abortion should be politicized. Decisions about such things should be extrapolated from the founding and operating principles of our country. Sometimes it is complicated to turn a principle into a law, but it’s the only way.


Our Constitution speaks of securing the blessings of liberty.  The Declaration of Independence declares that all men are created equal.


Are fetuses babies? Are people of color truly people? Does freedom of religion mean it is okay to be a Muslim? Do gay people have the right to have a life partner?


Social issues should not be on the line in the upcoming election. The nature of our government and the proper role of our government are the polarizing issues of the day.


Does the government need to control everything from income to healthcare for citizens to have the best chance at life and liberty? Do we need government payments to the private industries of their choice (think green energy), to stimulate the economy, or do we need to limit taxes and regulations on small business to stimulate the economy?


Here in Frederick County, incredible vituperation has been heaped on our county commissioners over the issue of removing county funding from private charities. This occurred after these very commissioners were elected to get our budget balanced and in spite of the fact that this action actually ended the unfair practice of funding only some charities, rather than having all receive their fair share.


The press again contributes to this lack of understanding. We need to think for ourselves, and not let misplaced and pretended sympathy by elected officials determine the election outcome.


Societal evolution is a difficult thing, and inevitable. Politicizing it won’t help.


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