Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Reflections on the Status of Marriage

by CH -

The New Jersey Legislature is contemplating a vote on same sex marriage during the lame duck session. Governor Corzine promises to sign this legislation before leaving office.

I am against changing the definition of Marriage. Marriage is the committed relationship between a man and a woman. It is a unique institution and its meaning to society should be upheld and valued. One of the primary purposes of marriage is to procreate and raise the next generation. Mothers and fathers each bring a unique set of attitudes, skills and emotions to the table to help raise their children.

Children need both of these unique sets of tools to become healthy adults. The traditional Marriage relationship has proven to be the best environment possible to create and nurture children.

In addition, I fear that if same sex marriage is folded in to traditional marriage then any religious organization founded on the basis of traditional religious values will be pressured to change or risk losing their tax status, etc. I recently read that a Catholic Church was being challenged in Canada for refusing to rent out their church reception hall to a lesbian couple. A private religious entity should not be forced to do anything that is against the biblical values they are based on.

The slippery slope concept is worrisome. If same sex unions are defined as marriage then why not include multiple partner marriage or marriage with a minor? How far could we eventually go? Once marriage is opened up to a different meaning then people should be able to define it any way they see fit to adapt to their personal lifestyle.

The current recognition by New Jersey of civil unions for committed same sex couples is justified. It could be used to fight for health benefits, pension benefits, etc. But we don’t have to change the meaning of marriage to accomplish these goals. Same sex civil unions can be used as the vehicle to grant couples the benefits and protections that they deserve. We don’t need to retrofit marriage to make it all encompassing. We need to continue to recognize marriage as the loving union between a husband and wife and the best environment to raise children.

I realize my views will be depicted as hate speech and bigotry and that’s too bad. My views are not against same sex couples, what they do in their private lives is their own business. But I must stand up for the special status of traditional marriage. Most Americans agree. Whenever same sex marriage is put to a vote of the electorate, it loses. Voters recognize the unique status of marriage and want to keep it as such. Pushing a vote in a lame duck session in New Jersey not only ignores the recent election results, but takes the vote away from the people.

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