[Robert] Screen’s letter, “History shows one woman, one man should be model for marriage,” in the June 7 edition brings up several interesting points regarding gay marriage in the state.
First of all, the argument that same-sex marriage is not biblically sanctioned is irrelevant; might I remind Screen that the First Amendment specifically prohibits the “establishment of any religion, or prohibiting the exercise thereof.” From the more than two centuries of the United States’ existence, we have indeed learned what works best — that a wall between church and state is the best protection for everyone’s right to worship, speak and believe freely. Our nation is not a Christian country; it was not founded as such and it should not become such. Instead, it is a country in which Christians of all colors and creeds, as well as all others, are free to practice their own beliefs.
Consistently, in the past 200 years of our country’s history, we have found that human rights, dignity and, indeed, everyone’s right to practice their own religion are best served when biblical arguments are not given weight in civil matters. The religion of our founding fathers condones slavery and such an argument was once used to defend that institution in our country.
Giving same-sex couples the right to marry does not infringe on Screen’s rights. Those who do not believe in same-sex marriage are not required to take part in one or to perform one.
Screen argues that marriage was created to serve family needs, and on this point I agree with him. Same-sex marriage will not break up families with parents of opposite genders or force children to become gay; it will give families where two parents are of the same gender more protection and security under the law. It will give all couples who love one another the civil and societal support that will maximize the amount of support and care they are able to give to their own families. Homosexual couples who choose not to have children are just as justified in seeking legal recognition of their commitment to each other as heterosexual couples who also choose not to have children.
Screen has a right to his own views; he has a right to view marriage or love between two men or two women as an abomination and, above all, the right to stick to his own beliefs and not marry a man. What he does not have a right to do, however, is to use the law to force on others his own interpretation of God’s word.
Sarah Elizabeth Straney, Laurel