Sunday, June 10, 2012

Who Wants Control of Personal Relationships?

A recent letter to the editor in our regional daily newspaper made it quite clear that anyone holding an opinion on the subject of Marriage different than that of the author was clearly a bigoted and hate-filled individual and should not be allowed any input into the public discussion now underway in Minnesota about the upcoming vote on a constitutional amendment stating that Marriage is the union of one man and one woman. Since even raising a question about the issue will fail the letter writer’s criteria I will grit my teeth and raise a few points despite his disapproval.

 Every day my email inbox features numerous emails from fellow members of my political party (DFL) making arguments against the amendment including:
       -          Is a conservative plot

-          Its a Republican idea

-          Its an attempt to prevent homosexual individuals from having a loving relationship

-          It’s a religious issue that has no place in politics

-          Its not fair that homosexual individuals be denied the benefits of marriage

The middle point in the above list seems the strangest. It claims that the historic definition of marriage, restated in the amendment, will prevent all other persons from entering or having loving relationships. Since, in history, the current definition of marriage was universally held yet other loving relationships existed, even thrived, why would it suppress them now?

 I am old enough to remember that it was not too long ago (as late as the 1990s) that portions of the various States marriage regulation laws were used to harass homosexual couples. At that time this gave rise to the “get the government out of my bedroom” complaint. What is strange here is a campaign of opposite intent, to get the government deeper into the private relationship control bussiness . The thrust of the marriage equality movement seems to be that government should extend its regulatory muscle to other relationships, particularly to same sex relationships by allowing the courts or the legislature to define marriage as any personal relationship.

Among my friends are same sex couples who have freely chosen to make long term commitments to each other, purchased homes together, given each other healthcare and/or financial power of attorney without seeking government license to do so (such license is requirement of heterosexual couples under current State marriage regulation). Likewise those that have decided to end their relationship have been able to do so without government approval (getting government approval of a divorce is required of heterosexual couples, however). The benefits referred to in the fifth item on the list must be so attractive that government control of your personal relationship is a price you are willing to pay.

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