Against the marriage amendment.

Author:Marr, Bruce
Position:Correspondence - Letter to the Editor

Your editorial statement "The Marriage Amendment" (October 2003) rests on two premises: 1) the definition of marriage as a union between a man and a woman, and 2) the belief that the federal government should sanction this definition and have the power to confer benefits based upon it.

In regard to the first premise, the word "union" needs to be unpacked. As a working definition I will assume you mean a committed relationship based upon a profound love, wherein the mutually beneficial actions in which two people engage, be they emotional, sexual, or financial, are recognized to be exclusive to themselves. I thus identify a certain level of love as the defining characteristic, not its manifestations (although the manifestations which do exist would have to be in accord with that love). Sex and procreation cannot be the defining characteristics of marriage. If you say they are, you not only exclude gay people, but all couples who do not want or cannot have children.

You repeatedly imply that the basis for same-sex union is an interest in sex. After noting that "there are a few gays who express admiration for traditional marriage and say they simply want to be included in its benefits" you reply that:

They are not excluded by others; they are excluded by their identity as gays. To be homosexual is a condition; to be gay is a decision. Some say no other decision is available to them, but that is not true. Sexual temptations, like other temptations, can be resisted. Of course, sexual attraction is a major factor at the beginning of any romantic union, but, as I'm sure you'll agree, as a relationship progresses it becomes transformed into an expression of love. Lust apart from love disappears. I can assure you, based on my own experience and the observation of close...

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