Gay Marriage Round Up

Wow, lots to catch up on …

Monday, May 5, 2008 is the Rally in Harrisburg.  Rally?  The Rally Against the “Protection of Marriage” Amendment.  Ledcat and I had hoped to attend, but fate (and work) conspired against us. Are you planning to attend?  I'm hoping for an eyewitness account.

Last week, there was a “highly charged” hearing in Harrisburg.  The PG has the coverage

Scott Hollander, executive director of KidsVoice, said his board members are divided on the gay marriage issue but unanimous in opposing the language banning “the functional equivalent of marriage.” Under that language, children placed with unmarried foster parents could be denied health insurance through domestic-partner benefit programs and could face hurdles if those foster families want to adopt them, he said.

“They could lose many of the benefits they currently enjoy,” said Mr. Hollander, whose group serves abused and neglected children in Pittsburgh.

It continues to amaze me that the folks opposed to the amendment have a long list of concrete ways this legislation will have a negative impact on families whereas the other side just has a claim that it will protect families with nothing to back it up.  How is it we are still having this discussion?

Here are the letters of recent vintage:

M.W. Sage of Swissvale puts it succinctly:

Regarding the bill to protect heterosexual marriage (“Backers, Foes of Gay Marriage Collide at Capitol,” April 30): There are many greater issues needing attention. Couples know when a relationship is working and when it isn't. They can seek help if they want it.

The same is so for gay relationships.

The nation and the world have more pressing issues to be addressed. Let the Legislature busy itself with those.

Well put.

Meanwhile, a series of letters in the Tribune Review finally address this issue.

First up is Sharon Capretto of Mt. Washington.  She is a member of the Cult to Protect Marriage (something like that) and thinks that the will of the people is not embedded in our legislative system.  She must not vote.  Or at least, she doesn't trust most of the people who do vote:

This proposed amendment would give our federal Defense of Marriage Act constitutional protection to ensure that a judge or the Legislature could not redefine marriage in our state without the will of the people. Twenty-seven states have seen fit to pass similar amendments. Pennsylvanians would like the same consideration.

In response, Amesh Adalja of Butler (hey, that's cool — Metcalfe Country)is embarrassed by the Republicans embracing this issue at the expense of real concerns.

Inserting religious proscriptions into the state Constitution utilizes precious legislative time that could be directed toward lowering taxes, scaling back the size of state government, privatizing the state liquor stores and many other worthy Republican causes.

Then, Kris Sanders of Squirrel Hill (really?) chimes in:

Such moral reasoning recognizes that marriage is inherently based upon the complementarity between a man and a woman. They are clearly designed to come together in a way that leads to the generation of new life. It is the fundamental building block of any society.

I'm not sure it is scientifically accurate to claim that two men or two women cannot complement each other, unless you reduce human beings to the sum of the reproductive organs.  I'd say the 20,000+ children in the Pennsylvania foster care system are proof positive of that reductive assumption being utter bullshit.  By the way, how many kids do you foster, Kris? 

Now, I'm not an expert on the Founding Fathers, but I did study a little political theory.  My understanding of Jefferson and Madison is that society is built upon the individual in relationship to the institution.  They had a clear concept of individual freedoms and liberties, not family based liberties. Women and children weren't even enumerated in the Constitution, considered the property or wards of the male head of household.  Is that where Kris wants to go?  It was only through societal progress and a recognition of the civil rights of women (and children) that the modern family has evolved (and women are allowed to read newspapers). 

The family is not the building block of society, Kris.  Your partner/spouse and your children have rights and responsibilities that are separate and distinct from your own.  Coming together to build a family sometimes strengthens society and sometimes does not.  But you should be more precise if you plan to throw around scientific terms like “complementarity.” 

Have you written your letter to the Post-Gazette, the Tribune-Review or the Pittsburgh City Paper?  People do pay attention.  Even legislators. 

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