It's a beautiful day here in Coventry, Connecticut. Unlike yesterday, today is sunny and relatively warm outside. I'm getting spring fever. After going out to breakfast, we returned, I've ordered my wild-flower seeds for the year, and I'm gearing up to do yard work.... but wait, it's only March. It's going to take forever to get to May!
While at breakfast, I read this letter to the editor from the Hartford Courant:
Leave Marriage Issue To States
I am in favor of gay marriage and hope that it becomes widely available sooner rather than later. However, I think it is important that it happen by legislative action rather than judicial fiat. That is why I think a constitutional amendment may be necessary – not the type of amendment proposed by President Bush, but one that simply says that no provision of the Constitution shall be construed to require any state to permit marriage by same-sex couples.
I suspect that such an amendment, which would leave the issue to the states and their voters, would be a compromise that would find widespread support.
John W. Rossitter
This was my reply that I sent into the Courant:
Posted by Bill at March 7, 2004 02:32 PM | TrackBack (0)
I am responding to the letter of John Rossitter of March 7, 2004. Mr. Rossitter says that he is in favor of gay marriage, but such issues should be left to the states and voters to decide. He is also in favor of a constitutional amendment stating that “no provision of the Constitution shall be construed to require any state to permit marriage by same-sex couples”.
There are many problems with this idea.
First, it would deny any gay couples that found a state willing to marry them the over 1,000 rights and privileges afforded to married heterosexuals by the Federal Government.
Second, civil rights are not decided by popular vote. A popular vote did not abolish slavery or integrate schools. Why is this issue different?
Third, the United States is a nation governed by laws, laws that place limits on the power of the majority. No majority has the right to deny an unpopular minority the rights that others enjoy.
The constitutional amendment proposed by the President of the United States would be the first to deny rights to a minority. Supporters claim they are not denying some citizens equal rights, but they want to rewrite the Constitution to do just that. Civil unions for same-sex couples are not the answer. To the extent civil unions are separate from marriage, they are unequal. We learned half a century ago that separate is never equal.
Are we ready for a new kind of apartheid? Do you want to live in a country where some states and the Federal government see gay and lesbian couples as second-class citizens, refusing to acknowledge their relationships?
That would not be a free country. A free country would protect even an unpopular minority from the “tyranny of the majority”. A free country would condemn those who seek to deprive any of its citizens of their innate rights. A free country would provide liberty and justice for all, not just those in the majority.
Have we learned nothing from history?