James Dobson, chairman of Focus on the Family, said in response
to the Massachusetts Supreme Court ruling that homosexuals are
legally entitled to wed under the state constitution, “The dire
ramifications of what is happening in the United States and other
Western nations cannot be overstated,” according to
Dire ramifications? I wonder if some – what I will term as
“traditionalists”- thought the same thing when the Supreme Court
ruled that racial segregation was a violation of equal
Mr. Dobson explains, “For millennia, traditional marriage – the
union of one man and one woman – has been celebrated by every
culture on Earth as the cornerstone of society. But now, we have
this activist court that is arrogant enough to say that those
thousands of years of culture are simply wrong.”
Really, Mr. Dobson? I know Focus on the Family is supposed to be
a Christian-based organization, but I remembered there being a
plethora of examples of the traditional Judeo-Christian forefathers
not bound in traditional union. The Bible’s Jacob married both Leah
and Rachel. That makes two wives, doesn’t it? Heck, King Solomon
had 700 wives and 300 concubines (or was it the other way around?).
But our activist judicial system ruled that bigamy was morally
wrong back when the Mormons were trying to practice their freedom
Mr. Dobson must be fuming about the news out of San Francisco
this weekend. Last Thursday, San Francisco’s mayor, Gavin Newsom,
ordered the county clerk to begin issuing marriage licenses for
lesbian and gay couples. As of Monday morning, 1,600 same-sex
marriages had been performed with hundreds waiting in line to try
to have their chance at something that Britney Spears takes for
granted – her Vegas marriage lasted 55 hours. One lesbian couple
married this weekend has been together for over 40 years. Now who
is destroying the sanctity of marriage?
The nation is split on the issue, with many prominent
legislators supporting an amendment to the U.S. Constitution
defining marriage as only between a man and a woman as the only way
to protect the sanctity of matrimony. Their soft-handed solution of
what to do about these troublesome same-sex couples is to allow
them a civil union.
But the Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD),
comment that civil unions are separate and unequal to marriage.
Mary L. Bonauto, a lead GLAD attorney, said, “Marriage is much more
than the sum of its parts. The word itself is protection.”
The Massachusetts legislature is contemplating a civil union
proposal that allows couples joined in civil union all of the state
law-based rights applicable to spouses, but withholds the name as
well as the legal and social protections that accompany the name.
GLAD says that this is just a form of second-class citizenship.
For all those who are interested, this Saturday is National
Freedom to Marry Day. There will be a rally and march at 2 p.m. in
Old Town Square, followed by wedding cake, open mic, music and
festivities at Avo’s.
I can’t help but feel that legislating upon moral basis is a
dangerous walk toward religion ruling the state – and at the
dangerous cost of inequality to many citizens. What does it matter
who else is getting married? How can that possibly affect someone
else’s private covenant between another person and God? Marriage is
not the government’s business.
As the bumper sticker says, “Focus on your own family.”
Shannon is a senior majoring in technical journalism. Her column
runs every Tuesday.