“The Other Side”

Oct 162006
Authors: Nick Hemenway

Out of all the issues on the ballot this November, there has been one that is getting most of the attention. It’s called Referendum I. As most of you know, the referendum is attempting to define rights for same-sex couples, eliciting strong responses from both sides of the issue.

So with that in mind, let me say this. I am not writing this article with the hopes of changing people’s minds on which way to vote for the referendum. I believe that this issue is a very personal one that most people care about very much. Regardless of what arguments anyone hears, I don’t see many people changing their vote.

So my goal in writing this is to simply present what the ‘other side’ believes. Those in favor of the referendum have had ample amounts of media coverage, and we all know how they feel. But at the same time, there are many people that don’t feel the same way. I am one of them. I realize that this might offend some people, but at the same time, I think it is important that the opposition’s view is accurately portrayed instead of blindly labeling people as bigots or extremists.

The first thing that you all should know is that we don’t hate homosexuals. No matter how many times the proponents of the referendum say we do, it’s still not true. We do, however, hold the institution of marriage in high regards. We believe that marriage is a sacred bond between a man and a woman, which is more than just legal definitions and rights written on paper.

According to its proponents, Referendum I does not equate to marriage. I strongly disagree. The text of the referendum calls for a legal bond that would grant same-sex couples the same “benefits, protections and responsibilities that are granted by Colorado law to spouses.” The only difference I see between this and marriage is the name. Some would point to the proposed Amendment 43, which would legally define marriage in Colorado to be between a man and a woman. Even though I intend to vote yes, if the proposed domestic partnerships have nearly the same legal parameters as marriage, what difference will the amendment really make?

To support their cause, fairequal.org claims in its welcome page that same-sex couples “are not guaranteed the right to see each other in the hospital, to make medical decisions for each other or to make funeral arrangements.” Others add the issues of inheritance and property rights. Well, if these are truly the issues that they are concerned about, then they have no need to pass a referendum. All of these “rights” and more can be delegated to anyone they want via attorneys, medical directives and wills. That begs the question, why are they still trying to pass the referendum? I believe that they want to because should it pass, the gap won’t be very far in the next election when they want to make the final leap to marriage. That’s what we intend to stop before it starts.

Whether you agree or disagree, this is what most people who oppose Referendum I believe. For us, the issue is not about hating homosexuals, it’s about protecting something we love. In three weeks, we will see where Coloradans stand.

Have a great week everyone.

Nick Hemenway is a senior mechanical engineering major. His column appears Tuesdays in the Collegian. Replies and feedback can be sent to letters@collegian.com.

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