Archive for the ‘Same-sex marriage’ Category

‘Two little love birds sitting in a tree k-i-s-s-i-n-g. First comes love. Then, comes marriage. Then, comes (so and so) with a baby carriage.”

While this childhood saying was aimed at making their amorous peers blush, it also outlined the purpose of traditional marriage — children. For thousands of years in all civilizations guided by numerous religions, marriage has been between men and women to welcome children into their families.

The framers of the Constitution knew this type of marriage, and so has the country for over 200 years. It has been proven that strong marriages and families are the fundamental building blocks for strong countries.

Oh, if it were that simple for everyone and the country.

First, Massachusetts approved same-sex marriages, and now California has done the same. The latest marriages were legal on June 17 at 5 p.m. local time. However, the California Supreme Court’s controversial 4-3 ruling didn’t lay to rest the question.

Instead, opponents are looking toward the California Marriage Protection Act winning in November. It’s not surprising the lawyers for Equality California supporting the ruling, are trying to de-certify the proposed state’s constitutional amendment that would outlaw same-sex marriages.

The truth is love and sex aren’t always accompanied by marriage, and heterosexual as well as same-sex couples often engage in sex without love or marriage. And, an uncounted number of children enter this world as a “mistake.” So, what drives same-sex couples to strive for marriage?

I caught up with Aicila Lewis, the executive director of Boulder Pride, by phone where we discussed many of the issues surrounding same-sex marriage. She said “equality and fairness are the goal,” and gay, lesbian, bi-sexual and transgender people are currently denied legal recognition for their relationships.

She added that people in the group she represents can have three aspects of marriage without the elusive legal contract. They can still have the social contract, the emotional commitment and the spiritual contract. However, without the legal contract, they are at risk not being there legally for their partners.

Hearing Lewis tell of a situation where the same-sex partner had power of attorney for a dying spouse but the medical person in charge wouldn’t allow him to be in the room broke my heart. When children are involved, they are not protected by the state in cases of “divorce and separation” where they would be protected in a legal marriage, Lewis added.

One idea kicking around the Web that Lewis said could be a workable option is to have the government stop issuing marriage licenses altogether and issue only civil unions. That’s basically what California did anyway by calling applicants “party A” and “party B.” Then, churches would issue their own marriage licenses.

As nice as Lewis is and how much I feel for her plight without legal recognition of her “marriage” relationship, a marriage amendment to the U.S. Constitution that clarifies marriage as between a man and a woman would end all these state-by-state battles. But, let’s not stop there. We need to find ways to be sensitive to and supportive of those who do not fit in that mold. They need love and support and care.

Currently, there is no current plan in Colorado to work toward same-sex marriage, Lewis said. Then, she shared a quote she attributed to Martin Luther King, Jr.: “It may be true that the law cannot make a man love me, but it can stop him from lynching me, and I think that’s pretty important.”

No matter the definition of marriage, no one should be guilty of treating others badly. Instead, we should look for ways to help each other out.

Source: Published June 29, 2008 Daily Camera

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Leonard Pitts told a sad story in his column (Camera, Feb. 16, 2009) that never should have happened. Janice Langbehn was not permitted at the bedside of her “spouse,” Lisa Marie Pond, until the very end when Pond died at age 39 in 2007. She wasn’t given information for hours either. I join with Pitts in questioning the difference in rights of a same-sex “spouse” to be at a loved one’s bedside and to be given timely information.

Pitts said the emergency room social worker told Langbehn before walking away, “I need you to know you are in an anti-gay city and state and you won’t get to know about Lisa’s condition or see her.”

Obviously, this hospital needs to change to make room for various relationships. It needs to look at who can be near the dying and when they can be there. The medical staff’s role should be to do what it can to save lives. If it looks like the patient will not survive, medical help should keep patients comfortable while facilitating relationships with patients and their family and friends.

I understand hospital personnel have as their first duty to attend to the sick, the injured, the dying and those giving birth. They must have charge to decide when to invite others into the treatment areas as they fulfill their primary purpose.

Still, hospital personnel should provide information in a timely way to the significant people involved in the patient’s life. Langbehn’s case could have been handled much better if the hospital had had a nondiscriminatory protocol clearly spelling out patients’ rights to name whomever they wish as their family and friends and to permit them to enter their treatment areas as soon as possible.

In the past, many hospitals have had unnecessarily stiff rules. One positive change in the last generation was that hospitals now allow fathers in delivery rooms. Another change is young siblings get to visit and even hold the baby.

In a much less dramatic personal moment last year, I accompanied a friend to the hospital for a minor surgery. After the procedure, I was taken back to her room. When the doctor came in, he began discussing her procedure and follow-up care. Then, he stopped after noticing me. He said, “Wait a minute. Who are you? Are you supposed to be here?” The doctor was right to check, and I’m glad that my friend could answer.

It’s unclear whether Pond could voice her desires.

Despite my agreement with Pitts, he missed the point with his “hate” argument. Hate is an intense emotion that causes a person to spit, scream or throw a rock. Hate injures body, spirit and property. Worse yet, hate has an ugliness that can fester and cause the hateful to engage in knife-twisting calculations or cool vendettas.

However, hate is not the rational thinking that comes when one side disagrees with the other side’s conclusions.

Such is the case for me, and those I know, who defend marriage as the union between only one man and one woman. What Pitts called “mean-spirited legislation” is to its supporters a necessity to maintain the nuclear family, love of what they see as right and good, and the basis for a strong country. Whether it’s Florida’s Marriage Protection Amendment, Proposition 8 in California or any other legislation, those who support them need not be targeted as being motivated by “hate.”

Here’s another example to clarify my point. When an 18-year-old’s mother calls the doctor for test results and is told she cannot receive them without her daughter’s written consent, is this hate? No. Society and its law isn’t rejecting the relationship between the daughter and her mother. It is saying that certain lines need to be drawn in order to protect other things important in our society. In this case, it’s patient privacy.

Our nation is not increasingly anti-gay, as Pitts suggests. The truth is as gay groups increasingly push for a new definition of marriage, other groups are pushing back.

Source: My guest opinion published: Daily Camera Feb. 24, 2009. Daily Camera.

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