Friday, February 27, 2004

Universal Appeal

The Reverend Edward Frost, senior minister of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Atlanta, wrote in a recent op-ed piece in the Atlanta Journal Constitution:

"The state's position is that it makes laws for the public good, and marriage, the "bedrock" of our national public health and well being, is in grave danger. The president says this "sacred institution between a man and a woman" must be preserved at all costs.

To that, let me just say this: Britney Spears.

It isn't necessary to jump through the state's hoops to enjoy, as George Eliot wrote, "two human souls joined together to strengthen each other." But if being married means a public declaration to enter into a long-term partnership, share responsibilities and care for each other, then marriage provides a vase to hold those promises and intentions, and helps preserve and support them.

Why should John and George, or Harriet and Julia, not enjoy for the rest of their lives together all the rights, privileges and protections Britney and Jason enjoyed for 55 hours?

Because homosexual relationships are an abomination in the sight of God? What is in the sight of God is in the eyes of the beholder and ought to have nothing to do with what is legal or illegal.

Because same-sex marriage would undermine and devalue traditional marriage? Please. People have been doing that for centuries.

Because the Bible, the Quran, our sacred Scriptures do not support marriage between men or between women? This suggests our laws ought to be grounded in religious faith.

The ground of law, at least in a democratic state, is the agreement of the majority of the citizens. Therefore, laws stating that marriage must only be between a man and a woman are based on common agreement -- much as were the laws saying people of color could not drink out of certain water fountains, or that women could not vote.

I've been around long enough to remember how unthinkable it was, for most people, that people of different races -- or even different religions -- would marry. There is nothing absolute about marriage being only between a man and a woman. Whatever laws there are asserting such a thing are not ordained of God or grounded in nature, but are expressive of public views and values. And public views and values change when enough citizens change their opinions."

Read the full article here.

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