Definitions of marriage driving debate for Mainers

Posted April 15, 2009, at 8:57 p.m.

I feel the editorial “Marriage Turns a Corner” (BDN, April 9) is misleading with regard to some assumptions being made by too many people these days. I offer these comments with the deepest respect for those individuals who find themselves embroiled in this discussion, but I will address the issue as candidly as I can.

The editorial states that “equality, not momentum, is what should drive decisions on ‘gay marriage’ in Maine.” I would agree that humans should be judged impartially with regard to their inherent human dignity. Partiality or “preferential treatment” is to be avoided when implementing legislation for a society. Our founding documents would affirm this, not the least of which is the opening line of our Declaration of Independence. I don’t believe equality is really the issue at hand here. Those who present it thus are likely capitulating to the pressure of a value system being foisted upon the populace at large.

What is the definition of marriage? Who gets to define it? Can I marry my sister, my daughter or perhaps even some of the gang at the club? These aren’t questions being addressed. Even Sen. Dennis Damon’s bill, LD 1020, suggests that religious institutions should be “protected” from the mandates of this legislation. Why? Because religious institutions have understood for millennia what many Americans seem to be forgetting: Marriage has always been reserved for one man and one woman for life. Because this institution has suffered many pathologies in no way affects its design. The fact is, I cannot marry my dog or my cat because marriage is not for that kind of behavior. Neither is it for homosexual behavior between two consenting adults.

We may permit the deviant behavior of many people in society, choosing not to criminalize that behavior on the basis of being tolerant, but that in no way asserts that we must legitimize it.

To build an argument for “gay marriage” on the basis of equality is to assume a definition of marriage that does not exist. This assumption is patently false, and its assertion is tantamount to a bold-faced lie. There is no discrimination at issue here beyond that which is confined to its proper definition.

The editorial also asserted that “separate is inherently unequal.” That statement borders on the absurd. Everyone is unique and, given that perspective, would be considered to be “unequal” in some way. So what? What is the point? Are we to seek to make everyone the same?

In another sense, however, we can ask if a person should be inhibited from participating in a given behavior. Behavior is, exactly, what laws seek to permit and prohibit. People are frequently not permitted to do certain things. Is that “authorized vehicles only” sign discriminatory? This is silly. An authorized vehicle is by definition allowed where all others are not. Definitions inform our acceptable behavior, and the institution of marriage has been clearly defined for all of human history as mentioned above.

Should Maine residents be allowed to respect and affirm marriage as it has always been properly defined, or should the Maine Legislature be allowed to force Maine residents to accept a redefinition of what is arguably the foundational institution of human civilization?

LD 1020 is simply bad law.

Pastor Rick Carver is treasurer of the Maine Family Policy Council.

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