Thursday, July 23, 2009

Walter Cronkite, Adamant Defender of Marriage Equality - He Will Be Missed

Walter Cronkite died on July 17, 2009 at the age of 86. With his passing, it wasn't only the nation as a whole who lost a friend and ally, it was also specifically the LGBT population.

Thanks to Edge Boston, I was made aware of an op-ed Cronkite wrote at the time when Massachusetts became the first state to legalize marriage equality. He was an advocate for the separation of church and state, and as a result, avidly against DOMA.

Cronkite wrote the succinctly title piece "Marriage and Abortion" for Kings Feature Syndicate in 2003. Here are a few excerpts:
Conservatives, particularly those of the Christian right, are determined that gay marriage and all abortions must be banned by federal law, even perhaps by amendments to our Constitution. They, of course, are entitled to their beliefs, which many of the religious feel are embedded in their religions. However, there are many other Americans who are equally adamant in their contention that the conservatives have no right to impose their version of morality on the rest of the population. Conservatives are inclined to call these protesters "liberals," a not-particularly accurate designation, but a useful label to identify them here.

The liberals include many who consider themselves good and faithful members of their churches, mosques or synagogues. They resent this dogmatic right-wing portion of the Christian community trying to force their ideas upon them.


It certainly is the right of the anti-abortionists and those who oppose gay marriages to defend, express and even propagandize their beliefs, but is it their right to impose their definition of morality on those who hold opposing views? The answer is a resounding "no" from the large chorus of those who believe that our individual rights are precious and should not be trampled upon by even those of deep religious convictions, including those in their own churches. This columnist believes that among conservatives and liberals alike there is a majority who would put the sanctity of individual rights even above the sanctity with which some would endow the banning of abortion and gay marriage.
Walter, you were the type of reporter, advocate and man that this country could use for another 86 years and beyond. Your dedication to the principles that this nation is built upon earned you the moniker "the most trusted man in America," and rightfully so.

You will be missed.

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