Friday, August 21, 2009

Maine's Portland Press Herald Runs Opposing Editorials on Marriage Equality Simultaneously

Maine's widely read newspaper, Portland Press Herald, simultaneously ran two opposing editorials on marriage equality. This November, Mainers will vote whether or not to keep the state's new marriage equality law.

Against marriage equality excerpt:
Social science confirms that wisdom: Children need both fathers and mothers, and the fact that some couples are either intentionally or unintentionally childless means precisely nothing for the vast majority of couples that include offspring.

The opposite holds for same-sex couples; some have children, but they are the exception, not the rule. Thus, the arguments for same-sex marriage primarily focus on the present: It will make us happy, it will fulfill our aspirations, it will legitimize our relationship.

But a marriage between a man and a woman is a family-building voyage into the future, launching generations to come.
How, proponents ask, can same-sex marriage affect others? Consider that if the veto effort fails, we will no longer require that marriages be composed of husbands and wives and mothers and fathers, but "Spouse 1 and Spouse 2," or "Parent 1 and Parent 2."
I must say, that last part is laughable. Having to check "Spouse 1 or 2" on a form is surely going to ruin straight marriages across the nation. They're going to argue who's number one, resulting in one feeling superior and the other inferior; and identities will be confused, and as a result, they won't relate, won't have sex, won't procreate and the human species will become EXTINCT! OMG!

For marriage equality excerpt:
The argument will be made that the "institution of marriage" itself will be damaged – that somehow permitting same-sex couples to marry will diminish other marriages.

But there is no institution of marriage, just millions of marriages, all independent. A same-sex union between one couple won't undermine another couple's traditional marriage any more than would someone else's divorce. People marry each other, not institutions.

Expect to hear that if the referendum fails, Maine people would be forced to recognize relationships of which they don't approve. But that happens already.

Doctors, nurses, school secretaries – even IRS agents – don't get to decide which couples deserve to be considered married. Either they have a license or they don't, and if they do, they get to make medical decisions, pick a child up from school or file a joint tax return without facing any questions about their sexual practices. Basic fairness dictates that same-sex couples should be able to formalize their relationships without having to pass a moral test that is only imposed on them.


Sure, this is new. But the values behind it – fairness, privacy, tolerance of people who are different than you – are not new and have long traditions in Maine.
I highly recommend you read the full editorials and participate in the discussion under the comments.

Image from Lez Get Real.

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