Monday, December 8, 2008

Morality and politics

I received an email this morning that got me a little exercised. It contained the text of a letter to the editor that makes some points that I can agree with.

What I DO NOT agree with is the title:

Gay marriage not a moral issue

To the editor:

I am writing in response to recent letters to the editor that have questioned the rights of gay men and women in our country. Gay marriage is a civil liberties issue, a constitutional issue. It is not a question of who feels comfortable with homosexuality.

It is not a question about whether you are a tolerant person. It is not a question for churches to debate, nor is it a question of whether you think being gay is right or wrong, a choice or not, good or bad. Gay marriage is about granting human beings equality before the law. And equality in a democracy is supposed to be a given.

If Lyndon Johnson had put the Civil Rights Act to a public vote, it would have failed. Potentially, we would still live in a racially segregated world. My anger with the outcome of Prop. 8 is that the question of equality before the law was left to the public to decide.

The federal government, acting under the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment, needs to take the lead and pass the kind of legislation that Johnson did, legislation that was controversial in the same states where gay marriage is controversial but that no one today would question.

People in this country are free to think that those who are gay are somehow inferior to them. They can carry that hatred to their graves if they wish. What they can’t do is limit the rights of other citizens — the right to file joint tax returns, the right to name beneficiaries in their wills without question, the right to take leave from work when a partner is sick or dies, the right to be happy.

The issue is a legal one, not a moral one, and to be against gay marriage is to disenfranchise a large number of people in the same way women and African Americans were denied their rights for centuries. Someday we will look back on this era and feel ashamed for our stance. My hope is that that day comes soon.

Jennifer Sinor
Here is what I wrote in response (to the person who sent me the email):

Gay marriage is a moral issue - and it must be fought for on that basis as a pre-condition of any political progress.

Is it moral for two people of the same gender who fall in love and decide they are going to spend the rest of their lives with each other to desire marriage?


If it is not moral for two people of the same gender to marry, it is not moral for them to love each other - meaning it is not moral for them to be homosexual.

Is it immoral for anyone to seek to prevent two people of the same gender who love each other from getting married?


The person who would deny Gays and Lesbians their rights as individual human beings would deny any one else their rights. Such a person sees rights as conditional, not absolute - as privileges subject to society's whim, not requirements of survival demanded by human nature and the nature of reality.

If Gay marriage is to succeed as a political crusade, it MUST be upheld and defended by a moral crusade - which MUST be based on the recognition that HOMOSEXUALITY IS MORAL!

Rob Abiera

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