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The Lake News Online
  • Guest column: Defense of Marriage Act has the wrong name

  • I've been trying very hard, but I still cannot understand why any straight person is the least bit scared of gay marriage.
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  • I've been trying very hard, but I still cannot understand why any straight person is the least bit scared of gay marriage.
    I understand that some people don't personally agree with gay marriage and have negative attitudes toward homosexuality. That's fine. We all have our own opinions that we hold strongly and we know that not everybody is going to agree with us. Unless your lifestyle is harming others, it should be your own business.
    Of course, some people try to argue that other people's marriages are harmful to society. But that's a stretch.
    It's a little like child-rearing. I know that many parents reading this practiced child-raising techniques that I believe with all my heart are harmful to society, spanking being a prime example. Some of you probably disagree with all your hearts about my choice to raise my children without spanking. Unless your spanking crosses a certain line, we don't need a law defining the right way to parent.
    We certainly don't need to pass laws that do the opposite of what we pretend they do.
    Why would we name a law "The Defense of Marriage Act" when its goal is to prevent certain marriages? Shouldn't it have been called "The Anti-Marriage for Certain People Act"?
    Most puzzling to me is the stance of certain religious groups who cite the fear that their churches will be forced to perform gay marriage ceremonies. The news media soberly reports these concerns as if they were valid. They are not.
    Churches and other religious groups already have the right to refuse to marry any couple. There are many churches that decline to perform weddings for those who were previously divorced. That's their right, and any divorced person who wants to remarry knows it. Such couples either have a civil ceremony or find a different church that welcomes them.
    The fact that I, as a divorced person, was able to remarry despite some churches having an honest belief that I shouldn't be allowed to do so hasn't raised any concerns that I know of. If anybody out there has proposed a "Defense of Marriage Act" that argues that society would be so harmed by previously divorced folks remarrying that such marriages must be strictly forbidden under federal law, I missed it.
    If any divorced people wishing to remarry have been rebuffed by a given church and have tried to use the law to force that church to marry them against the church's will, well, I missed that one too.
    The arguments against gay marriage are so absurd that in a generation's time — when gay marriage will inevitably be an accepted fact of life — we will look back at today's news coverage and laugh.
    Page 2 of 2 - Ever read old newspaper accounts of church leaders railing against interracial marriage? Or, for that matter, abolition? Such old stories make for very disturbing reading.
    The religious community should be leading the charge against discrimination of all sorts, and while some religious leaders are doing so, too many are still claiming to represent the moral side as they plead to use the law to withhold civil rights from others.
    Nobody tries to force Jewish people to eat pork, and I know of no American Jews who are trying to outlaw pork for non-Jews. Nobody forces Muslim people to drink alcohol, and if there are American Muslims seeking to outlaw alcohol sales to non-Muslims, it's below my radar.
    In the same way, nobody forces a Christian church or any other house of worship to marry previously divorced people — or gay people. We have freedom of religion in this country, thank God.
    I hope we will keep it that way.
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