Sunday, September 7, 2008

Arizona Marriage Amendment -- 160 donors back state marriage measure

The Arizona Republic ran an article on September 5, 2008 concerning donations in support of various initiative measures. The article is neutral about the issues involved in Proposition 102, but interestingly fails to even mention the number of the initiative measure in the article. The discussion of the support for Proposition 102 is only a small part of the article, which discusses the amount of money raised for several other initiative measures. However, the comments are entirely on the Marriage Amendment.

The comments run the gamut from insensitive and ignorant name calling to involved discussions of the issues. It is apparent that few of the commentators are knowledgeable about any of the arguments either for or against the measure. One phrase, used in criticism of the Proposition, is that somehow the Amendment "would deprive people of their constitutional rights." Think about this. How can an amendment to the constitution, either State or Federal, deprive someone of their constitutional rights? The state and federal constitutions and their interpretation by the legislatures and the courts, define what is and what is not "constitutional." There is no way that a constitutional amendment can deprive anyone of a constitutional right especially an amendment like Proposition 102, that defines a legal and social relationship. Despite the ruling the California Court, no one has a constitutional right to a specific definition of marriage until there is some provision in the constitution making that distinction. As acknowledged by the California Court, there are only a few minor areas in which domestic partnerships differ from marriages. The problem is that absent such a measure, those who uphold the traditional values and meaning of the term "marriage" would be denied their right to do so. A right recognized in Arizona for years.

It would help if those writing in favor of same-sex marriage would read the Proposition. It says nothing at all about the rights of anyone. California is a prime example of having laws that recognize the rights of domestic partners, laws that were passed without changing the definition of marriage. Despite the emotional rhetoric of the comments, there is a fundamental issue. As stated in The Divine Institution of Marriage:

"Marriage is not primarily a contract between individuals to ratify their affections and provide for mutual obligations. Rather,marriage and family are vital instruments for rearing children and teaching them to become responsible adults. While governments did not invent marriage, throughout the ages governments of all types have recognized and affirmed marriage as an essential institution in preserving social stability and perpetuating life itself. Hence, regardless of whether marriages were performed as a religious rite or a civil ceremony, married couples in almost every culture have been granted special benefits aimed primarily at sustaining their relationship and promoting the environment in which children are reared. A husband and a wife do not receive these benefits to elevate them above any other two people who may share a residence or social tie, but rather in order to preserve, protect, and defend the all-important institutions of marriage and family."

Proposition 102 recognizes this all important institution and would provide for a constitutional level of support for "an essential institution in preserving social stability and perpetuating life itself."

The very fact that those individuals opposing the Proposition frequently refer to it as an attempt to impose a particular religious viewpoint illustrates the point that they view their own behavior or beliefs in terms of traditional values of society, that is, they view same-sex marriage as a religious issue. These attacks against those with different religious views, who would support the traditional definition of marriage, are the reason why those who support the Marriage Amendment are convinced that failure to pass such measures will result in denial of their religious freedom. Which, by the way, is a fundamental constitutional right.

It is sad that so many of the commentators have a negative viewpoint of marriage. However, because people are imperfect and marriages fail, is no excuse for throwing out the whole system and adopting a radical anti-religious and anti-traditional agenda.

Simply because our society now tolerates a previously criminal behavior, does not automatically mean that toleration implies either acceptance of the morality of the behavior or that the behavior is now entitled to constitutional and societal acceptance and endorsement. Again, to The Divine Institution of Marriage:

"Those who favor homosexual marriage contend that “tolerance” demands that they be given the same right to marry as heterosexual couples. But this appeal for “tolerance” advocates a very different meaning and outcome than that word has meant throughout most of American history and a different meaning than is found in the gospel of Jesus Christ. The Savior taught a much higher concept, that of love. “Love thy neighbor,” He admonished. Jesus loved the sinner even while decrying the sin, as evidenced in the case of the woman taken in adultery: treating her kindly, but exhorting her to “sin no more.” Tolerance as a gospel principle means love and forgiveness of one another, not “tolerating” transgression."

"In today’s secular world, the idea of tolerance has come to mean something entirely different. Instead of love, it has come to mean acceptance of wrongful behavior as the price of friendship. Jesus taught that we love and care for one another without condoning transgression. But today’s politically palatable definition insists that unless one accepts the sin he does not tolerate the sinner."

It is important that those wishing to preserve the traditional role of marriage and the family in our society become educated as to the real issues. The detractors criticized those individuals who contributed to support Proposition 102 and claimed that they were "wasting" their money. What about those who spent a huge amount of money supporting the challenge to the constitutionality of the California initiative measure. There are pages and pages of national and international organizations that hired attorneys to participate in the lawsuit on the side of same-sex marriage. I suppose it is OK to spend money to support something you agree with but it is not OK to spend money opposing your own personal viewpoints. It is also significant that there was, apparently, not one single comment about the $9.2 million dollars raised by the pay-day loan industry to try to confuse the voters about pay-day loan reform. This lack of comment on the other issues merely illustrates the importance of the Marriage Amendment.

No comments:

Post a Comment