Gay marriage: About time or no way?

Today, a same-sex marriage proponent calls gay marriage the new normal. An opponent  says such unions erode the country’s moral fabric.

Let us know what you think with comments below. Moderator Rick Badie leads the discussion.

Lift marriage barrier for same-sex couples

By Matt Hennie

There’s a “new normal” brewing across the country, yet it embraces values that have stood the test of time: equality and freedom.

That “new normal” is what Gallup calls the acceptance of same-sex couples that they find is growing. A recent Gallup poll shows that 54 percent of Americans agree that gay and lesbian relationships are “morally acceptable.” Even more say same-sex couple relationships should be legal.

Package that with the endorsement delivered earlier this month by President Barack Obama and it’s clear the tide is shifting in favor of marriage equality.

Acceptance is coming to Georgia, too, though at a much slower pace. A recent Landmark Communications/Rosetta Stone poll for WSB-TV shows 59 percent of Georgians are opposed to gay marriage, a number that has shrunk since nearly three-quarters of voters in 2004 approved adding a same-sex marriage ban to the state Constitution. It’s still substantial and a sentiment that is shared across the South.

But what the current polls don’t show is that Atlanta is packed with same-sex couples and ranks among the top five in large cities across the U.S. for same-sex households. It’s the same across metro Atlanta and the rest of Georgia. Same-sex couples live in the mountains, along the coast and in the southwest corner of the state, too. And these couples, just like their heterosexual neighbors, are in loving and committed relationships, promising to care for one another for better and for worse.

Unlike their neighbors, though, they can’t share their marriage vows with one another and legally show they cherish their partner in the same way their straight neighbors do. Don’t be lured into embracing the fears manufactured by opponents of same-sex marriage. They want to distract you from the Golden Rule, twist its meaning and convince you that what poll after poll shows — more Americans support same-sex marriage than oppose it — is wrong. It’s not.

Don’t be fooled into thinking that same-sex marriage is about rights or that because I may want to marry my partner some day means your marriage needs to be redefined. Plain and simple, this is about respecting the tradition of marriage, its importance in society and allowing gay couples to join the institution, not change it.

I respect the honor and tradition that comes with marriage; it worked for my parents, and I want the chance to have it work for me.

Gay couples share the ideals that marriage is a heavy responsibility and comes with a lifetime commitment and we want to express that to our partner. Gay marriage is not a game. It’s not a political strategy and it shouldn’t be used as a weapon to beat down the love I have for my partner.

Matt Hennie is founder of Project Q Atlanta, an online media source that reports on gay and lesbian issues in metro Atlanta.

Marriage: One man, one woman

By Ray Newman

After President Barack Obama’s endorsement of same-sex marriage, I was interviewed by several media outlets. Each interviewer wanted to know my first reaction. I said, “I was not surprised.”
The simple truth is anyone who had been paying attention to the culture and signals from this White House would have known the direction in which it was headed. Vice President Joe Biden had indicated his support for same-sex marriage, saying he had changed his opinion after having watched a sitcom on television. I further stated that I was saddened by the endorsement.
Following the president’s announcement, many people began to second-guess its timing. It would be interesting to know why the Wednesday before the national observance of Mother’s Day would be picked as the day of the president’s endorsement. It is also interesting that following the vote on Tuesday in North Carolina, in support of a state constitutional amendment defining marriage as a union between one man and one woman, the next day would be set as the day of the president’s endorsement.
There are now more than 30 states that have passed amendments or initiatives defining marriage as a union between one man and one woman. Thirteen states, including Georgia, voted in 2004 to add the definition to their constitution.
We come to this issue from several perspectives. First, the historic social issue of marriage. Traditionally, each culture for centuries has accepted marriage as a union between one man and one woman. In fact, the first definition of marriage given in the dictionary is: “The social institution under which a man and woman live as husband and wife by legal or religious commitments.”
We see the Judeo-Christian moral foundation as a major building block of societies and cultures. The Judeo-Christian moral foundation of our nation has served as the major building block of our nation. The marriage ceremony indicates before witnesses that a man and woman are joined in a covenant intimate relationship.
Finally, we look at this issue from a political viewpoint. We are watching as morals are moving away in order to assure rights. We are being told that, politically, we must evolve into an amoral world view in order to assure rights that are granted to certain behaviors.
I am saddened we have come to the place in our nation where cultural changes are now impacting behavior more than the traditional building blocks that have served us well throughout history. I affirm my position in support of the definition of marriage as a union between one man and one woman.
The foundation upon which our nation is built must remain strong or we will see the nation fall into ruin.

Ray Newman is executive director of Georgia Citizen Action Project Inc.

NOTE: Comments have been closed.

84 comments Add your comment

Pat in GR

May 24th, 2012
12:30 pm

The promotion pieces do the usual, but omit or skirt the obvious…

Gay couples are free to have a ceremony and consider themselves married – right now.
They are free to “openly” live together and have whatever lifestyle suits their fancy.
The key factor is obvious: should those who do not support that lifestyle, due to moral or religious reasons, be FORCED to endorse such models via the strong arm of government – even if it is against the oppositions’ citizen or religious rights?
The answer should always be no.

AdoringFan

May 24th, 2012
12:16 pm

“We are watching as morals are moving away in order to assure rights. We are being told that, politically, we must evolve into an amoral world view in order to assure rights that are granted to certain behaviors.”—Ray Newman

Happily, our nation is governed not by the Bible, nor a particular group’s interpretation of its morality. Our great nation is governed by The Constitution with its Bill of Rights. The most foundational goal of establishing our governing system was to assure (and insure) the rights of all Americans. Rights are not “granted to certain behaviors,” as claimed by Mr. Newman. Rights are guaranteed to THE PEOPLE.

Richard

May 24th, 2012
12:03 pm

Newman makes the classic blunder. Everyone, try this: whenever you write the word “moral,” write the words, “my morals” instead. It will put the proper context on your argument.

AdoringFan

May 24th, 2012
11:59 am

“The Judeo-Christian moral foundation of our nation has served as the major building block of our nation. The marriage ceremony indicates before witnesses that a man and woman are joined in a covenant intimate relationship.” –Ray Newman

I agree that the Judeo-Christian morality has had great and often good influence on this wonderful country, but I would offer that the USA’s foundation fortunately includes other principles as well, such as those of the Enlightenment. Left to J-C morals alone, we might still condone slavery, and still deny women the voting franchise. These are just two examples in our history of appeals to the Bible and Judeo-Christian morality to deny rights to other PEOPLE.

What morality is there is denying any two consenting, loving adult PEOPLE, straight or gay, to stand before witnesses and dedicate themselves to live in a “covenant intimate relationship”? In what possible way does that erode a morality which has at its heart to love one’s neightbor as oneself? The fact of my neighbors’ marriage (straight or gay) has never once influenced me or my husband of 25 years to choose evil over good in any situation.

Aquagirl

May 24th, 2012
11:56 am

Can someone get a fainting couch for Mr. Newman?

David in Atlanta

May 24th, 2012
11:51 am

Mr Newman must not support the abolition of slavery since he pins his entire argument on “Judeo-Christian” morality. You don’t need to go back far in history to see Judeo-Christian morals in support of things like segregation, denying the right to vote to women, and slavery. What is and isn’t considered Biblical has changed with each and every generation, Mr Newman’s included.

Unless he’s using a contemporary definition of “Judeo-Christian” that carves out this one narrow topic and ignores history, his entire argument is flawed.

Chuck Ramsey

May 24th, 2012
11:43 am

Did the nation fall into ruin when interracial marriages were allowed? When women were allowed to vote? When gays were allowed to openly serve in the military? When Sunday beer sales were allowed in Atlanta? Since when does assuring equal rights equate to an amoral world view? As a married gay man, I am pleased to see Obama, the NAACP, and the majority of Americans have evolved on this issue. The foundation on which our nation was built is remaining strong.

Jim Lippard

May 24th, 2012
11:41 am

Ray Newman’s arguments are terrible. He claims, falsely, that “each culture for centuries has accepted marriage as a union between one man and one woman” — this is not even true of the Bible, which endorses plural marriage, concubinage, and even slavery. The “Judeo-Christian foundation” he argues is “a major building block of societies and cultures” (but not of the United States’ system of government!). And he argues that because numerous states have laws banning same-sex marriage, we should keep them–without offering any defense of why. The fact is that those state laws are exactly analogous to past state laws which banned interracial marriage, and Ray Newman’s arguments are exactly analogous to arguments for those laws.

Newman has no ethical or legal basis for his position.

michele

May 24th, 2012
11:30 am

we’ve got bigger fish to fry than who loves who. if my gay neighbors get married, my property taxes will not go down here in ATL…my income will not increase, and the sky will not fall.
let’s move on from this issue to something that really affects ALL people’s lives.

Vashtai

May 24th, 2012
11:19 am

The biggest threat to marriage is heterosexual divorce.