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Letter: The other side of the marriage debate

To the editor,

No matter what happens on Nov.6 regarding the marriage amendment, this election seems destined to create more divisiveness. I wish there was another way to deal with this marriage issue other than to have a constitutional amendment. Actually I think there is, but the problem comes in the apparent insistence in using the single term "marriage" for both types of unions.

I am not against anyone's civil rights and both kinds of civil unions can have them all. Civil unions, with full legal rights for homosexual couples already exist in many cases. What I cannot tolerate is having my rights taken away when I must affirm that homosexual and heterosexual unions are exactly the same. They are clearly not the same. Biology is hard to argue with and a homosexual union is inherently different.

Those opposing the amendment insist that the heterosexual orientation is one option, and the homosexual orientation is just another equally valid option. But even that is not good enough. Now I must give this union the same valued name as heterosexual unions have had since the beginning of time. It is not the same. That's all I'm saying -- it is different. Legal civil unions, rights for domestic partners; no problem; but they simply cannot both be called by the same name as if they are just one.

So why insist on using the term "marriage" when it has been defined for millenniums as the union of one man and one woman? Why do we need to take that term, redefine it, and make everyone agree that it is the same when it isn't? Why can't we say that there are two equally legal civil unions; each with its own name, that are different but with the same legal benefits. What's wrong with that?

This country was founded on a principle of freedom of speech. This really means that we affirm the right for people to hold an opinion that is different than our own. I keep hearing of people who are afraid of stating their point of view. They are afraid of the repercussions for their children or their neighborhoods if they say they don't agree with gay "marriage." When did it become wrong to have a different point of view? The real problem comes when we must agree or we are labeled "intolerant." I would not force others to believe as I do, though I would celebrate if they eventually did. I have a different point of view on this issue, but that does not mean I can't accept others who don't hold that point of view. My family managed to navigate this just fine with my favorite uncle who lived the gay lifestyle. To accept them I do not have to hold their point of view. This is the issue in a nutshell; I would like to love my neighbor and not be forced to have the same opinion as them.

Ron Oliver-Boyd,