To the editor:
On September 21, 1996, President Bill Clinton, an opponent of same-sex marriage, signed the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which had passed in the Senate 85 to 14 and in the House of Representatives 342 to 67.
DOMA had two major effects, “No state (or other political subdivision within the United States) need treat a relationship between persons of the same sex as a marriage, even if the relationship is considered a marriage in another state, and, secondly, the federal government may not treat same sex relationships as marriages for any purposes, even if concluded or recognized by one of the states.”
Approximately 41 states have enacted similar legislation defining marriage as between one man and one woman while over 30 states have amended their constitutions to define marriage between one man and one woman, including the state of Wisconsin in 2006.
Massachusetts and Connecticut are the only two states that allow same-sex marriage and both were enacted by 4 to 3 Supreme Court decisions. The California Supreme Court on May 17, 2008, on a 4 to 3 decision, struck down a 2000 California voter referendum banning same-sex marriage, but that decision was overturned by the people of California with the passage of Proposition 8 in November 2008.
President-elect Barack Obama, who opposed Proposition 8, wants to completely repeal the federal DOMA.
For over 5,000 years, “society” has viewed homosexual conduct as abnormal behavior. It has been consistently condemned as a sin/offense against God by many of the major religious traditions. Up until 1973 the American Psychiatric Association had classified homosexuality as a mental disorder.
There is no doubt that homosexuals have been harshly treated and victims of unwanted crimes against their humanity. Their dignity as human beings created in God’s image has been forgotten by many who should know better, but the question remains, should their homosexual conduct/behavior/relationship be rewarded with the benefits of marriage?
I believe most people of good will would say no. Don’t be misled by the fiery rhetoric coming from gay rights groups, Hollywood elites, and influential media who say people who oppose same-sex marriage are nothing but a bunch of bigots and hate mongers.
This is not bigotry or intolerance but an adherence to God’s law, natural law, and the “common sense” meaning of what marriage is: One man and one woman in a lifelong commitment with an openness to children.
Patrick Hardyman, Blanchardville