Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Major NH Newspaper Endorses Marriage Equality

The Concord Monitor published an editorial today ("Don't Tamper With Same-Sex Marriage Law") pointedly demolishing the ridiculous arguments that conservative Republicans in the state have been making to bolster their drive to legislatively repeal New Hampshire's marriage equality law despite the fact that vast majorities of state residents oppose their efforts in published polls.
• Marriage is between one man and one woman. This is more of a declaration than an actual argument. In fact, it's a declaration of bigotry. After all, who gets to define marriage? Those already married? Without a compelling reason to deny marriage to gay people, a statement like this is hard to take seriously.
• But marriage has been restricted to heterosexuals for thousands of years. Many traditions outlive their usefulness. Slavery was an ancient practice too, after all. So was barring women from participation in politics. Once upon a time, people with disabilities were routinely locked away in institutions. Mercifully, times change.
• Marriage is for procreation. In many cases, yes. But infertile, straight couples marry all the time. So do those uninterested in having kids. Those past their child-bearing years aren't forced to divorce. Having children isn't the only thing that brings couples together.
• Same-sex couples don't do as good a job raising children. There are all sorts of good parents and, alas, a wide variety of bad ones, too. Sexual orientation has nothing to do with it. Nor is there a legislative push to ban other sorts of truly bad parents - child molesters, bank robbers - from marrying. No doubt each of New Hampshire's 424 legislators has among his or her constituents gay couples raising children just fine. Examples that disprove this worry are easy to find.
• Same-sex marriage will start us down a slippery slope toward legalized polygamy and incest. No sign of this so far - in New Hampshire or in the places where gay marriage has a longer history. This is simply a scare tactic. In the off chance that they are actually presented with legislation proposing such notions, lawmakers could simply vote no.
• Gay relationships are immoral. Some religions do preach that. But lawmakers must represent all their constituents, not just those who share their religious beliefs. And they must not impose their own religious beliefs on their constituents. Freedom from religion is just as important as the freedom of religion.
• Same-sex marriage threatens the institution of marriage. In fact, encouraging marriage simply . . . encourages marriage. Hard to see how the gay marriage next-door threatens the straight marriage under your roof. Hard to imagine that the legalization of gay marriage is dissuading straight people from getting married or encouraging them to split up.
It should be fascinating that the two states to vote in the Presidential primary (New Hampshire and Iowa) both already have marriage equality. Hopefully this fact and the Republican candidates and the mainstream media will intersect at some point.

Hat/tip to TowleRoad.

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