Paula Cochran is a member of the board of the Central Susquehanna chapter of the ACLU of PA.
All deserve to be treated fairly
What makes you queasy?
Marriage can mean a man and a woman making a lifetime commitment and the possibility that the relationship will produce offspring. Yet, we don’t take a marriage licence from those who choose not to, or find they cannot, produce offspring. Just as we do not take a marriage licence from those who adopt because they lack a shared genetic make up with their child (and yes, we do consider it their child). Nor do we deny marriage licences to those who divorce and choose to remarry, once, twice or three times.
A letter to the editor in The (Sunbury) Daily Item recently stated that the writer can “understand gays and lesbians entering into economic interdependence” though the thought of gay couples “engaging in some form of physical union” makes him queasy. Yet, there is no legal requirement for heterosexual couples to assure their choice of “physical union” won’t make the rest of us queasy. And who would get to decide which forms of “physical union” qualify as queasy and thus, make one ineligible for a marriage license?
At least fifty percent of Americans grew up in a family where the parents got divorced. In my family there were three. All heterosexual marriages and divorces, I might add. Anti-gay marriage advocates believe that legalizing gay marriage will destroy the definition of family, which they define as “a stable, two-parent, male-female home.” Yet the divorce rate in the US hovers at around 50% for first marriages, 67% for second marriages and 74% for third marriages. Almost 50% of children live in a single parent family and another 30% live in either a step or cohabiting family. That means 68.7% of American youth live in a nontraditional family already.
If gay marriage becomes legal will it mean heterosexual marriages will fall apart and we’ll find 68.7% of our children living in non traditional settings? No. We already have that. Will it mean that marriage will no longer “imply procreation?” Or do moral, responsible, stable, two-parent, male-female heterosexual couples only have sex for procreation but gay people do it just because it feels good? Now I’m beginning to feel a bit queasy.
So, what would be the consequence of gay marriage? Gay people would get the same legal benefits heterosexual couples get. It’s not a moral or ethical question. It’s a legal question. That question is: Do all people, by law, deserve to be treated fairly?