Gay Marriage: The Long View

To the Editor:

Re “Spitzer Starts a Polite Debate” [May 7]:

I once heard an attorney say, “It’s all about how you pose the question.” In the debate on same-sex marriage, there seem to be two camps: 1) the “defense of marriage” camp, and 2) the “marriage equality” camp. The former asserts that marriage is an institution that needs protection from those who seek to undermine it (i.e., gays or “them”), while the latter asserts that it’s not a question of “gay rights” but rather “human rights,” and that no one can be excluded from exercising their right to what has lately been termed “the Pursuit of Happyness.”

Despite my decision to perpetuate my family’s status as multi-generation Republicans, I must admit that I see the point liberals are making. I definitely have some stances considered conservative on the usual “hot-button” issues such as abortion and the like, but I realize that many of my positions are based on my interpretation of the Bible. With this in mind, I also understand that the separation of church and state is more or less a constitutional fundamental. Therefore, I may hold whatever values I choose, and have the right to structure my life according to those values, but my rights end when it comes to controlling the lives of my fellow citizens.

Although I may have vehement views on the issues of race as an African-American woman, I understand that if the Ku Klux Klan wants to peacefully assemble, they have the right to do so unequivocally, regardless of what I believe they stand for.

We too often forget that a central role of our government sometimes involves protecting an unpopular minority from an oppositional majority. This is the case with what I will term the “atypical marriage” issue.

If two American citizens decide to live their lives together and proceed to go to college, pay taxes, and find a way to form and raise a family, then good for them. These people ask for nothing but the right to visit one’s significant other in the hospital when that person is hit and injured by (let’s say) a bus—or, worse, a person who can’t accept their “lifestyle choice.” The church is not being asked to sanction anything. These individuals want civil rights, not “special entitlements.” Nor do they want to impose their lifestyle on others; they really want to be left the hell alone.

Among others, the “majority” has historically oppressed: Amerindians, Jews, blacks, Irish-Americans, Asian-Americans (think transcontinental railroad and concentration camps on the west coast of the United States), Mormons (who migrated from the Eastern Seaboard to Utah to find peace), women, Hispanics, the average American blue-collar professional (think Pinkerton detectives)—and now, gays. (Please note how it is still grammatically correct to leave “blacks,” “women” and “gays” lower-cased.) The question I would pose is: Who will we discriminate against next?

Robin Allen
Manhattan