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Letters

  • Copycat Republicans dangerous for city
    I have been a conservative since I was 21 years old. I am now 67. I have also been a blue-collar worker for my entire working life. I was a firefighter and am a general building contractor.
  • Repentant gays can find a home in the church
    It was disheartening to see in the July 20 paper the string of letters in favor of the homosexual lifestyle. Perhaps Jerry Ross (July 7) just gets tired of the way the issues are skewed by the media and others.
  • Dedicated professionals making schools work
    Any parent has an opinion about which schools his or her children should attend. It’s an important matter, as the article “Schools vital to choosing home” (July 20) outlined.
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Web letter by Joe Francis: Anti-gay marriage arguments have all been heard, refuted before

Wendell Brane’s Sept. 2 letter (“Redefining marriage poses grave threats”) raised a number of questions regarding changes to the definition of marriage. Although same-sex marriage is different from interracial marriage, the questions raised in the letter to the editor are the same kinds of questions that came up in the 1950s and 1960s.

Whether the issue is miscegenation or equal rights for gays and lesbians, the answers are still the same. Below, I’ve addressed Brane’s questions.

“The implicit argument being made is that marriage should be open to any two adults who love each other and are committed, whether heterosexual or homosexual. But how is this not discriminatory?” As when the anti-miscegenation laws were abolished, making marriage more inclusive doesn’t necessarily make it perfect. But it does make it less discriminatory than before, and that’s a worthwhile goal.

“Why only two?” Going back to biblical times, marriages permitted multiple wives, but over time marriage has changed, and it is currently between two people. Some people believed that the 1967 Loving decision that struck down miscegenation laws would somehow lead to polygamous marriages. That logic is as flawed today as it was then.

“Why only adults?” Although the marriage of children used to be allowed, one of the many improvements made to the institution of marriage over the years is that the civilized world has come to realize that marriage should be between consenting adults. Those parts of the world that still condone marrying children are the same parts of the world that are most firmly opposed to same-sex marriage. Perhaps they are motivated by misplaced fears that any change to marriage would harm the institution.

“Why only people?” For one thing, people can give consent, while animals cannot.

“Or for that matter, why must there be love and commitment?” Legally, I don’t think that love and commitment are currently required, but both are recommended for a healthy marriage. Their importance is too often forgotten. Anyone suggesting that love and commitment are to be de-emphasized when thinking about marriage is making a mistake.

The letter ends with the kind of statement that was often made by those opposing interracial marriages. “The efforts to expand the understanding of marriage, however innocent the intentions may be, will eventually render both the institution and the concept utterly meaningless.” That kind of statement was wrong in the 1960s, and it’s just as wrong today. The way to make marriage meaningless would be to fail to improve it.

At times in the past, marriage has been forced on unwilling participants, it’s been used to keep women subservient, and it’s been denied to people of different races. Thank goodness those mistakes of the past have been rectified. Many of us who honor and appreciate marriage look forward to another advancement.

JOE FRANCIS

Fort Wayne

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