Special Session on Gay Marriage Is Needless Expense
Marriage needs no defense. I just wish more people took it seriously.
So many things irritate me about the proposed state constitutional amendment to define marriage as a union between a man and a woman that I don't know where to start.
First, the cost of a special session of the N.C. General Assembly bothers me. For a state as impecunious as North Carolina, it strikes me as silly to call a special session largely to consider amending the constitution in a deliberate attempt to discriminate against a small minority of the population.
Legislative leaders tout themselves as fiscally conservative, then call a costly special session. True, other items will be considered at the Sept. 12 session, but most appear to involve votes to override the governor's vetoes, something that could have been done before the first adjournment in June.
It's tempting to blame this entirely on Republicans, who control just about all seats of government these days. They push hot-button issues such as same-sex marriage and abortion because these subjects are likely to attract the attention of sluggish voters.
Reports that the public is demanding the right to vote on this issue baffle me. I know many people who regard homosexuality as sinful, but most are using religion as an excuse to defend personal fear and prejudice. I don't hear droves of people demanding a referendum on a constitutional amendment.
On the other hand, Democrats have no outstanding record when it comes to same-sex marriage. They tend to turn wimpish when the subject arises.
As for marriage, I approve of the institution. I wanted to stay married, but my husband died, ending a happy marriage after less than 33 years.
The trouble today is that fewer heterosexuals are opting for marriage. It's not exactly clear why. Is it because so many marriages end in divorce?
Divorce is traumatic, physically and emotionally, and costly. Besides, a marriage license costs $60, more than half of which goes into funds to prevent child abuse and domestic violence.
Of course, that $60 is just a footnote when it comes to the enormous sums spent on elegant weddings and receptions. The tab often exceeds $100,000, a figure that may be on the low side in many cases. Such expense is too far above my head, much less my pocketbook.
Weddings have traditionally been occasions for festivity, and indeed they should be times to express joy. Remember that Jesus' first recorded miracle occurred at a wedding in Cana. But today's weddings shouldn't cost so much that the bride's parents must take out a second mortgage to foot the bills.
Somehow I don't think it's cost that leads so many of today's couples to reject tradition and decide to live together unmarried, even bearing children without concern for innumerable legal obstacles.
North Carolina law already discriminates against homosexuals, and we certainly don't need to clutter our constitution with another bad amendment that is not essential to public health and welfare. The odd thing is that one of the practical reasons for marriage, aside from the spiritual aspect, is protection of public health and welfare. The same should apply to same-sex couples.
Instead of attacking people because they're different, we ought to concentrate on correcting problems afflicting heterosexual marriage. Right now, it appears that homosexuals are the only folks clammering for marriage. Young heterosexuals appear to be abandoning a worthy tradition.
It's human nature to fear people who are different, whether by race, ethnicity, religion or sex. That doesn't mean we have license to attack them or discriminate against them. They have a right to privacy, just as we do.
Contact Florence Gilkeson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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