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In My Opinion... Marriage is Discriminatory

By Rebecca Kendall
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In my opinion, the state of marriage in the United States is discriminatory. Allow me to explain. All heterosexuals have a myriad of marital options available to them; a drive-by marriage (like the one Britney Spears enjoyed in 2004), a fantasy church wedding with 300 guests, or a private ceremony overlooking the ocean…pretty much any kind of event that two people can dream up. Hey, remember that Pac-Man themed wedding of the 1980s? That was totally awesome.

The federal government bestows upon all such unions the ultimate wedding gift of over 1100 benefits; among them, joint insurance coverage, next-of-kin status (essential in the event of hospitalization), and domestic violence protection. (See links).

Wedlock (and its subsequent benefits) is denied to the estimated 10 percent of our population who are homosexual. This is wrong. All citizens who choose to enter into a committed relationship should have the option to make it legal. And I’m not talking about a watered-down version of marriage, such as civil unions as allowed in Vermont, New Jersey and Connecticut or the domestic partnership law passed in Maine, California, Hawaii, Washington, and the District of Columbia; although it is a good start. I’m talking about 100 percent legally recognized in all 50 states, MARRIAGE, with all the benefits and trimmings. Full marriage rights are currently granted to all citizens of Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Iceland, Finland, The Netherlands, Belgium and Spain. Interestingly, the fabric of their societies remain as tightly woven as ever.

Some argue that the purpose of marriage is to create a family. I believe you don’t need to have children to be a family. My husband and I were married for nine years before children came into our life. I always considered him my family, and was rather offended when my mother once suggested otherwise. Any two people sharing a life and a home are a family. So, should we have refrained from tying the knot until deciding to have kids? I doubt those at the “Purpose Of Marriage Is To Have Kids” pulpit would prefer that we “live in sin.” What if we had decided to remain childless? Should we then divorce or refuse the 1100-plus marriage benefits granted by law? I’m confused, dear POMITHK people, what exactly are you saying?

Our children’s godparents are my oldest and dearest friend and his male partner of six years. They live in Virginia, where state law denies them the right to get married, enter into a civil union or register as domestic partners. In the event of my husband’s and my death, state law prohibits them from adopting our children. This discrimination doesn’t stop with the State of Virginia. It extends all the way to our federal government where these two law-abiding, taxpaying men are civil servants with nearly 20 years of combined service in the United States Senate, where they are not entitled to standard survivor benefits such as inheritance of their pensions and social security as is customary for any married U.S. Senate employee.

I’m not saying all gay couples should marry. Not all hetero couples should marry either. It should be a choice. And all our citizens should have the right to make that choice should they so choose.


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