To the editor:
My daughter, a wonderful woman working on medical research that helps save children’s lives and helps alleviate human suffering, wants to marry her partner of 20 years, a fine teacher at an excellent school and also a wonderful woman. As a loving parent, I am all for their desire to receive society’s approval on their relationship. I will happily and proudly attend any wedding they may have.
After attending an Referendum 74 forum in Oak Harbor, I now believe R-74 is the wrong way to solve the controversial and difficult issue of homosexual marriage. I am not a religious believer. I believe it’s time to “privatize” marriage. The First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States is one of the most important parts of our nation’s heritage. It protects the rights of religious believers to worship and practice their beliefs however they see fit. It also protects the rights of all citizens — religious believers and non-believers (such as myself) alike — to live in a civil, productive and peaceful society.
The solution to the debate I heard about what marriage should be is to separate the definition of “marriage” (essentially a religious term, defined in a variety of ways) from the definition of partnership relationships among human beings. Most commonly these relationships involve reproduction, child care and rearing, property, medical and end-of-life issues. Speaking as a person married for 46 years, I know that marriage, domestic partnership, civil union or whatever label we want to use to describe human relationships is a very difficult task. About 50 percent of marriages fail.
Let churches define marriage as their beliefs dictate. Churches should be free to marry or not marry anyone they see fit. Church marriage should have no legal standing. Society, using traditional and common sense definitions of marriage and domestic partnerships — permitted for consenting adult humans — should regulate these relationships as part of our civil law process. When adults alone are involved, these relationships are best regulated by contract law. When children are involved, society has a legitimate interest in protecting children’s welfare in regard to matters such as health and education. These are difficult issues involving contentious matters such as home schooling (which I do not oppose). These issues remain difficult no matter how we define marriage.