Don't legislate personal beliefs

Letter to the editor

Posted: Tuesday, March 07, 2006

"Go get health care on your own."

Rarely have I heard such an observably callous and bigoted expression escape the lips of a practiced public servant. Implied in this phrase and the legislative bill, introduced by Mr. Coghill and co-signed by Mr. Lynn, is that being a practicing homosexual derogates your worth regardless of the quality of character you possess.

Equality (in this case equal compensation for equal work) is a fundamental civil right currently protected (I emphasize "protected," not "granted") by our constitution. But if this action is sanctioned by our Legislature and the people of this state, we will have countenanced ignorance and discrimination.

Marriage exists with two faces. On one hand, marriage is an institution of religious purview, but on the other hand, it is wholly legal in nature. This proposed constitutional amendment is nothing more than a punitive action against a minority population daring to demand the rights to which they are entitled. Codependence exists regardless of marital technicalities. For instance, two people may buy a house together, raise children together and emotionally bolster each other over a lifetime, but they may never officially declare their connectedness. Why should humanistic criteria such as these not be sufficient to establish whether or not a relationship is permanent enough for social benefits to be apportioned?

Additionally, a man and a woman may engage in a marriage devoid of any religiously inspired moral ethic, simply by signing a few papers. Such a union may be loving and rich or may be comparable to a business transaction. Who is to say that the relationship shared by me and my wife is worth more to our community then that of two men or two women who, by circumstance, are gay?

If our public officials wish to "protect the institution of marriage" (a puerile notion at best), action should be taken to address dysfunctional unions, bellicose divorces and abuse in the home, rather than defend ambiguous or, worse, arbitrary mores.

Mr. Coghill and Mr. Lynn are entitled to their personal beliefs in regard to homosexuality and marriage, but it is deleterious and inappropriate for them to legislate their individual moralities while disregarding civil rights. Marriage on its face holds no guarantees about the two people enjoined; therefore it should not be the sole criteria governing the rights of an individual and their dependents.

Jared Jacobson

Juneau



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