While I disagree that education promotes promiscuity (Sidney D. Heidersdorf's letter to the editor on March 14), there is another, perhaps larger issue embedded in that letter. The idea that marriage between a man and a woman is the end goal of all of our relationships is becoming less and less widely accepted. Marriage can be a beautiful thing; I myself have made the choice to get married. But it's not for everyone.
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First, it's not available to every loving, monogamous couple. Our current debate about the discriminatory Marriage Amendment highlights this point.
Second, even for heterosexual couples that the state "allows" to marry, marriage is not always the right path. Some people choose not to marry because they believe it has inherent patriarchal overtones (the common practice of taking the man's last name, for example) or because they demonstrate their commitment in other ways. Some don't marry for financial reasons, some because they are intimidated by the high divorce rate and fear becoming a statistic.
All of these choices should be honored. No one should be shamed because she or he chooses not to enter into a legal contract binding oneself to another. Nor should these people be shamed for having sex with their partner (or partners). For everyone who makes the perfectly valid choice to have sex outside of marriage, contraceptive options should be freely available. Thank you to Planned Parenthood, Public Health and every other agency that provides reproductive choices for our community without judgment.