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Monday, October 29, 2012

Response to Matt Birk on gay marriage in Maryland

       Yesterday Ravens Center, Matt Birk, wrote an Op-Ed opposing the Marriage Equality referendum question in Maryland.  Matt maybe someone to admire for his football exploits but his reasoning on marriage equality has some major weaknesses.  Below is his arguments and my comments in italics, bold and in parenthesize:

       The union of a man and a woman is privileged and recognized by society as "marriage" for a reason, and it's not because the government has a vested interest in celebrating the love between two people. With good reason, government recognizes marriages and gives them certain legal benefits so they can provide a stable, nurturing environment for the next generation of citizens: our kids.

      Children have a right to a mom and a dad (loving parents), and I realize that this doesn't always happen. Through the work my wife and I do at pregnancy resource centers and underprivileged schools, we have witnessed firsthand the many heroic efforts of single mothers and fathers -- many of whom work very hard to provide what's best for their kids. But recognizing the efforts of these parents and the resiliency of some (not all, unfortunately) of these kids, does not then give society the right to dismiss the potential long-term effects on a child of not knowing or being loved by his or her mother or father. Each plays a vital role in the raising of a child. (False comparison to use single parenthood to oppose gay marriage with two parents.)  

      Marriage is in trouble right now -- admittedly, for many reasons that have little to do with same-sex unions (Then why bring it up in this discuss of the evils of marriage equality?). In the last few years, political forces and a culture of relativism have replaced "I am my brother's keeper" (except if he is gay and wants to marry) and "love your neighbor as yourself" with "live and let live" and "if it feels good, go ahead and do it." (How is this an argument against permitting two gay adults from strengthening their relationship by legalizing their union? Doesn't sound like "live and let live" to me.)

     The effects of no-fault divorce, adultery, and the nonchalant attitude toward marriage by some have done great harm to this sacred institution ( then your argument should be on outlawing no-fault divorce and adultery, not marriage equality.) How much longer do we put the desires of adults before the needs of kids? (Like by preventing children being parented by gay parents from having their union legalized because of your "adult" religious beliefs?) Why are we not doing more to lift up and strengthen the institution of marriage? (Like promoting marriage equality?)

     Same-sex unions may not affect my marriage specifically (then what gives you the right to deny marriage equality unless you will be harmed?), but it will affect my children -- the next generation. Ideas have consequences, and laws shape culture (Like denying legal rights to those people who are different from us.) Marriage redefinition will affect the broader well-being of children and the welfare of society. As a Christian and a citizen, I am compelled to care about both (and impose your Christian beliefs on everyone? Fifty years ago the same cultural argument was made against inter-racial marriage.  Has inter-racial marriage damaged the "welfare of society?")

     I am speaking out on this issue because it is far too important to remain silent. People who are simply acknowledging the basic reality of marriage between one man and one woman are being labeled as "bigots" and "homophobic." Aren't we past that as a society? (Not when religious intolerance is the only real argument against marriage equality.)  Don't we all have family members and friends whom we love who have same-sex attraction? Attempting to silence those who may disagree with you is always un-American, (legislating religious beliefs is also un-American) but especially when it is through name-calling, it has no place in respectful conversation.

     A defense of marriage is not meant as an offense to any person or group. All people should be afforded their inalienable American freedoms (unless you are gay). There is no opposition between providing basic human rights to everyone and preserving marriage as the sacred union of one man and one woman. (I would argue that marriage is a human right in the 21st century that you want to deny one group of people.)

      I hope that in voicing my beliefs I encourage people on both sides to use reason (how about using facts and statistics and not just your religious beliefs) and charity as they enter this debate. I encourage all Americans to stand up to preserve and promote a healthy, authentic pro marriage culture in this upcoming election (by recognizing marriage equality as being the only pro marriage question being addressed).

Dam at Lake Elkhorn overflowing.  Low land area around dam ready to be flooded.

P.S. 1
4500 people in Howard County without power at 2 pm Monday according to BG&E

 State of Emergency Declared for Howard County; the following offices & services will be closed/cancelled on Tues., 10/30:
 County Government will be closed, including offices, county parks, senior centers, community centers, libraries, and the health department.
- Trash and recycling pickup is cancelled.
- Howard County Public School System is closed, including offices.
- Howard Transit service is cancelled.
- Howard County Community College – classes and events are cancelled.
- Howard County Circuit Court is closed.
- All Columbia Association facilities will be closed.

All speed limits in Maryland are now 45 MPH.
Picture taken today in DC.  Gives new definition to "essential personnel."

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