Friday, October 17, 2008


America has made great strides in eliminating inequality. And as a melting pot of diversity we pride ourselves in trying to accept all people regardless of sex, race or religion. But we don’t melt ourselves into one gender, one color, one mold. We allow distinctions to be made without taking equality from those distinctions. We call a human being a man or a woman without saying that either is less human. A person can be Jewish, Muslim or Buddhist and still be equal to an atheist or Mormon. The different name connotes exactly that, differences, without making one more or less equal. And because same-sex partnerships are different than traditional marriages, they should be called something different--not to take away equality but to distinguish between two different types of unions.

Every time a heterosexual couple has sexual relations, there is usually a chance that a child could be born. (Obviously with birth control, age and other factors this chance can be greatly reduced, even eliminated.) But for many there is still some risk of creating a child, even with the best of plans to prevent it. That risk, is why society created marriage – to protect expected and unexpected children.

There should be a distinction between the type of union (one between same-sex partners) that outside intervention to have a child and the type of union (a man and a woman) that takes continuous planning not to have a child. One union is much riskier when it comes to creating children. Homosexual and heterosexual love may be equal, but the possibility of an unexpected child is not equal.

Another factor that is not equal is the thousand-year-old definition of marriage. All literature since the beginning of written language uses very similar definitions for the terms marriage, wife and husband. By calling the very new idea of homosexual unions “marriage” dilutes the word “marriage” and completely destroys the words “husband” and “wife,” which will become archaic and meaningless. We will have to explain to our great grandchildren when they read literature that “wife,” used to mean a woman that was married to a man.

I like the word “wife.” It means I am a woman, I am married to a man, I am taking a risk with my body if I accidentally get pregnant whether I have the child or not. That’s one of the reasons women get married to men, because the risks of having sex with a man are so great, that they want to be married.

When Martin Luther King fought for the rights of all Americans, he didn’t try to take away rights from some and give them to others. He tried to make America fair for all. If homosexual couples are allowed to call their unions marriage, they are taking the words “marriage” and “wife” from me. It’s kind of like calling all soft drinks Cokes. If I’m a Pepsi, I don’t want to be called a Coke. Though the differences are slight, there are differences.

Homosexuals can register as partners. They could even come up with a new word if they don’t like the word "partnership." And maybe because lesbian couples are different from gay male couples, they might want to come up with two terms. But please, we can protect the rights of all and still protect the definition of marriage. One man, one women, maybe some children if all goes right or not. That’s the risk we have called "marriage" for eons.

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