, Gloucester, MA

January 4, 2013

Letter: What does banning same-sex marriage accomplish?

Gloucester Daily Times

---- — To the editor:

The subject of the constitutionality or unconstitutionality of same-sex marriage can be interpreted and over-analyzed to the point where one loses sight of the important factors affecting this issue, which many believe is about fundamental civil rights and should primarily relate to evidence, history and legitimate state’s interests and not the will of the people or potentially a “tyranny of the majority.” In the end, the ultimate questions should be — How does allowing same-sex couples the right to marry harm individuals or society, and what would be accomplished by denying same-sex couples this right?

Up until 1967, there were laws in America prohibiting interracial marriage, which were actually supported by many, if not most, people at the time. In 1967, the Supreme Court did the right, albeit, unpopular thing, which was to rule that anti-miscegenation laws had no legitimate purpose outside of racial discrimination and violated the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

The Massachusetts State Supreme Court saw no distinction between the governmental and societal goals of traditional heterosexual marriage (to promote monogamous, committed, stable relationships between two people and to raise and nurture children for the benefit of society) and those of same-sex marriage. There have been no ill effects whatsoever from legalizing same-sex marriage in Massachusetts and the same can be said for all other states and countries that have done so.

Obviously, people can object to gay marriage and homosexuality itself on moral and religious grounds.

In America, we are certainly guided, in part, by Judaeo-Christian values that have served and continue to serve our society well. However, our laws are based largely on the “no harm rule” and relationships to legitimate state’s interests, not strict moral and religious doctrine. Does anyone really believe that allowing marriage equality in America will have any negative impact on our society, especially considering that our “sacred” traditional marriages have proven to be far less than perfect?

Like many people, I believe the optimal, ideal marriage is man and woman, bride and groom, husband and wife, and mother and father. However, without making moral or religious judgements that don’t relate to legitimate state concerns, it seems that denying same-sex couples the right to marry accomplishes nothing outside of discrimination against a certain class of people which constitutes a violation of the equal protection clause of the U.S. Constitution. Some federal courts have agreed and there is a chance the U.S. Supreme Court will follow suit — sometime in March. Many believe that leaving this decision to the states and people would be an infringement on basic liberties and on rights to equal and fair justice under the law.

P.M. Earl

Middle Street,