In support of same-sex marriage

By Courier Publications Editorial Board | Oct 25, 2012

Once again, Maine voters are being asked to voice an opinion on the topic of same-sex marriage, and we encourage a 'yes' vote.

Everyone deserves happiness. Adult couples who are committed to each other and want to be married should be allowed to do so regardless of their sexual orientation and without being singled out as domestic partners. They should be given every benefit of marriage, something a civil union does not always do.

Scare tactics being used in television commercials opposed to same-sex marriage are just that: scare tactics, and fear doesn't tend to bring out the best in people.

No church official will be forced to perform a same-sex marriage against their will; nor will churches or other organizations lose their tax-exempt status for refusal. Business owners will not be forced to host weddings or receptions; though they will not be allowed to cite a couple's sexual orientation as the cause for denial, something that's already prohibited.

Why would giving people new freedoms put anyone in danger of losing their jobs, as some commercials suggest?

A television commercial in favor of same-sex marriage makes a good point: as children, we want to get married someday, not have a civil union. While civil unions are a step in the right direction, they still do not provide all of the protections of marriage. Any husband/wife would expect to be allowed to make medical decisions on behalf of their partner and be considered an equal parent to any children.

Same-sex marriage is a historic issue we will likely look back on someday and wonder why it took so long to become legal. Think about the history of our country — there was a time when slavery was widespread and condoned, women were considered lesser to men and not allowed to vote, interracial couples and children were shunned. These are the kinds of things we have a hard time understanding today.

As our country matured and we as a people matured, understanding dawned that people are different; we aren't cookie cutters of each other and we don't all want the same things out of life. Some straight couples choose not to be married. Some people choose not to become parents. Some single parents adopt children. Are they told by the government they must get married or have children, or banned from doing so? Then why should the state deny same-sex couples the choice to marry?

Even if same-sex marriage is approved in Maine, it still is an uphill battle across the rest of the country. Only a handful of states currently recognize same-sex marriages; outside the borders of the state they were married in, couples often still are discriminated against and their legal marriages in their home states are not considered valid.

We know these are not the arguments that change hearts and minds on this issue. What has really caused soul-searching in our culture is the fact that we're not talking about some anonymous group. We're not talking about "those people." We're talking about many of our sons and daughters, nieces and nephews, friends and neighbors, brothers and sisters. We can struggle to hold onto a past where these people we love weren't tolerated, but many of us have become convinced the price of writing a whole group of people off, of severing important relationships, is just too high.

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