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 Contents: UU World Back Issue

Distinctive voices in the debate

by John A. Rakestraw Jr.

This issue of UU World provides ample evidence that the topic of same-sex marriage has prompted passionate and sometimes less than thoughtful debate. Here are some distinctive voices in that debate that might have gotten lost in the din of sound-bites:

“It was so cool. I always accepted that 'Yeah, they're my moms,' but they were actually getting married. I felt thick inside with happiness. Just thick.”
—Gabriel Damast, 13, recalling the recent San Francisco marriage of his two mothers. Gabriel served as ringbearer during the ceremony. Quoted in the New York Times, March 19.

“If the KKK opposes gay marriage, I would ride with them.”
—The Rev. Gregory Daniels, African American pastor of the United Truth and Change Church in Chicago, Illinois, at a press conference in support of President Bush's call for a U.S. constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage, February 25, quoted in the New York Times, March 1.

“I just say to the president, 'Come out and meet with the three-plus thousand couples that have committed themselves to one another, committed to a long-term loving relationship with equal status, the same status that he and his wife are afforded. And recognize the spirit and the pride that comes with that.'”
—Gavin Newsom, San Francisco mayor. Quoted in the New York Times, February 19.

“As a Catholic, I would never vote to diminish the sanctity of the church sacrament of marriage. As a human being, I will never vote to deny someone their equal rights. It is my belief that the only requirement of civil marriage is enduring love and respect.”
—Mark Montigny, Massachusetts state senator. Quoted in the Boston Globe, February 11.

“No clergy of any denomination are required to wed anyone of whose union they do not approve: There is no civil right to be married in church or with its blessing. The civil law is just that, and the distinction between it and ecclesiastical law is as important as the necessary distinction between church and state. Surely, after two years of protracted debate between church law and civil law in the child-abuse scandals we should appreciate the necessity of these distinctions.

“It is to the civil rights of the citizens of Massachusetts that the Supreme Judicial Court responded in the Goodridge case, and this was no attack on the church, nor on religion. It was recognition that the social custom restricting marriage to heterosexuals, a custom long sanctioned by church and society, was no longer to be regarded as consistent with the rights of citizens under the constitution.”
—The Rev. Professor Peter J . Gomes, minister of Harvard University's Memorial Church, in the Boston Globe, February 8.

“What I see in this is hate. I'm a Christian, but if we put this in the Constitution, what's next? People with dark hair? You're opening the floodgates for people to promote their own prejudice.”
—Rep. Georganna Sinkfield of Atlanta, one of Georgia's ten African American legislators, all of whom oppose same-sex marriage but who voted against a constitutional amendment banning it. Quoted in the New York Times, March 3.

 Contents: UU World Back Issue
: 47

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