Thursday, June 15, 2006

Geez, More on Marriage

Here's the text of a letter I wrote to the paper today. Of course they won't publish it.

Senator Vitter had me, then he lost me. As a “liberal” (he used the term 4 times in his diatribe against Stephanie Grace), I didn’t vote for him. Still, I’ve admitted to fellow liberal friends that I’ve been impressed with his work for the state following Katrina. In fact, I’ve sometimes wondered whether he got the memo that Republicans aren’t allowed to question the president and his handling of the situation.

But he’s back to form attacking the straw man of “radical” (he used that term twice) redefinition of marriage. If he’s so concerned about Ms. Grace’s alleged intellectual dishonesty, then maybe he should acknowledge a bit of his own.

Like many people who oppose gay marriage, he alleges the impending breakdown in values. He’s right that values, and their transmission, are not trivial, but nothing in the union of two people of the same sex inherently jeopardizes those values. What does jeopardize those values is treating some people in our society differently from others.

Vitter cites how we raise children, meet each other’s emotional needs, and transmit values as central to his motivation for his position. Those are fine motivations, but not for opposing gay marriage. Most gay couples I know would agree with his priorities, but not their outcome. Do gay couples who’ve been together for 40 years do a worse job transmitting positive values than the conservative heterosexuals who cheat or discard spouses for matters of convenience?

I suspect that Vitter’s real issue is either one of emotion—the idea gives him the creeps—or of expediency—he knows that the issue will score needed points in the midterm elections. I’m not sure which it is, but he doesn’t need to blame Stephanie Grace for pointing out that there are indeed far more pressing issues for our society and that his statement is an insult to the suffering people of our region.

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