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Gay marriage comes to Oregon and Pennsylvania

May 21, 2014 - Andrea Johnson
The Associated Press reports today that North Dakota and South Dakota are now the only two states in the nation where lawsuits have not yet been filed challenging the constitutionality of a ban on gay marriage. That will probably not stay the case for long. Nationwide, bans on gay marriage are falling like dominoes. Oregon and Pennsylvania became the most recent states this week to allow gay marriage.

Gay marriage is currently legal in 18 states: California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington along with the District of Columbia. Illinois will join the list as of June 1. District court judges have overturned bans in Utah, Oklahoma, Virginia, Michigan, Idaho, Arkansas, and Texas, but gay marriage is on hold until appellate courts have ruled on appeals.

So what does North Dakota do when gay marriage becomes legal here, as it inevitably will? I think people who voted for the constitutional ban here years ago (I voted against it) will likely be surprised at how little fuss it will cause. No one else's rights to marry or not to marry a person of the opposite sex will be affected. Instead, a right will be given to a group of people who currently lack it.

It looks like the main objections to the legalization of gay marriage are coming from conservative religious groups. They fear, perhaps with some cause, that expressing disapproval of gay marriage could lead to lost job opportunities or political losses. There is considerable pushback from parent groups about introducing lessons about gay and transgender people into school curricula. If gay marriage is legal nationwide, it is likely that schools will be required to teach children about families that have two same sex parents and include the subject matter in sex education classes.

There are probably ways to address those concerns without leaving the subject matter entirely out of school curricula. For instance, I think the right to freedom of expression demands that kids who object to same sex relationships be permitted to say so in school, provided they are not using their objections as a way to be cruel to classmates or teachers. There is a clear difference between expressing an opinion and name-calling. I think kindergarteners, particularly kids who have classmates with two mommies or two daddies, probably should learn that families in our society come in different conglomerations and it is possible for a same sex couple to be legally married, just as it is possible for heterosexual couples to be married. That lesson doesn't prevent their parents from instilling the lesson at home that their children must be kind to all of their classmates, but the family has religious objections to the idea of same sex marriage.

Religious leaders will not be required to marry same sex couples, but it is certainly possible that secular businesses with some religious affiliation will be required to provide insurance for the same sex spouse of an employee. Private businesses probably will be more apt to require that all employees practice tolerance of gay colleagues. Society made similar adaptations to interracial marriage and the increasing numbers of women and minorities in the workplace four decades ago. Those changes didn't come entirely easily either, but I think they changed society for the better.

I will look forward to the day when the first North Dakota couple files a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of North Dakota's ban on gay marriage.

 
 

Article Comments

(30)

AndreaJohnson

May-30-14 3:46 PM

Once again, I do not have the ability to delete comments. The editor is the one who decides whether a comment is inappropriate and should be deleted.

JackAaah

May-28-14 1:02 PM

My gosh, another benign comment deleted by Andrea....since you only want your 'agenda' aired here, why not go the way James Lien does, and not allow ANY comments on your agenda?

And the comment was not attacking anyone...just that 'one person' making these decisions knows more than the whole of the ND voters combined....something to that effect...

PoeticJustice7

May-24-14 10:48 AM

It all Depends, Jack.

PoeticJustice7

May-24-14 8:11 AM

North Dakota is a very "special" place. (There's a reason why we're the least visited state AND the nation's beer guzzling capital.)

Even bearing that in mind, please remember -- that 70% was only 70% of the 50% who bothered to vote.

AndreaJohnson

May-24-14 1:26 AM

Judging by the comments on these forums and the fact that over 70 percent of North Dakotans approved a constitutional ban on gay marriage, there are many who object.

PoeticJustice7

May-23-14 10:05 PM

Exactly -- and 80 percent could care less who marries who -- or what other people do in the privacy of their own bedrooms. It's simply not something most folks spend a lot of time getting worked up about.

The new studies confirm an old truth. It's not news to point out that fear reveals fascination and hate is a twisted form of love.

Long ago, Shakespeare wryly noted, "The lady doth protest too much."

AndreaJohnson

May-23-14 2:14 PM

In addition, I'd add that I've taken a number of the implicit association tests that Ryan used in his study, mainly for fun. I don't think they're all that accurate. The results can vary based on typing speed, whether the person taking the test is distracted, and a dozen other variables. One test on race showed that I have a preference for blacks; one showed that I have no preference for blacks or whites. I got different results every time.

In any event, Ryan's study showed that about 20 percent of "highly straight" men showed some level of latent same sex attraction. That means 80 percent of them did not.

AndreaJohnson

May-23-14 1:45 PM

I've seen the studies you're talking about and I don't agree.

Most of the studies would suggest that the percentage of gays in the general population is around 2.5 to a high of 7 or 8 percent, depending on the age, location, and definition. A fair number of people probably choose to be celibate or to marry people of the opposite sex for various reasons. I think the higher percentage probably includes people who are bisexual, transgender, asexual etc. and have different sexual preferences and make different life choices than people who are strictly gay. In any event, it's a minority sexual preference. Attributing all opposition to homosexual behavior to "they just hate what they're attracted to" is pretty unlikely, given that opposition to gay marriage in this country hovers at around 45 to 50 percent nationwide. Gay marriage is legal primarily because courts have ruled constitutional amendments voted in by a popular vote unconstitutional.

PoeticJustice17

May-23-14 1:03 PM

Ms. Johnson:

You're free to disagree, but I have several studies to support my statement -- including a large scale study done in 2012 by Richard Ryan, a professor of psychology at the University of Rochester.

JackAaah

May-23-14 12:46 PM

". . . I must control you because I cannot control myself . . . "

PJ, and THAT is the precise reason that we of the Democrat Party feel we need to control the rest of the populous on ALL matters.

AndreaJohnson

May-23-14 11:15 AM

I don't have the ability to delete anyone's comments. That's an editorial function and the editor is the one who decides whether to delete a comment or not. I occasionally will click on the report abuse button and ask him to take a look at a comment, usually when someone has made a personal attack against another individual or is off topic or using offensive language. The comments are monitored, though we encourage the civil, free exchange of ideas.

Poetic Justice, I don't think your take on the reaction of those who oppose gay marriage is accurate in most cases. People can and do hold religious convictions against gay marriage and fear the impact of legalization on their own job opportunities and ability to raise their children freely. It doesn't mean they are all latent homosexuals.

JackAaah

May-23-14 9:41 AM

Andrea...you call your blog your 'Agenda'...but if I say something is your 'agenda', you delete the comment...

Why so thin-skinned? Seriously...

JackAaah

May-23-14 9:39 AM

Matt, government will not get out of ANY business...politicians thrive on being involved in our 'business'. Look at the tax code, it has essentially become a 'welfare code'. Every law written concerning it now envelopes welfare and gifts and redistribution.

To move us forword...

PoeticJustice7

May-22-14 5:59 PM

"They fear, perhaps with some cause, that expressing disapproval of gay marriage could lead to lost job opportunities or political losses."

Wrong. They fear that if they see two men kissing, it'll turn them on (again).

It's not unlike the men in some parts of the world who insist on controlling women and making them cover their bodies in a dark shroud.

. . . I must control you because I cannot control myself . . .

Allowing gays to marry is only a "slippery slope" to those Nervous Nellies who are light in their loafers to begin with.

AndreaJohnson

May-22-14 12:12 PM

I tend to agree with people who say marriage and the family unit are the underpinnings of civilization. The government probably does have a legitimate interest in marriage. It's just that I think those rights ought to be extended and that gays ought to be encouraged to marry and settle down and raise children, too. In the long run, it makes for a more stable society and more homeowners and taxpayers, benefiting the community as a whole.

MattRothchild

May-22-14 11:58 AM

This is what happens when you get government involved in an institution where they have no business getting involved. If you want your marraige to have certain legal "benefits", then you should put on your big boy pants and contract separately for that like everyone else.

But then again, this wouldn't be so hard if we didn't have this all penetrating taxation system that robs the People and wastes their money...

Government out of marriage.

JackAaah

May-22-14 11:09 AM

Z....now, you know that just is not 'accepting' behavior, of what you define....and if it is not accepted by you, don't you realize what that is called? 'Hate'....by those that are trying to forword the agenda...

AndreaJohnson

May-22-14 11:03 AM

If we want to branch out into that area of the discussion again, I'll say again that I would be perfectly fine with legalizing polygamy for consenting adults. For some people, like the FLDS and some Muslim groups, polygamy is done for religious reasons. The main problem with the practice is the potential for coercion and abuse, particularly with groups that push underage girls into polygamous marriage. Legalizing it might be a way to cut down on some of the abuses. It would probably be a tax and family court nightmare, too.

I also wouldn't have a problem with making marriage a purely civil affair, with religious ceremonies something that people choose to do or choose not to do privately. But I think they will always be called marriages by the vast majority of people.

May-22-14 10:19 AM

The US should handle this like most of Europe. You have a "civil union" that deals with all the legal issues of a couple. A marriage celebration in a church or other setting is optional, but not necessary. The civil union is not called marriage.

JackAaah

May-22-14 10:16 AM

Where is the civil rights of a man that wants to have multiple wives? A woman that wants to have multiple husbands? I'm willing to bet the vast majority of those that believe in 'civil rights' do not believe that to be a civil right....

'Civil Rights' really has become a bastardized term....again to forword my liberal and the Democrat Party liberal agenda...to move us forword...nothing to do with religion.

If it's just about love...why can't multiple partners share their love also without condemnation....why it that an obamanation, but gay marriage is not?

Maybe it's time for REAL 'civil rights'...

AndreaJohnson

May-22-14 9:48 AM

Not when it comes to civil rights.

redneck

May-22-14 9:32 AM

i thought it was majority rules at least that is what i am taxed by

redneck

May-22-14 9:29 AM

very true half of these people just jump on the ***** wagon because they see the attention the others get

AndreaJohnson

May-22-14 9:06 AM

Wally, it's certainly your right to say so and to refuse to associate with anyone you disapprove of and to try to have these judicial decisions overturned. I think this is a civil rights issue. The one concern I have is that people will try to retaliate in some fashion against people who hold different religious or political views on this issue. I don't think a free society can stand for that either. Freedom of expression and religion is a right for every American.

AndreaJohnson

May-22-14 8:55 AM

An 18 year old ( or older) heterosexual man can currently marry his 16 year old girlfriend in this state, provided that the girl's parents give permission. That is the case in most if not all of the 50 states. I imagine it is also the case with gays in states where gay marriage is legal.

 
 

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