SHOULD VERMONT CREATE SAME SEX MARRIAGE? NO!
In a case that could be as
important and ominous as Roe v. Wade, the Vermont Supreme Court announced a
decision before Christmas that was no gift to the fragile institution of
marriage, nor to children who the court permits to be tossed aside by the
selfishness of parents.
The court held a gun to the head of
Vermont's legislature, ordering it to pick the barrel it will be shot from.
Pick Barrel A and pass America's first law creating ''same-sex marriage.''
Or pick Barrel B to confer on homosexual and lesbian couples, all the rights
of marriage without the name, calling same-sex unions, ''domestic
Why? In a nonsensical ruling, the
court concluded that the historic meaning of marriage as a union of one man
and one woman, violated Vermont's 1793 constitution! There is no language in
the constitution giving same-sex unions special status. When it was adopted,
the homosexual act of sodomy, was proscribed by law. In fact, sodomy was a
crime until 1977.
But the constitution states that
''all the people should be afforded all the benefits and protections
bestowed by government.'' The court read into those two century-old words,
the right of same-sex couples to be married, though they cannot procreate.
A global Wirthlin survey found that
84 percent agree that ''The definition of marriage is one man and one
woman.'' It is a mysterious relationship, melding two people of different
genders who create a union of unique potential strength of inimitable value
to society. The essence of marriage is the integration of a universe of
different genders which are profound and subtle, biological and cultural,
psychological and genetic, spiritual and physical.
Marriage is also the natural and
wholesome environment in which children are conceived, born, nurtured
patiently for decades by a mother and father who love them selflessly and
sacrificially. It is particularly for these vulnerable children, that
society has passed laws to protect and cherish the small civilization called
Sadly, heterosexual couples have
become increasingly cavalier about marriage. Since 1960, divorces tripled
and marriage rates have fallen by a third, while the number of cohabiting
couples has soared ten-fold. The consequences have been devastating. A third
of babies are born out-of-wedlock, and half of those born in wedlock will
see their parents divorce.
Half of children living with a
single parent are in poverty. They are three times more likely to fail a
grade or become pregnant as teens as those from intact two-parent homes, and
are four times more likely to be expelled or suspended from school.
These failures do not call for
legalizing same-sex marriages, but for reforms in the way couples are
prepared for a lifelong marriage, strengthened in existing ones, and helped
to restore marriages headed for divorce. The clergy of 119 cities have
adopted such reforms in Community Marriage Policies slashing divorce rates
in dozens of cities.
Should two lesbians or two
homosexuals be allowed to adopt children? I don't think so, because a child
deserves to be nurtured by both a mother and father. Sadly, Vermont agreed
to gay adoption five years ago, which was cited by Vermont's Supreme Court
as a reason to permit gay marriage or its equivalent ''domestic
Each step away from traditional
marriage creates a slippery slope with no standards. If two homosexuals can
parent a child, how about menage a trois, or two couples who bed swap?
Homosexual sex puts men at high
risk of contracting AIDS and many other sexually transmitted diseases.
People must be allowed to choose their sex partners. But the law should not
elevate same-sex couples to the same status as a married couple, when the
result is that it will literally condemn many to early, agonizing death.
In giving same-sex partners health
benefits or tax advantages, taxpayers would be forced to subsidize what many
abhor. When Hawaii and Alaska courts ruled same-sex marriages were legal,
they were overturned by referenda in both states by 2-1 margins.
What's the solution?
Vermont's legislature should ignore
orders of its Supreme Court to create either same-sex marriages or
equivalent domestic partnerships. It can dig in its heels. After all, the
court didn't strike down any law; it only commanded twisted remedies.
''There is something inherently
overweening, non-adjudicative and political about such a decision. The
legislature should resist this seizure of power,'' writes David Coolidge,
director of the Marriage Law Project in ''The Weekly Standard.''
The U.S. Supreme Court, in the 1888
case, Maynard v. Hill, concluded marriage is ''the foundation of the family
and society, without which there would be neither civilization nor
The institution of marriage needs
Copyright 2000 Michael J. McManus.