A defining time for gay rights
Re “Justices view gay marriage with doubt,” April 29
In response to Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy’s question during oral arguments Tuesday about the definition of marriage being constant over “millennia,” time does not legitimize any prejudice.
As long as the human race has existed, there have been same-sex couples, generally cloaked in secrecy and in fear for their lives. To fight for their civil right to love and dignity in a committed union was virtually impossible until the last century. Only the advent of universal communication and its exposure of truth to the masses could begin to lift the veil of misunderstanding about same-sex relationships.
Today, most Americans find no cause to continue to deny this basic civil right. But as has also been true over time, the ignorance and hatred of a few will never diminish.
As with other cases of civil injustice set right by denying the tyranny of a minority view, so now too should the case for civil injustice to homosexuals be denied.
Marriage isn’t as big a deal as it once was. It’s no longer about legitimizing sex, children or living arrangements. Now it mainly gives a couple a tax status and some social support. The Supreme Court should probably take it off the list of fundamental constitutional rights.
Personally, I didn’t even realize “freedom to marry” was on the list when I argued at a national League of Women Voters convention that the group should support same-sex marriage. I gave statistics showing economic benefit, and the league adopted a supportive position for use in democratic processes.
There are valid points on both sides of the argument because men and women are different in meaningful ways. So it’s OK to let voters and their representatives set the parameters of civil marriage.
People now realize that there’s a very strong social and economic case for same-sex marriage. If Texans don’t care, let Texas suffer.
David A. Holtzman
Over the centuries, marriage has been a contract affording couples rights of property, inheritance, taxation and medical decisions that single people do not receive.
If Justice Kennedy has ever witnessed the treatment in an emergency room of a comatose “family-less” gay man and his lifelong partner, he would know why denying the rights of marriage to these people is not protecting them under the U.S. Constitution.
In coming to his decision, Kennedy must decide if he is weighing a “right” or a “word.” The right must be granted. The definition of the word can always be modified, just as the word “gay” has been since I was a happy little girl.