In his June 11 column KSU Professor Melvyn Fein demonstrates his preference for the status quo — regardless of the morality of his position and without any regard for the facts. The role of “Big Brother” in society is fine for Fein, as long as it supports his conservative views. In defense of his position, he cites tradition and, of all things, habit. Tradition and habit have never been rational reasons for denying people the personal right to choose their own lifestyles, as long as they do not interfere with the safety or the rights of others.
Blue laws, segregation laws, separate-but-equal laws, slave laws — all supported tradition. Smoking in public places or any other place is a habit still practiced by many. Using racial slurs is a habit for many. Putting our trust in traditions and habits can be dangerous for society.
Fein suggests homosexual marriages would in some way be more arbitrary than unions between heterosexuals. However, in his editorial, although saying that “not all do” keep their marriage vows, Fein fails to note that almost 50 percent of all first marriages [heterosexual unions] end in divorce: certainly not a tribute to the sanctity of marriage. In fact, divorce has become a habit with some people.
Sadly, these divorces often result in a lack of commitment to the children born to those unions. Legalizing same-sex marriages will not increase these numbers.
When I was married 62 years ago by a preacher, I vowed to enter into a state of holy matrimony: a religious sacrament. God blessed our marriage; government provided the contract: the marriage license. The role of government should be to provide legal protection for those who enter into a lawful and binding contract to create a family unit: a contract that will protect both spouses and any children that become part of that family unit.
Government does not have the right to define who the parties of any contract can be. Defining a marriage as a union between a man and a woman will not reduce the number of divorces or provide support for the children of those couples who find they can no longer honor their vows.
Finally, government should not be asked or allowed to deny the privileges of freedom — life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness — to any of its citizens, regardless of race, gender, ethnicity, or sexual preference.