Thursday, January 06, 2005

Mean Spirited

It's the only words I can think to describe this Arizona Constitution amendment initiative the state legislature is planning to put on the 2006 ballot against gay marriage. Yeah, we knew it was coming. Yeah, it's no different than the other measures that passed in places like Kentucky and Ohio. But still, seeing it in my state, my home that I love, in print, makes my blood boil. It's hard for me to find words to express my outrage.

Arizona's measure is being modeled on the Ohio amendment, which says state and local governments "shall not create or recognize a legal status for relationships of unmarried individuals that intends to approximate the design, qualities, significance or effect of marriage."

Why? Why go to such lengths? How can this be anything short of vindictive? It's one thing if you think marriage should be limited to a certain definition. I don't agree, but fine, whatever. But to make it illegal for towns to pass their own laws that confer benefits on domestic partners? To take away rights already hard won? And the language could go much further. If the state can't "recognize a legal status" for relationships, does that mean that couples can't even draw up contracts to protect themselves in case one is hospitalized? For community property after death? It's unfair enough that they should have to go to those lengths at all when all I had to do was sign my marriage license and all the other stuff like hospital visitation, the right to make health care decisions for my husband if he's incapacitated, etc. came automatically, but at least now same-sex couples have this option. If this amendment passes in 2006? I shudder to think the devastation this will inflict on people's lives. Actually, I already know because I have friends in Kentucky affected by the new laws there.

To my fellow Arizonans, particularly my fellow Christians, I urge you to really think about this between now and November 2006. Do you really want to be in the business of deciding for others how to live their lives? Do you really want to be in the business of putting up legal barriers between people who love each other? Is that really what Jesus would do? The same Jesus who stopped the legal execution of an adulteress by reminding us we are all sinners and who told his followers to separate their obligations to God and state by giving to Caesar what is Caesar's and God what is God's? Can you really envision Jesus campaigning to impose laws instead of changing hearts?


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