Letters to the Editor

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MARRIAGE: We don’t live in a theocracy

Letter by Larry Hegstad, Tacoma on June 18, 2012 at 11:54 am with 51 Comments »
June 18, 2012 2:13 pm

Over 200 years ago our country’s forefathers created a new democracy. In their debates they wisely rejected the concept of a theocracy. One only has to witness the civil wars today over different religious interpretations to appreciate the wisdom of that decision.

The forefathers also recognized that in a democracy, there is an inherent risk that the majority may enact laws that deny a minority of basic human rights that should be enjoyed by all people. Our nation’s Bill of Rights was a brilliant response to that risk. It ensures that the majority cannot deny a minority basic human rights.

Today’s debate regarding marriage equality is a discussion over extending basic human rights to all citizens. Married couples in Washington state have many legal rights that are currently denied to partners that are not recognized as “married” by the legal system. Washington state’s same-sex marriage bill remedies that situation.

To focus the debate on varying religious interpretations of marriage ignores the Bill of Rights. Arguing over how many angels are on the head of a pin has no place in a debate that is fundamentally about which citizens are to be granted the basic human rights that our country’s founders promised to all its citizens.

Leave a comment Comments → 51
  1. aislander says:

    I’ve noticed that the proponents of same-sex “marriage” love to battle against straw men by asserting that the only arguments for opposing changing the definition of marriage are religiously based, while ignoring arguments that are not.

  2. menopaws says:

    Either we believe in our Constitution and the Bill of rights—or we don’t. But, he is right—it was created to protect everyone and we don’t get to pick and choose who is eligible for equality. Worship in your church, but respect the laws that govern all of us–religious or not. If you want a theocracy–leave this country……..Pretty simple.

  3. What argument is there against Gay Marriage that isn’t religion based?

  4. Also, a straw man argument is an arguing a point your opponent isn’t making. There are plenty of people trying to make the Religious Argument, which means you are misusing the term.

  5. taxedenoughintacoma says:

    The soft minded progressives that write these letters and post here are preaching to their choir. The mainstream residents tat make up the majority won’t speak out because they are afraid of the name calling by these liberal groups. Just like all the other states people will vote their true hearts in the privacy of their home and will vote to REJECT gay marriage in WA State. Here is a list of the reasons why.

    It Is Not Marriage

    It Violates Natural Law

    It Always Denies a Child Either a Father or a Mother

    It Validates and Promotes the Homosexual Lifestyle

    It Turns a Moral Wrong into a Civil Right

    It Does Not Create a Family but a Naturally Sterile Union

    It Defeats the State’s Purpose of Benefiting Marriage

    It Imposes Its Acceptance on All Society

    It Is the Cutting Edge of the Sexual Revolution

    It Offends God

  6. 1. That is not a fact, that is an opinion.

    2. See #1.

    3. By definition, no one can be born without a mother and father.

    4. It doesn’t promote anything. It allows choices.

    5. Religious argument.

    6. So do senior citizen marriages. Infertility guarantees a Naturally Sterile Union.

    7. State doesn’t have a purpose to benefit marriage. It merely recognizes legal rights for married couples.

    8. Huh? No one is saying you have to be gay. Complain about it all you want.

    9. You say that like it is a bad thing.

    10. Religious argument. God plays no part in our Constitution.

  7. Fibonacci says:

    Last I read 51% of Washington citizens were in favor of allowing gays to marry. That does not support your argument that in their true hearts they are opposed. Personally, i agree, marriage is between a man and a woman. I have gay friend that went through a “marriage” . Now, to me, they are not married but in their eyes they are. And guess what, they don’t care what I think, it is none of my business. Their marriage does most affect one one bit.

  8. bobcat1a says:

    The soft minded conservatives that write these letters and post here are preaching to their choir. The mainstream residents that make up the majority won’t speak out because they are afraid of the name calling by these conservative groups.

    Just as valid as yours, taxed.

  9. taxedenoughintacoma says:

    Fib said about a recent poll “Last I read 51% of Washington citizens were in favor of allowing gays to marry”.

    Haven’t the polls in Wisconsin and North Carolina taught you anything? Well let me school you. I was called for one of these polls. I told the caller I was all for gay marriage. I didn’t want to go on a democrat hit list as a so called hater. Don’t you know that when asked about gay marriage, obama or unions many just say, “I am OK with that” because it’s not PC to say anything else. It’s like if you say anything bad about obama you have to be a racist.

    But when I vote I will reject gay marriage, unions and obama. I am with the real majority on all of these ballot measures.

    Ask yourself this question. “Why didn’t the WA State legislature and the gov. NOT want the voters to vote on gay marriage? Answer, they know the outcome of such a vote.

  10. aislander says:

    I’m typing slowly for the benefit of krummm. They’re straw-man arguments because they ignore the non-religious arguments that I and others have made, choosing instead to address the religious arguments we did not make but that were nevertheless imputed to us.

    Got it?

  11. frankiethomas says:

    Most of the non religious arguments seem to really be arguments that could be used to outlaw marriages for barren women, infertile men, etc., or should outlaw the practice of divorce. So if it’s all about procreation and every kid being raised by a mom and a dad, the way the heteros are doing it isn’t passing muster.

  12. aislander says:

    frankiethomas: I’m sure you mean well (not for the culture, of course, but generally), but you have put up another straw-man argument by giving your summary of OUR arguments without really giving our arguments.

    That’s really not cricket, now is it?

  13. aislander, you have not posted one fact-based argument against gay marriage. Please do so, I would love to see one.

    Every single one of your arguments has been an opinion, myth or fantasy.

    You have the right to your opinions, whatever theya re based on, but I take the term “argument” in its debate meaning. One must have factual support for an “argument” and so far, we have seen none from you or others that claim gay marriage is harmful or not “natural” or is not included in your private definitiion of marriage.

  14. Well I don’t want to live in a theocracy either, and despite my “opinion” that the strength of this nation lies in the stability of a traditonal family unit…Mother (female) + Father (male) + children (if mother and father are so blessed) I will always honor the rights of gay couples. I will not officially “validate” gay marriage with my vote, though. That’s called having INTEGRITY…when what you believe matches what you do.

    My chief complaint in these discussions has been the false presumption that those who oppose gay marriage hate gay people or are “phobic” about their sexual orientation. That is simply not true for many…indeed most of the people I know who hope to see our society remain traditional in its values regarding home and family.

  15. commoncents says:

    Integrity would be making sure that all legal and economic benefits afforded to a married straight individual are accorded to gay couples in a civil union.

    Because we, as a nation and a collection of states, failed to do this at the get-go we now have come to the point where people who believe as sozo does are feeling pushed into a corner. I do understand their desire to not allow the gay marriage to be equivalent to their own. I also understand their desire and belief that a traditional marriage is the best for all concerned. Personally, I believe that ship sailed long ago never to return to this harbor but…

    At any rate, because the financial and social treatment was left unequal we have reached a point where 100% equal in treatment AND in name is the only solution left.

  16. aislander says:

    There is no pressing governmental need to encourage same-sex “marriage.” The only FACTUAL reason I have encountered is to make some people FEEL better about themselves.

    There were reasons that government allowed married people certain advantages that do not pertain to same-sex “marriage.”

    There is no compelling reason to change the definition of marriage…

  17. taxedenough, I felt I had to comment on your propositions and statements.

    It Is Not Marriage: This is a statement contingent on secular law or an nopinion in the mind of the beholder. It truly does not matter in any legal sense what is in the mind of the beholder. If secular law says it is marriage, then it is marriage. Currently, secular law in Washington says it is marriage, and that is what anti-gay marriage forces are trying to change.

    It Violates Natural Law: There are a number of different theories and definitions of “natural law”, differing from each other with respect to the role that morality plays in determining the authority of legal norms. It is impossible to discuss this issue without knowing what the proposition means by “natural law”. If one takes the most common philosophical definition as being a law that exists universally, like gravity, then we know this proposition is false because gay marriage exists in many places and is successful and positive in its results and outcomes where it is legal. Gay marriage is both legal and illegal, so neither its absence or its presence is universal.

    It Always Denies a Child Either a Father or a Mother: A statement like this needs a consequence to show whether the writer thinks it is positive, negative or neutral in its results. I assume the writer thinks it is a negative. Children of gay couples have been shown to develop in exactly the same manner with the same achievement levels, psychological stability and positive outcomes at the same level as children of opposite-sex couples. So if the assumption is that children do not receive proper nurturance, that has been proved false by scientific studies.

    It Validates and Promotes the Homosexual Lifestyle: This has no meaning in itself. One must know what the proposition means by the terms “validates”, “promotes” and “homosexual lifestyle”. What gay marriage establishes is a loving, caring relationship between two people who want to live a committed life together. Studies have shown that the incidence of promiscuity is reduced among gays who marry at the same level as heterosexuals who marry. Thus, it is a positive lifestyle choice when it is available.

    It Turns a Moral Wrong into a Civil Right: Marriage itself is a basic civil right. Homosexuality is “a normal expression of human sexual orientation that poses no inherent obstacle to leading a happy, healthy, and productive life, including the capacity to form healthy and mutually satisfying intimate relationships with another person of the same sex and to raise healthy and well-adjusted children, as documented by several professional organizations” according to the APA based on many studies over several decades of research. Any argument based on “morality” must then be religious, since it certainly isn’t scientific.

    It Does Not Create a Family but a Naturally Sterile Union: This proposition seems to equate family with biological reproduction. That is a very objectionable statement to those families who cannot have children, who choose to remain childless or who cannot have children and adopt. Is your proposition that we should outlaw all families who cannot have their own biological children?

    It Defeats the State’s Purpose of Benefiting Marriage: In the various marriage cases before SCOTUS, they have said that marriage benefits society through several means. Most often, they have included stability (financially and otherwise), nurturing of children, and increased social interaction. In many studies, families headed by gay couples have shown to be the equal of families headed by opposite-sex couples in every instance. Divorce rates are the same, children are equally nurtured and educated, and families headed by gays interact and support social institutions at the same level.

    It Imposes Its Acceptance on All Society: The purpose of the law is to set common legal standards. No one has to enter into a same-sex marriage or attend a same-sex wedding. It does require that gays be treated as human beings, equal to other human beings under the law.

    It Is the Cutting Edge of the Sexual Revolution: It can only be assumed that the writer thinks this is a negative and there would be negative consequences. Otherwise this is just a neutral statement of an opinion. We’ve had so many “cutting edges” that were supposed to destroy civilization that gay marriage, which will effect much less than 5% of the population, hardly seems to reach the significance of say, divorce.

    It offends God: Apparently you have been annointed God’s next prophet on earth and have been authorized to speak for Him/Her in your mind. Many people who believe in God do not agree with this statement.

  18. sozo, would you agree that marriage is more “traditional” than just living together without the benefit of marriage? Gay marriage really is one issue that conservatives should value, since it really adds the traditional lifestyle choice to the options menu for gay people.

    Here is that argument from Newsweek made by a conservative who can speak the conservative issues better than I.

    This, I think, is his basic thesis statement:

    “Marriage requires thinking beyond one’s own needs. It transforms two individuals into a union based on shared aspirations, and in doing so establishes a formal investment in the well-being of society. The fact that individuals who happen to be gay want to share in this vital social institution is evidence that conservative ideals enjoy widespread acceptance. Conservatives should celebrate this, rather than lament it.”


  19. tuddo — u r not very smart, and the gays are icky people with cooties… because god said so.

    sorry, i was just channelling some inevitable conservative remarks sure to follow your concise and reasonable statements on equality and civil rights.

  20. aislander says:


       [kuhn-sahys] Show IPA
    expressing or covering much in few words; brief in form but comprehensive in scope; succinct; terse: a concise explanation of the company’s retirement plan.

  21. Sonofwashington says:

    aislander – Actually, there is a very compelling need for government to allow gay marriage. It’s called equal rights and equality under the law, pure and simple. It should be guaranteed as are all of our rights under the Constitution and should not be up for a vote, legislative action, or referendum. Do do so is to set a precedence that any right could be put up for a vote and make any American subject to the tyranny of the majority. The classic example is when states would deny the rights of mixed-race couples to marry or sanction the discrimination of African-Americans, Jews, or others deemed unworthy of the rights that accrue only to WASPS.

  22. LeePHill says:

    “It offends God”

    “God” offends me.

    “Traditional marriage” – if the history of “marriage” creates “traditional”, plural marriages pre-date today’s hetero marriages.

  23. sumyungboi says:

    letter writer: “Over 200 years ago our country’s forefathers created a new democracy.”

    I have zero patience with people who try to re-write history. The United States was never intended to be a democracy, and the founders loathed democracy.

    John Adams was particularly outspoken on the subject, saying:

    “Democracy… while it lasts is more bloody than either aristocracy or monarchy. Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There is never a democracy that did not commit suicide.”

    Ben Franklin:

    “Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote!”

    End of Constitutional Convention, unknown woman:

    “Well, Doctor, what have we got—a Republic or a Monarchy?”

    Ben Franklin’s reply:

    “A Republic, madam, if you can keep it”

  24. aislander says:

    A black man and a white man are intrinsically the same. To discriminate on the basis of so superficial a factor as skin color is clearly unconstitutional, therefore either should be able to marry any woman who will have him who meets the conditions that government has always put on eligibility to marry.

    Since eligibility to marry has always been conditional, and since a man and a woman are intrinsically different, there is no equal-rights question in play…

    Of course, government sets no conditions on marriages that are not endorsed by government, so anyone is free to go through any ceremony he desires…

    This is all about forcing the electorate at large to approve of arrangements of which the majority disapprove. It is a matter of tyranny of the minority…

  25. aislander

    You can type as slow as your thought process, and it doesn’t change the fact that you are using straw man incorrectly.

  26. LeePHill says:

    Those who play the rhetorical game about “republic” and “democracy” really want to spread “republicanism” around the world, as opposed to “democracy”

    krummm – don’t expect an admission.

  27. sumyungboi says:

    You’re right, I despise democracy. Sane people should.

  28. sumyungboi says:

    krumm: “change the fact that you are using straw man incorrectly.”

    He wasn’t using a straw man argument at all, which leads me to believe you wouldn’t know one if it bit you.

  29. LeePHill says:

    “since a man and a woman are intrinsically different, there is no equal-rights question in play…”

    Now, there is an equal rights issue on employment and pay of the intrisically different men and women.

    Better get your money back from your law school.

  30. aislander, the only condition that SCOTUS has placed so far on the basic human right to choose whom to marry is that such marriage must not cause harm.

    Examples of harmful marriages that states may restrict based on harm are those including people too young, too incapacitated or otherwise unable to enter into a contract, polygamous marriages, and marriages with close relatives.

    If anyone could show any harm due to gay marriage, it would make their case easier to defend.

  31. LeePHill says:

    One of the “insane” –

    President Bush opened his second term Thursday with a promise to the people of the United States and the world — vowing to promote democracy both at home and abroad.

    “It is the policy of the United States to seek and support the growth of democratic movements and institutions in every nation and culture, with the ultimate goal of ending tyranny in our world,” Bush said

    Of course, then there is this –

    “A democracy is nothing more than mob rule, where fifty-one percent of the people may take away the rights of the other forty-nine.” – Thomas Jefferson

    Rather ironic how Jefferson’s quote applies to the subject of voting on the rights of homosexuals to marry whom they choose, isn’t it?

  32. tuddo, I have always supported monogamy over promiscuity, in both gay and straight relationships.

    And commoncents, you are using one definition of integrity, but you should recognize that in its purest sense, integrity is about wholeness and authenticity and truthfulness. Thus one demonstrates integrity when his outsides (actions and words) match his insides (beliefs and values). Give me a man or woman who speaks truthfully about his or her thoughts and feelings over a phony any day.

  33. commoncents says:

    sozo – but notice that you do not include the concepts of right, wrong, or any other play on moral decision making in your definition of integrity. So in it’s purest since integrity has no basis in our government. In fact, the constitution is designed to insure that the government (and it’s people) will always protect the rights of the individual when they do not damage the rights of other individuals and will act decently and humanely in it’s laws and actions.

    Which is exactly why the gay marriage issue is going to be resolved by allowing gays to marry. To do otherwise goes against the very principle of the constitution and the 14th amendment.

  34. commoncents says:

    sozo- I must add that there are those who speak consistantly and truthfully about their thoughts and feelings and act in the same manner. They, too, have integrity according to your definition. But if every thought and action is to the detriment of those around them – I certainly wouldn’t want to be governed by them.

  35. “I’ve noticed that the proponents of same-sex “marriage” love to battle against straw men by asserting that the only arguments for opposing changing the definition of marriage are religiously based, while ignoring arguments that are not.”

    And what would those be a********r?

  36. sumyungboi says:

    Wrong kluwer, I have no religious horse in this race. My opposition to homosexual marriage is based entirely on the fact that homosexuality is un-natural, and when un-natural things are encouraged, society fails.

  37. aislander says:

    “straw man: 3. a fabricated or conveniently weak or innocuous person, object, matter, etc., used as a seeming adversary or argument: The issue she railed about was no more than a straw man.”

    To argue ONLY against religious reasons (the straw man) as being the only reasons presented for opposing same-sex marriage while ignoring all other arguments IS a straw-man argument.

    Someone needs to take a dictionary with him when he sits on the krummmer…

  38. Religious arguments are not being fabricated.

    But by all means, put forth your 100% non-Religious argument and let’s have a go.

  39. Nice try Sumyungboi,

    We don’t base laws on what people consider “natural.”

    Homosexuality is constant across all societies. The Supreme Court has already decided the government has no business regulating such things.

    There is no secular argument against Gay Marriage that is valid.

  40. sumyungboi says:

    krumm, I’m not in favor of regulating homosexuality. I’m also not in favor of promoting un-natural behavior. Personally, I don’t care what homosexuals do, and homosexuals have exactly the same rights I have.

  41. penumbrage says:

    aislander – A black man and a white man and a man born with Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome are intrinsically the same. To discriminate on the basis of so superficial a factor as skin color or surgically alterable external genitalia is clearly unconstitutional, therefore any of them should be able to marry any woman who will have him who meets the conditions that government has always put on eligibility to marry.

    Do you have any justification for for your clearly unconstitutional discrimination against the significant portion of the gay population that are born intersex?

  42. aislander says:

    “straw man: 3. a fabricated or conveniently weak or innocuous person, object, matter, etc., used as a seeming adversary or argument: The issue she railed about was no more than a straw man.”

    Read for comprehension…

  43. I’ve noticed that the proponents of same-sex “marriage” love to battle against straw men by asserting that the only arguments for opposing changing the definition of marriage are religiously based, while ignoring arguments that are not.

    You will note the strawman aislander has created (or rather, outright lie). This letter is in response to Biblical arguments that have been put forward – aislander somehow claims that by doing this the writer represents all proponents of equal protection regarding marriage and that the letter writer has made a claim that all opponents only utilize scripture to argue against same-sex marriage.

    Then, latter in the thread, aislander accuses others of strawmen because they are not dealing with non-theological arguments that have not been put forward on this thread.

    I guess aislander thinks that all the “libs” who post here are just like his friend the archivist….. Sorry aislander, I can’t remember your non-religious arguments for separate but equal approaches to marriage.

  44. sumyungboi, SCOTUS says that people have a right to choose whom to marry without interference by the state. Currently gays do not enjoy that right, so your statement: “homosexuals have exactly the same rights I have” is false, unless, of course, you are choosing a person of the same sex yourself.

  45. Sumyoungboi,

    The government shouldn’t promote behavior based on natural or unnatural. When the behavior exists at least 5% of the population, and much higher percentages experiment, or goes both ways, as it were, then claims that it is unnatural do not hold up.

    The percentage of people who are left handed is only slightly higher.

    Natural is not a set definition. It is an opinion. One that the law is not concerned with.

  46. sumyungboi says:

    tuddo, I can marry a woman, which I did. A homosexual man can marry a woman. If I were single and wanted to marry a man, the state would not legally recognize that marriage, and the same rules apply to homosexual men, ergo, homosexuals have exactly the same rights I do.

  47. To argue ONLY against religious reasons (the straw man) as being the only reasons presented for opposing same-sex marriage while ignoring all other arguments IS a straw-man argument.

    To insist that not arguing against every possible angle the anti-equal protection folks use is somehow insisting that there is only one angle being used (when that was not stated in the letter) is STRAWMAN. And WEAK and LAME and DESPERATE.

  48. sumyungboi, your argument was tried with interracial marriage and was laughed out of the Supreme Court. That is why the opinion clearly stated that equal rights did not mean being required to marry someone in a class the state says you must.

    The couple who wanted to marry were told they couldn’t but still had equal rights because the law against interracial marriage was applied to everyone, not just them. They were free to choose from people of their own race just like everyone else, so it was equal treatment under the law.

    Wrong, said the court. The state cannot limit the choice of marriage partners, but people get to choose whom to marry among all people. In this discussion is where the Supreme Court stated that only when it causes harm can the state limit the choice of marriage partners.

  49. notimetobleed says:

    Nice letter Larry. Everyone is about the Bill of Rights as long as the gays don’t think it applies to them.

  50. penumbrage says:

    sumyungboi – “…I can marry a woman, which I did.”

    Can you marry a woman with a deep voice, broad shoulders and body hair?
    Can you marry a woman with both male and female sex organs?
    Are you certain your wife is female? Intersex people (between 1/2 and 1% of the population) include some males who can only be distinguished from females by medical tests.
    Who, exactly, should the state allow these blameless citizens to marry?

    “I’m also not in favor of promoting un-natural behavior.”
    What is natural behavior for someone who’s been born partly female or mostly female or half and half?
    Do you support having sex with any post-pubescent girl, or do you agree that the state is protecting their rights by asking men to curb their ‘natural’ behavior until the girls reach the age of consent?
    Why should the state protect the adolescent population’s rights but not the rights of the intersex population?

  51. I, for one, find it hillarious that some of you are ridiculing the author for insinuating that the US is a democracy with one breah, and suggesting that civil rights be subject to a popular vote with the next.

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