Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Right Ahead or Left Out?

To most of the United States, the Massachusetts decision to allow same-sex marriages is out of synch, at best. Missouri may be at one extreme as of August 3, 2004. It was already one of 40 states with laws specifically forbidding same-sex marriages. As part of a special election for governor, it also amended its constitution by a vote of over two to one to ban define marriage as between one man and one woman. Its constitution now includes "...to be valid and recognized in this state, a marriage shall exist only between a man and a woman."

One can certainly understand why the conservative church definition of marriage crept into marriage laws. It is what the vast majority of legislators grow up hearing and believing. Particularly in states without that strong desire to separate religion and legislation, that could be a real voter pleaser.

So now the question seems to be whether Massachusetts is leading the way or way out in left field. Worldwide, the slow trend looks to favor wider rights for more people — a big tent, rather than a retreat to the comfortable. A future post will touch on the places in South America, Europe, Africa, and of course, Canada that already permit same-sex marriage or provide similar privileges and responsibilities to homosexual couples.

Meanwhile, I have a light summer dinner jacket and a wool winter one. In all likelihood at the end of this month, I shall solemnize a gay wedding in the lightweight one.

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