Las Vegas Sun

April 16, 2014

Currently: 78° — Complete forecast | Log in | Create an account

Letter to the editor:

Personal choices don’t stop at altar

Congratulations to President Barack Obama, and welcome to the 21st century. Those of us who have made it here to the “future” have been waiting for a major U.S. political figure to state the obvious: that the adult you marry should be your own personal pick, not someone a group of strangers, a religion, your neighbors or family members picked for you. This ultimately isn’t about gay rights, it’s about personal choice. And it’s too bad that certain people expect it to be their right to put it to a public vote, especially because I wasn’t invited to vote on their personal choices.

Personal freedom means letting people make their own personal choices, not the limited choices their church or someone else would make for them. It’s taken way too long for a political figure to come forward with that. Too bad so-called libertarian Republicans like Ron Paul haven’t figured that out yet.

Join the Discussion:

Check this out for a full explanation of our conversion to the LiveFyre commenting system and instructions on how to sign up for an account.

Full comments policy

Previous Discussion: 33 comments so far…

Comments are moderated by Las Vegas Sun editors. Our goal is not to limit the discussion, but rather to elevate it. Comments should be relevant and contain no abusive language. Comments that are off-topic, vulgar, profane or include personal attacks will be removed. Full comments policy. Additionally, we now display comments from trusted commenters by default. Those wishing to become a trusted commenter need to verify their identity or sign in with Facebook Connect to tie their Facebook account to their Las Vegas Sun account. For more on this change, read our story about how it works and why we did it.

Only trusted comments are displayed on this page. Untrusted comments have expired from this story.

  1. The fact that gay marriage attracts
    this much attention at all is a testamony
    to the extent of America's deep societal
    malaise. Marriage is and should be the relationship
    between one woman and one man. Any alternative to this is morally reprehensible and dysfunctional.
    I cannot fathom that our society has raised this matter to the level of a major issue.But unfortunately it has. If someone is gay they are gay, that's just plain fact. Nevertheless, the institution of marriage is defined by the relationship of a man and a woman. Any other configuration undermines society's health and moral foundation. Gay relationships should be treated as an "alternative life style",and not as a main denominator life style that is entitled to recognition as legal partnerhood for purposes of entitlements. The nature of the relationship should be treated legally as being in the realm of "good friends" and no more.

  2. Civil marriage is an agreement, a contract if you will, between two adults who are old enough to legally make contracts.

    Some religions would like us to think they should be the sole arbiter of who can make this contract.

  3. "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."

    I respect your right to have religious convictions. That is where your religious convictions involvement with my life ends.

  4. How Obama spins his thoughts on gay marriage cannot be taken seriously. His positions as he expresses them on a wide range of matters are usually misleading and self serving. He simply is not to be trusted..This matter will continue to be debated. This will be a continuing process. The main issue is whether this will end up a states rights matter or a constitutional matter.

  5. "...the adult you marry should be your own personal pick, not someone a group of strangers, a religion, your neighbors or family members picked for you. This ultimately isn't about gay rights, it's about personal choice."

    Klamann -- such an excellent letter, and such obvious truths! Makes one wonder why the rabid opponents don't get it, no?

    "I mean come on now, what's next? Gender free public restrooms? ... I'm heterosexual. Where are my rights? I think this is a sick society. . . . .The bottom line is, the depraved of our society have finally been successful in manipulating our Constitutional guarantees in their favor."

    BChap -- I hear omnigender restrooms work fine in other parts of the world. Certainly the woman arrested in Houston who chose the short men's room line for the long, long ladies' room line over wetting her pants emphasizes the utter stupidity of those laws. As for YOUR rights, your hetero choices are being forced on them, not the other way around. Looks to me like the Rosa Parks civil rights in the last century -- it's about equality, and that's all.

    "Marriage is and should be the relationship between one woman and one man. Any alternative to this is morally reprehensible and dysfunctional. . .Any other configuration undermines society's health and moral foundation."

    Houstonjac -- another clueless post from one completely ignorant of the republic you live in. What part of "equal rights" do you fail to understand? Can you say "Jim Crow lives"? By contrast your later post "The main issue is whether this will end up a states rights matter or a constitutional matter" is right on point. Marriage is and has always been a state issue. The feds have zero jurisdiction over it, that's been clear at least since the U.S. Supreme's 1877 decision in Meister v. Moore.

    "Civil marriage is an agreement, a contract if you will, between two adults who are old enough to legally make contracts."

    pisces41 -- every state statute I've seen defines marriage as a civil contract. Nevada does, too. The problem here is our Constitution was changed recently to abrogate the rest of our Declaration of Rights by defining marriage to be strictly hetero. Stupid, stupid voters!

    "I respect your right to have religious convictions. That is where your religious convictions involvement with my life ends."

    VegasEngineer -- another excellent post, yet why are the opponents so rabid about ignoring our republic's duty to ensure equality?

    "Most states seemed to have banned same-sex marriage by either statute or through its state constitution."

    RefNV -- you'll find Nevada's version @ http://www.leg.state.nv.us/Const/NVConst...

    "The greatest tragedy in mankind's entire history may be the hijacking of morality by religion." -- Arthur C. Clarke, 1999, from "God, Science, and Delusion: A Chat With Arthur C. Clarke" in Free Inquiry magazine

  6. Our country like it or not provides freedom of choice for all.Including 12% of unmarried couples currently living together. Of which 22% of these unmarried couples have first births without being married. The gay married and unmarried couples make 1% of all couples in our country.So one could say we have other issues, if we want to talk about morality.

  7. The so-called problem with gay marriage isn't about being gay. It's about people cherry picking sections of the bible to suit their homophobia or paranoia while ignoring other parts of the bible. Stoning women for adultery is out of the question but I've heard people say gays should die because of their behavior. How times have we've seen signs stating "God Hates Gays" at demonstrations? The line is blurred when it comes to separation of church and state over this issue, and civil rights for some isn't quite the same as civil rights for all.

    We are not to judge others according to the teachings of Christ, that is to be left to God.

  8. Those who stand on the side of divisiveness, bigotry and hatred will always lose the fight in the long run. These "constitutional patriots" are nothing of the sort, draping themselves in the flag or the Constitution when it's convenient, and shedding it when it is not.

    They would rather take their talking points from Bristol Palin and far-right hate groups, while they justify stripping liberty because it's popular. It's clear they don't comprehend the simple language of our Constitution.

    Marriage equality will be realized, and sooner than you think. "Small government conservative" frauds tread ever closer to complete irrelevance.

  9. Until the federal tax code eliminates disparate treatment of married people versus non-married people, it remains UNCONSTITUTIONAL to favor some individual's pursuit of happiness over other people. States and local governments can legislate restrictions but those restrictions could be struck down by the SCOTUS as unconstitutional anywhere within this nation. I personally do not care what gets you thru the night--as long as it doesn't involve children, violence, intimidation.....

  10. "...I do object to being told I have to accept their deviant, dangerous, disgusting and deadly "lifestyle." I don't have to and won't. Can't they just shut their mouths and do their deeds in private?"

    lvfacts101 -- according to your post, our fellow citizens with dark skin can still be forced to the back of the bus and to use separate public restrooms. Remember that next time you pledge allegiance to that limp cloth symbolizing "liberty and justice for all."

    "The line is blurred when it comes to separation of church and state over this issue, and civil rights for some isn't quite the same as civil rights for all."

    VernosB -- good post, and it highlights the stubborn but steady usurping of dominionists into our national politics. Like most religions christians insist on their God Mandate to force the rest of us live by their principles, especially their moral code. That's why we have the Bill of Rights and Declaration of Rights. As the pigs in "Animal Farm" decreed, "All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others."

    "...bigotry and hatred will always lose the fight in the long run. . . . .It's clear they don't comprehend the simple language of our Constitution."

    edgewise -- unfortunately they don't "always lose the fight," as national politics on this issue shows. Like Colorado's recent special vote smacking down their governor's call for equality shows. That few "comprehend the simple language of our Constitution" is so true, including the proponents. The threshold point is the promise of equality, not whether or not governments and the rest of the herd are in favor of it.

    "Multiple marriage partners will be coming soon."

    acejoker -- other than your post being buffoonish, what's wrong with whatever consenting adults do with each other? Government at every level needs to get out of the marriage business, the sooner the better!

    "Until the federal tax code eliminates disparate treatment of married people versus non-married people, it remains UNCONSTITUTIONAL to favor some individual's pursuit of happiness over other people."

    Roslenda -- at last something we can agree on!

    "Rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others. I do not add 'within the limits of the law' because law is often but the tyrant's will, and always so when it violates the rights of the individual." -- Thomas Jefferson, letter to Isaac H Tiffany (1819)

  11. I have no problem with same sex marriage. The problem I have is I am tired of hearing about it. I lived next door to two gentlemen while I lived in Holland. They were great people. In the summer we would set up and umbrella in front of our house next to the water and drink Heineken and laugh, watch the boats and enjoy each others company. My wife felt a little uneasy at first but in the end we were fine. I resent the fact that people need to include their sexual preference when referring to them as in "that's so and so he's gay". We don't, however, say "there's so and so he likes missionary sex". I am offended every time I read about someone speculating about whether so and so is gay. Who gives a crap! I don't. That is a private matter.

    Finally, I believe that California's recent legislation requiring the teaching of "gay history" to be sick.

  12. Comment removed by moderator. - -

  13. The bottom line: People are (slowly) continuing to realize that the US constitutional guarantees of equal rights under the law do, indeed, extend to all citizens.

  14. I love the comments from the libs complaining about the nanny state telling them what they can and cannot do or that conservatives want big government to tell us what to do.

  15. "Multiple marriage partners will be coming soon."

    Read about King David in the Old Testament. He had multiple wives. But, then again, so many choose to ignore this part of the Bible.

  16. There has been a double standard for a very long time. How many of you remember going to a skating rink and hearing this when it was time for a "couples" skate: "A couple is a boy and a girl, two girls, but not two boys."

    Or this one when a "trio" skate was announced: "A trio is 2 girls and a boy, 2 boys and a girl, 3 girls, but no 3 boys."

    Lesbian activity has long been tolerated (and in some ways, encouraged) as long as the people who engaged in it did not try to get "pushy" about rights. Not so for gay males.

  17. "The bottom line: People are (slowly) continuing to realize that the US constitutional guarantees of equal rights under the law do, indeed, extend to all citizens."

    davestovall -- unfortunately our governments have always been slow to upset the status quo, and Constitutional limits and guarantees be damned. Always remember the Reconstructionist Amendments to the federal Constitution enacted in the 1870s (a guess) guaranteeing civil rights and equality to all everywhere still required widespread insurrection about 80 years later. And resulted in the deaths of its major figures -- Martin Luther King and the Kennedy brothers.

    "The struggle for liberty has been a struggle against Government. The essential scheme of our Constitution and Bill of Rights was to take Government off the backs of people." -- Columbia Broadcasting Sys., Inc. v. Democratic Nat'l Comm., 412 U.S. 94, 162 (1973), Justice Douglas concurring

  18. There is no such thing as "gay marriage". There are, and always have been, only two types of marriage. One is "religious marriage" and the other is "civil marriage".

    Those who have been advocating and supporting the legal rights of two loving, unrelated, adults to marry each other, have never been talking about religious marriage. We are talking about civil marriage only.

    Those who think the concept is "morally reprehensible" must be mentally incapable of separating the two types of marriage. They are the ones who might be sick and should seek professional psychological treatment. Saying civil marriage equality "undermines society's health and moral foundation" is precisely what the racists and bigots were saying about interracial marriage. Saying gay relationships should be treated as an "alternative lifestyle" implies that you chose to be straight. It also implies that gay people chose to be gay. You could not be more wrong.

    Civil marriage is a legal concept. Religious marriage is a religious concept. I don't care if homosexuality makes Bradley Chapline sick to his stomach. But I respect his ability to separate the two concepts, and applaud his support of everyone's legal right to equality in this country. Kudos to other commenters who get it as well. Noone wants to take anyone's religious beliefs away. Why is it that those people fight so hard to take away other people's legal rights (or prevent them from even having the same legal rights that they have)?

    It sucks that 30+ states put legal rights to a vote, and that a majority of voters chose to prevent other citizens from having the same legal rights that they already have. But it's irrelevant. There are plenty of states right now that would approve laws banning interracial marriage too. Would a ban on interracial marriage would be constitutional because voters approved it? Fortunately, that's not how constitutionally guaranteed rights work in this country. Nobody gets to decide what groups of people are or are not entitled to their constitutionally guaranteed rights. Everyobody gets them. That's the guarantee!

    Now you're going to argue the Constitution doesn't say anything about marriage, and certainly doesn't say anything about marriage between two guys or two women. You're correct. What it does guarantee, however, is that "no state shall ... deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws." The equal protection of the laws means that if you have the legal right to marry the one you love, so does everyone else. It seems so simple, doesn't it?

    When the US Supreme Court gets involved, and it will, I predict even Justice Scalia will join the majority as it firmly and unequivocally overturns the 30+ unconstitutional state laws (including state constitutions) that so blatantly clash with the US Constitution.

  19. The Bible says that King Solomon had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines.

    David had at least 7 wives and may have had many others that were not documented because they did not have sons by him: 1 Chronicles 3:1-9 Ahino-am, Abigail, Maacah, Haggith, Abital, Elgah. These 6 wives each had a son by David. He married Bathsheba who gave him 4 sons.

    Polygamy was common in Biblical times. If Holy Matrimony is defined as a marriage between one woman and one man (and vice versa) why should the Bible be the discriminator of morals, as it comes from ages so ancient that the ways of life from those times are nearly alien.

    Decades back, if a book was "Banned in Boston", it's sales was certain to increase. During those times, it was also more exciting to live together and not get married. Focusing energy and debate on a controversial subject will normally increase it's appeal.

    When the legal costs of new divorces start piling up, the realities of marriage will set in and many will return to their pagan value systems, if for nothing more then to find peace and survive.

  20. abostonboy said this: "There is no such thing as "gay marriage". There are, and always have been, only two types of marriage. One is "religious marriage" and the other is "civil marriage"."

    Given those terms, I would be happy to see all legislation changed to reflect that a "marriage license" refers to a civil contract between two consenting adults without regard to gender, race, etc.

    Religious groups could still decide whether or not they would perform a ceremony for any given couple, but the absence or presence of such a ceremony has no bearing on the rights and benefits that attach to a civil marriage contract.

    That said, I see no reason why a church could not perform a religious marriage ceremony for a given number of consenting adults with the understanding that only the adults that have a civil contract are the ones recognized by the government.

    The private sector would of course be compelled to recognize the civil marriage contract, and have the option of granting rights and benefits above those if they so wish.

    In short, I simply don't see any valid argument against gender-neutral civil marriages. The only arguments I have seen against it all depend upon religion and are therefore invalid in the context of separation of Church and State.

  21. Precisely, boftx.

    Bradley, I am doing no such thing and am stymied by how you could say that I am. I said there are two types of marriage. After I mentioned that one type is religious, I made it quite clear that I never have and am not now discussing religious marriage. I also said noone wants to take your religious beliefs away. Other than that, I specifically did not make any comment regarding religion because when the subject is the law and legal rights, religion is wholly irrelevant.

  22. "Nobody gets to decide what groups of people are or are not entitled to their constitutionally guaranteed rights. Everyobody gets them. That's the guarantee!"

    abostonboy -- funny how they keep missing that point, no?

    "And by the way, I would much rather sit next to a homosexual on the bus than next to someone of your ilk who lacks complete moral turpitude."

    BChap -- opinions vary. It's sad to see you just can't seem to keep from getting personal, but then that's what you end up doing. Unless and until you post something actually relevant to this Discussion, expect to be shunned.

    "...I would be happy to see all legislation changed to reflect that a "marriage license" refers to a civil contract between two consenting adults without regard to gender, race, etc."

    boftx -- why? And that would conflict with the recent Nevada Constitutional change defining marriage as strictly heterosexual. Better that We the people demanded the legislature do the right thing and get the state out of the marriage business completely.

    "...a legislative act contrary to the Constitution is not law." -- Marbury v. Madison, 1 Cranch 137, 177 (1803)

  23. edgewise - "These "constitutional patriots" are nothing of the sort, draping themselves in the flag or the Constitution when it's convenient, and shedding it when it is not."

    "When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying the cross." - Sinclair Lewis: How Fascism Will Come To America (1935)

  24. Proponents talk about civil rights, opponents talk about religion.

    Hmmm.

    And which will prevail? Civil rights, of course, thank God.

  25. "Just tell us what you believe and why you believe it."

    RefNV -- no

    "...are you suggesting that "all things sexual involving children" should not be discouraged?"

    RefNV -- first, you're taking my post out of context. For some strange reason that article invited Comments, then abruptly became "Print" and deleted all posts. Second, define "child." My post there pointed out the big conflict between Islam, which considers a girl eligible for marriage at the onset of menses, and our states' conflicting age of consent laws.

    "With morality the individual is led into being a function of the herd and to ascribing value to himself only as a function. . .Morality is the herd instinct in the individual." -- Frederich Nietzsche 1882 "The Gay Science"

  26. "Hopefully you can understand why someone might misinterpret your sentence because you basically stated that the "condemnation" of "all things sexual involving children" is "rabid and thoughtless"

    RefNV -- but it is. Check out law enforcement's knee-jerk reactions in Reason mag's stories about teens convicted of being their own child porn victims, and at least one kid resulting suicide, @ http://reason.com/search?cx=000107342346...

    Again, how are you defining "child"? At one extreme I'm 60 years old and a child, etc.

    "Where once the criminal law might have stood as a well-understood and indisputable statement of shared norms in American society, now there is only a bloated compendium that looks very much like the dreaded federal tax code. The end results can be downright ugly: a soccer mom thrown in jail in a small Texas town for failing to wear a seatbelt; a 12-year-old girl arrested and handcuffed for eating french fries in a Metro station in Washington, DC; and defendants serving 25-year to life sentences in California prisons for, among other things, pilfering a slice of pizza." -- "Overextending the Criminal Law" @ http://www.cato.org/pubs/policy_report/v...

  27. "Why of course KillerB, a child can be age 1 thru 99. That throws more light on your meaning to your phrase of "all things sexual involving children"

    RefNV -- oh, you want to dance. I decline. Check some of the stories in the link I provided, especially the first one. That lends considerable credibility to my "rabid" post.

    "In upholding and enforcing the Bill of Rights, this Court has no power to pick or to choose. When we lose sight of that fixed star of constitutional adjudication, we lose our way. For then we forsake a government of law, and are left with government by Big Brother." -- Ginzburg v. United States, 383 U.S. 463, 501 (1966), Justice Stewart dissenting

  28. BChap - I'm not sure if you missed the rest of the sentence but I'll say it again. I respect your ability to separate the two concepts, and applaud your support of everyone's legal right to equality in this country. Thank you again.

  29. "Repent."

    JeffFromVegas -- why?

    "After coming into contact with a religious man I always feel I must wash my hands." -- Friedrich Nietzsche, 1888 "Ecce Homo - Why I Am a Destiny"

  30. So many of you would be awesome Sunday School teachers. You also would be horrendous Constitutional Law teachers. Constantly referring to the Bible when the issue is the law is just as inane as referring to the telephone book when discussing anatomy.

  31. "Only an idiot liberal would ask the following question: "what is wrong with consenting adults to doing anything they wish with each other?"

    acejoker -- and only the U.S. Supremes, Read it 'n eat crow @ http://scholar.google.com/scholar_case?c...

    ". . .for centuries there have been powerful voices to condemn homosexual conduct as immoral, but this Court's obligation is to define the liberty of all, not to mandate its own moral code. . . The Nation's laws and traditions in the past half century are most relevant here. They show an emerging awareness that liberty gives substantial protection to adult persons in deciding how to conduct their private lives in matters pertaining to sex." -- Lawrence v. Texas, 539 U.S. 558, syllabus (b) (2003)

  32. Are ALL Right-Wing Tea-types self-righteous, holier-than-thou, willfully ignorant hypocrites...

    or just the ones that post here @ the Sun???