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July 8, 2013

READERS' FORUM: July 8, 2013

Guv should set aside prejudices

I address the following comments to Gov. Mike Pence:

Your education is sadly lacking. Marriage has not always been between a man and woman; in classical Greece, marriage between men was honored. In imperial Rome, wife-swapping and marriage were good career and political moves. Pre-colonial Africa recognized woman marriage, and Native Americans approved of berdache marriage. (Yes, please, research this).

In the United States, there is no such thing as a “traditional” marriage any longer. Divorce based on fault, coverture, forced gender roles, procreation laws (sodomy, fornication, adultery) and immunity for spousal rape have fallen by the wayside. “Traditional” families do not exist any longer. Surely you are not ignorant of single-parent, blended and bi-racial families.

Do not even try to use the Bible or Jesus’ teachings as authority for support of man/woman marriage or rejection of same-sex relationships.  Even Judeo-Christian biblical scholars are cautionary about interpretations of biblical sexual mandates. American mainstream religion abhors polygamy, but the Old Testament treated it as normal and it is an acceptable form of marriage in other cultures. Jesus never said anything directly about being gay; rather, he taught tolerance of all minorities and befriended and was respectful of a woman who most devotees believed to have been a prostitute (which in and of itself is seriously questionable).

If your administration did an honest opinion poll, I think you would find that the majority of your constituency does not believe it is the state’s “duty and obligation” to “define and administer marriage as [it] sees fit.” Such a statement (made by you) implies the state has the authority to dictate all aspects of my life; who I marry, how many children I have, what my role is inside the marriage, etc. — which I resoundingly reject as an appropriate governmental function. Likewise, you do not have the right to impose your personal prejudices on the voting public.

Marriage is not the “glue that holds families and societies together.” What holds families and societies together are modes of production and reproduction, domestic and political life and belief systems (religion, music, art). In other words, it is the totality of a culture that holds families and societies together. Humankind has been around for hundreds of thousands of years and still thrives in spite of the narrow-minded attitude that LBGTs are deviants and that marriage can be defined only one way.

Aside from the economic benefits to couples and the state when marriage is just marriage between two people regardless of gender (yes, please, research this, too), what all this boils down to, Governor, is fairness and equality. How is it that we allow pedophiles, murderers, rapists and all kinds of other criminals to marry when their behavior is considered “deviant” but insist that LBGTs cannot marry when their only “crime” is being differently sexually oriented? Why is it acceptable to extend a civil liberty like marriage to a child molester but not to two men or two women who love and are devoted to one another? Do you not see the incongruity in such a position?

One can only hope that you will set your personal prejudices aside, do your homework and realize that marriage between same-sex individuals is not going to bring about the end of civilization as we know it.

— Ann Carlisle

Terre Haute

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