Don't add this amendment to the Kentucky Constitution

October 10, 2004|ANNABEL GIRARD

The amendment to the Kentucky Constitution on November's ballot most certainly focuses the attention of Kentucky voters on an emotional issue.

The amendment says: "Are you in favor of amending the Kentucky Constitution to provide that only a marriage between one man and one woman shall be a marriage in Kentucky, and that a legal status identical to or similar to marriage for unmarried individuals shall not be valid or recognized?"

A "yes" vote supports the amendment. A "no" vote defeats the amendment.

Prohibiting same-sex marriage is not a reason to be changing our state Constitution.

Right now, it is against the law in Kentucky for same-sex marriages to take place. It also is law that the state doesn't recognize such marriages performed in other states.

The statement on the ballot refers not just to same-sex but also to "unmarried individuals." No gender is specified, which means the amendment reaches beyond an effort to prohibit marriage between same-sex couples.


There is a problem with the language "identical to ... marriage" and yet the couple remains "unmarried." You're either legally a couple or you're not. If the concern is for same-sex marriage, why are "unmarried individuals" mentioned?

Our Constitution is too important to amend it using ambiguous language.

Even if the language were more precise, the amendment should be voted down.

Over the years, changes to our national Constitution have expanded and protected the rights of Americans. African-American slaves were made citizens and given the right to vote. Women were given the right to vote. Equal protection under the law was granted to all citizens regardless of race or gender.

The state Constitution should not be amended to restrict the rights of individuals, which the proposed amendment does. It is a form of discrimination. While not as oppressive as slavery, the amendment targets a specific group of people.

Society's standards for acceptance change. The concept of marriage changes. For example, a wife is no longer under the control of the husband, legally considered incapable of handling her own affairs.

The sanctity of marriage is a phrase that has been tossed around in the same breath as the amendment. An argument made for passage of the amendment is that allowing persons of the same sex to marry will be the downfall of the institution of marriage.

Heterosexuals seem to be doing a good job all by themselves to erode the sanctity of marriage.

If marriage is so important in society, why do we allow people who have been divorced multiple times to marry?

If marriage is so important, why are unmarried couples who live together not ostracized by society?

If marriage is so important to society and family, why do we have couples working on different shifts or in jobs that require many hours of overtime? Why isn't affordable, nurturing child-care available for working parents at the workplace?

Passing the amendment wouldn't interfere with religious beliefs. Churches and-or pastors have the right to decide who to marry and not marry. Couples can get a marriage license now and have a civil ceremony with no mention of religion at all.

Those who oppose gay marriage are not forced to endorse such a marriage. They can tell their children such behavior does not fit their particular belief, just as we teach children our other values.

Another argument against gay marriage is that the purpose of marriage is to create a family unit, that is, have or adopt children. A man and woman may want to be married, but not want children. Should they be denied a marriage license?

What about those beyond child-bearing years who get married? They certainly don't fit the definition of marriage that many are bantering around this year. They can't have children.

The reason for getting married is very similar for couples who plan to nurture a family, for those who don't plan to have children, for those past child-bearing, and for gays and lesbians.

Regardless of which group couples fall into, they want to share their lives together, to face whatever comes their way as a recognized couple. They want companionship, they want affection, they want love.

What caused a gasp in the past becomes acceptable as society changes. In the past 20 or so years, there has been widespread acceptance of unmarried couples and of couples of different races.

Committed, heterosexual couples are free to state their commitment through marriage, in or out of church. In time, society will become even more accepting of committed homosexual couples.

Kentucky does not need to take the negative step of amending our Constitution, so that it discriminates against people who don't mirror us in all ways.

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