Gay marriage ban doesn’t belong in Colorado | VailDaily.com
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Gay marriage ban doesn’t belong in Colorado

Tamara Miller

God forbid we should let a man inherit another man’s retirement, or give a woman the right to visit another woman in the hospital. Letting two consenting adults of the same sex have health insurance coverage together will surely ruin the institution of marriage.

Colorado voters will likely be asked in November to amend the state’s constitution to define marriage as a union between a man and a woman. Sponsors of the proposed amendment, a group called Coloradans for Marriage, say such a drastic measure is needed to protect marriage.

From what? The horror of knowing Jane can be on Joan’s health insurance plan?

The fact is a constitutional amendment will do nothing to protect marriage. If politicians really were worried about the health of the institution, they would focus their energy on the real societal pressures that make marriage so prone to failure. Our country’s nearly 50-percent divorce rate has little to do with gays and lesbians having gym memberships together. Domestic violence and infidelity cannot be blamed on letting two guys jointly file income taxes.

And when it comes right down to it, that’s what we really are talking about – the governmental definition of marriage. Because no one is going to force churches, synagogues and mosques to betray their religious beliefs and recognize homosexual unions. Not so long as the federal Constitution requires religion to stay out of our government (and likewise, government out of our religions).

Statehouse Democrats are right to seek the same benefits for same-sex partnerships that are given to opposite-sex partnerships. Under the proposed bill, same-sex couples would have the right to visit their partners in the hospital, or include their partners in a will. Denying gays and lesbians these rights is governmental intrusion into private lives at the highest level. Any wife or husband would be horrified to know that hospital officials or family members could forbid their spouse from visiting them in the hospital, or that if they were incapacitated, their spouse could not act on their behalf. Yet that is a reality that most gay and lesbians couples in Colorado could face.

Republican Sen. Shawn Mitchell is proposing a bill that hardly qualifies as a compromise. Under his proposed Senate Bill 166, same-sex couples would have some of the benefits married couples do, but still could leave gays and lesbians vulnerable to situations like those mentioned above. Rather, Mitchell would like same-sex couples to be treated like business partners, rather than the domestic partners they really are.

Those who oppose civil unions have no legitimate basis for their intrusion into same-sex couples lives. Homophobia has no place in the state Constitution. We don’t make laws based on the Bible – if the basis for defining marriage is simply because of the laws of reproduction, should we deny equal protection for couples who choose to be childless?

No, the push for constitutional amendments that essentially ban gay marriage has nothing to do with protecting traditional marriage; it’s simply an attempt to gain state-sanctioned discrimination against gay couples.

Proponents of civil unions aren’t even fighting to use the word “marriage” in regards to same-sex partnerships. Traditionalists can have their word; homosexual couples just want the same control over their lives that are afforded to heterosexual couples in a loving, committed relationship.

Coloradans are tolerant, respectful people who, historically, place great value on individual rights. That’s a tradition worth continuing. VT

Tamara Miller can be reached for comment at tmiller@vailtrail.com


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