David Carey does us all a service by urging us to pay attention to language. He criticizes the tone of the U-B editorial supporting gay marriage and then suggests we read the state's Catholic bishops' statement, "Marriage and the Common Good." Carey claims the statement "appeals to reason and the experience of society." Here again is the part he cites:
"Married couples who bring children into the world make particular sacrifices and take on unique risks and obligations for the good of society. For this reason the state has long understood that it has a compelling interest in recognizing and supporting these mothers and fathers through a distinct category of laws. Were the definition of marriage to change, there would be no special laws to support and recognize the irreplaceable contribution that these married couples make to society and to the common good by bringing to life the next generation."
I have read this statement several times and have some questions about it:
1. What about heterosexual couples who cannot have or choose not to have children? Should they too be excluded from this "distinct category of laws" because they do not "make particular sacrifices" and "bring to life the next generation?"
2. Thousands of homosexual couples, "mothers and fathers," throughout our state do take on "these unique risks and obligations for the good of society." Thousands of lesbians give birth to the children they raise and the others adopt their children and give them homes to grow up in. Male homosexuals are also at times the fathers of the children they raise or they adopt those children. How are these "irreplaceable contributions … to society" different from those of heterosexual couples?
The only difference, it seems to me, is that homosexual couples cannot together make the children they raise. But, here again, millions of heterosexual couples raise children not born of their union. In any event, the bishops' letter praises the sacrifices made by parents, sacrifices being made throughout our state by homosexual couples as well.
Appealing to reason and the experience of society, which should be the sole criteria in a country where there is a supposed separation between church and state, I find that nothing should prevent homosexual couples from marrying.
I am proud of Gov. Gregoire for pushing for this enlightened change.