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Marriage should not be a state issue

August 19, 2007|By JOHNATHAN R. BURRS

The 2008 presidential debate is heating up in topic while cooling down in excitement.

It seems that every interest group is grilling presidential candidates seeking nomination from their respective political parties on issues important to their organizations. From immigration to labor, it seems that interest groups are out in full force with the main goal of finding out where candidates stand on their issues.

Gay-rights interest groups are no exception and from a political standpoint, could determine who does or does not get elected!

The topic of gay rights reveals a significant divide in U.S. society, particularly regarding the need for state-recognized, same-sex unions often referred to as "gay marriage." Making this topic so inflammatory are those in society who oppose the gay lifestyle for a variety of different reasons.

All too often it is religious organizations leading the fight opposing the legal rights of people who are different and believe differently than they do.

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Even more problematic is the biblical justifications often used to support their judgmental reasoning. However, many times the attitudes of the religious right lead to socially accepted hatred against another human being strictly based on sexual orientation.

What follows is a verbatim copy of an AOL online forum posting that exploits this type of hatred.

I wish they would DROP AND FORGET this SINFUL Gay Junk that is pollutingly spreading around, I HATE these gay people who dont seem to stay in there damn closet and MIND there own business, What a big time shame mellissa etheridge is GAY She will have to face the lord Jesus in heaven and so does the rest of these OFF THE WALL GAYS!!!! I hate to say it, but they wont be in heaven, GOD SAYS SO IN THE BIBLE!!!!! Unless they repent of there wicked sins and DONT DO THIS NO MORE!!!! Then they have the blessings of heaven!! My opinion on gays rights and marriage?? ITS DISGUSTINGLY WRONG AND LIKE SODOM AND GAMORRA ALL OVER AGAIN, I HATE THIS SIN!!!!)

When I read this posting I cringed with disbelief. Here is a person using the Holy Bible and advocating hate. The poster speaks of Jesus Christ as if he or she knew him personally, yet still disregards the greatest commandment he gave to man!

But what does any of this have to do with gay rights? In theory, the answer should be nothing at all, since church and state are supposed to be separate on issues that govern or rule the society in which we live.

Politicians usually walk a fine line when expressing their views on this issue, attempting to garner support from the gay community by suggesting discrimination based on sexual orientation is wrong, while never truly taking a firm stance against discrimination based on sexual orientation.

In doing this, they hope to pacify Christian supporters who at the end of the day are nothing less than homophobic haters!

Many Christians are confused about homosexuality being a choice versus what homosexuals consider to be genetic. While I am a heterosexual man, experiences in life have taught me to think beyond the traditional teachings of most church denominations.

When I was in the third or fourth grade, I had this friend who was the typical happy-go-lucky kid and made friends with anyone who took the time to get to know him.

Upon becoming friends with him, I knew this boy was gay, although back then the common term was "sissy," primarily due to the girl-like manner in which he ran. By the time we were in the fifth grade, his girly running style continued to manifest to the point where it was obvious he was genetically different than all the other boys in the school.

Today, he is living an openly gay lifestyle. My personal belief is that the majority of homosexuals are genetically born that way. However, I would also emphasize that living a gay lifestyle is choice.

So where exactly does Jonathan Burrs stand on the issue of gay marriage and gay rights? My position is simple: Homosexuals should have the same rights afforded to every one else without exception.

Do I believe in gay marriage? Absolutely not. Do I believe in civil unions for gay couples or domestic partnerships? Absolutely not. In fact, I do not believe the state should issue marriage licenses at all.

My personal position on this very controversial issue is that states should stop issuing marriage licenses to anyone.

The job of the state is to keep record of a contractual agreement between couples that claim they want to spend the rest of their lives together, sharing everything equally. This can be accomplished by issuing civil union licenses to everyone.

Since the basis of the debate is one of a religious nature, let this solely be determined by the church denominations when they have a choice to either perform or not perform the marriage ceremony.

At some point, Christians are going to have to allow God to be God and stop trying to force his will using their flawed methods.

Regardless of what humans label same-sex unions under, his law is infinitely unchangeable.

However, this does not give Christians the right to judge or force their beliefs on others.

Jonathan R. Burrs is a Hagerstown resident who writes for The Herald-Mail.

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