Monday, March 1, 2010


What makes a Marriage?

On Friday, February 12, 2010 a gay couple Marc Freligh and Troy Litwhiler walked into the Schuylkill County courthouse in Pottsville, PA. They applied for a marriage license and were immediately denied. According to the Republican Herald Newspaper, Freligh, a member of Schuylkill County's chapter of Parents, Families, & Friends of Lesbians and Gays, said he and Litwhiler weren't surprised by the response.
"We did this to make the point," Freligh told the Republican Herald. "There are people who do want to get married. We made the point, and that was it."
As part of Freedom to Marry Week, Freligh said same-sex couples across the state applied for marriage licenses Friday.
Each will be denied.
There is a bill introduced in the Pennsylvania Legislature by state Sen. Daylin Leach, D-17, that would grant same-sex couples equal marriage rights in Pennsylvania, but that bill has met resistance from some Republicans and traditional marriage supporters.
Freligh, told the Republican Herald, that he and Litwhiler were in Harrisburg earlier this week rallying in support of the bill. Should it pass, Pennsylvania would join Massachusetts, Vermont, Iowa, Connecticut, Maine and the District of Columbia in allowing same-sex couples to marry.
The Republican Herald Newspaper article drew numerous online comments. Some people who are vehemently against same sex marriage used bible quotes, nature, and our nation’s founding fathers too argue against it. Christian Fundamentalists argue that same sex marriage is un-American, unnatural, and an abomination against god’s law. “God created Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve” a commenter wrote.
I am a straight male and I have been attracted to the opposite sex for as long as I can remember. That being said, I do not have a problem with same sex marriage. I am in favor of it because ten percent of our society is made up of Homosexuals. They would tell you that their sexual orientation is something they were born with and they do not view their lifestyle as an abomination against god.
I personally believe …….
    A ceremony of religious rituals and a piece of paper from the state does not validate a marriage. It is the intimacy and the inability to separate oneself from the other, in the spirit of love that validates the marriage. All couples, whether they be heterosexual or homosexual have the capacity to care for one another. Therefore their union should have equal protection under the law.
    The denial of same sex marriage is being fueled by bible thumping religious conservatives. This should be a State issue not a religious issue. It wasn’t that long ago when slavery was justified on religious grounds. Interracial marriage was also denied due to religious conservative view points. The overturning of those unjust laws did not bring an end to our American way of life.
    Allowing gay marriage in all fifty states will not bring an end to our American way of life either. It wasn’t that long ago in the Roman Catholic Church if you were openly gay you could not be ordained a priest. When there was a huge shortage of vocations for the Priesthood. The R.C. Church quickly changed its policy. Now the majority of priests and seminarians in the Roman Catholic Church are openly gay. The Roman Catholic Church is now okay with that and rightly so.
    The Anglican Church has an openly gay Bishop who is living with a gay partner; unlike the Roman Catholic Church the Anglican Church is marrying gay couples. In the United States though gay marriage should not even be a religious issue it should remain a secular issue.
    Thomas Jefferson, one of our Nation’s founding Fathers once said, “Education and a virtuous electorate will guide our nation forward.” Notice he did not use the word religion. He like most of our Nation’s founding Fathers was a Deist. The Deists during his time believed in God but not in religion. The educated back then believed religion was practicing and living within superstitious beliefs.
    The electorate during the time of Jefferson supported the free expression of religion within society separate from Government interference. Their intent was to erect a wall of separation between Church and State {not} in establishing a Christian Theocracy. In 1947 our Supreme Court the highest court in the land upheld our Founding Fathers intent.
    Religion should not be imposed on the American people cloaked as Government policy. The State by denying same sex couples the right to marry is in fact imposing religious views on a segment of society and denying them equal protection under the law. As stated before, unjust laws such as these have been overturned in the past. Woman now have the right to vote, interracial marriages are allowed in all fifty states, no one today thinks slavery is justified under religious precepts.
    Society will always have a segment of people that live within a fundamentalist mindset. However, the majority of free thinkers will allow reason and education to move our nation on a virtuous path. Two hundred years ago most universities in America debated whether some people are born evil. The common belief was we are all born with the capacity to do good or bad. We implicitly know right from wrong. It was argued, if we didn’t know right from wrong the world would be full of depravity. The world, however, is not full of depravity and not all people are depraved. Therefore we all have the capacity for good.
    Most of our founding fathers viewed the concept of original sin and Christ taking on the sins of the world as nothing more than superstitious mythology.
    A good education based on reason, logic, and the arts with a virtuous upbringing is all that is needed for a just society. Homosexual people can also live virtuous lives as married couples. I don’t think our founding fathers would disapprove of homosexual marriages or try to deny gay couples the right to marry.
Always with love, from Suzhou, China.
Thomas F. O’Neill
(800) 272-6464
China Cell: 8615114565945
Skype: thomas_f_oneill
Other articles, short stories, and commentaries by Thomas F. O'Neill can be found at the links below.

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  1. Bravo, Thomas! And bravely said. And as you point out, not all churches condemn same-sex marriage. Just for example, the Unitarian Universalist Church has actively supported this right for many years, as have the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and some others.

  2. Well said , Thomas . Succinct common sense. !