Jay Maynard (jmaynard) wrote,
Jay Maynard

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Kersten's not going to always be right

The Minneapolis Star-Tribune has signed up a new columnist, Katherine Kersten. Judging from the columns she's written so far, Ms. Kersten appears to not be the STrib's usual raving left-wing loonie. It'll be interesting reading someone on their opinion page who doesn't consistently make my teeth grind.

Nevertheless, she's not always right, either. In today's column, she argues that marriage should be defined as one man, one woman on family stability grounds. I sent her the following email in reply:

Welcome to the Star-Tribune. From what you're written so far, I suspect you and I will agree with each other much more often than, say, your left-wing colleague Nick Coleman. (I bet you two must have some interesting discussions in the halls.)

Just as Nick isn't wrong all the time, though, neither will I agree with you all the time either. Today's column is one such case.

You argue that marriage should be defined as one man, one woman in order to protect families. This is a common argument, but has two fatal flaws:

1) If marriage is about providing stability for children, then there's no reason that a man and a woman who will never have children, either for medical or personal reasons, should be allowed to marry. I know one couple in particular who are adamantly child-free and will remain so; should they be allowed to reap the benefits of marriage? Carry this a step further: What about transgendered people? Another couple I know was legally married in Michigan because one partner was born male, even though she is now living as a woman, and thus their marriage is not recognized in Illinois where they now live. (While I'm mentioning them: whatever happened to the "full faith and credit" clause of the Constitution? The so-called "Federal Defense of Marriage Act" seems to directly violate that clause.)

2) There's a much greater threat to stability of even traditional marriages, and that's divorce. When half of all marriages end in divorce in some small number of years, how can we say that stability is the norm?

Star Parker's comment assumes that the only alternative to a mom and a grandmother is a mom and a dad. It ignores the fact that children of gay and lesbian couples - yes, there are many - turn out just as well as children of heterosexual couples, and have every time the question has been studied.

In 1967, the Supreme Court threw out the idea that people should be free to marry anyone they chose, as long as that someone was of the same race. It's time to throw out the notion that people should be free to marry anyone they choose, as long as that someone is of the opposite gender. It is, truly, a matter of equality, and gay and lesbian people will never be equal so long as they cannot marry the partner of their choice.

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