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Letter: Millions will never accept validity of same-sex marriage

Millions will never accept validity of same-sex marriage

The case before the Supreme Court concerning same-sex marriage appears to be a classic example of the never-ending conflict between legal and moral law. Legal laws are drafted and passed by elected groups of people and are thereby imperfect, vary by jurisdiction, subject to change over time and may even conflict with moral law, e.g. slavery, segregation, abortion, piecemeal state and local laws. Moral law is considered by many to be rooted in the divine and thus is eternal, ubiquitous and not subject to the malleable whims of changing social mores.

In my opinion, same-sex couples deserve all the legal rights and protections of heterosexual couples, i.e. joint tax filings, government benefits, child custody, power of attorney, etc. However, I strongly believe this can be attained through civil unions. If the Supreme Court (via most likely a single vote by Justice Anthony Kennedy) declares “same-sex marriages” constitutional and thus mandates recognition by all states and localities, the court would not only guarantee legal rights for a small minority community, but also bestow legitimacy to a type of union that for millennia has been considered taboo and illegal by a wide range of religions and societies. Just because opinion polls have swung in favor of same-sex marriage does not make it “right” in the moral sense, but merely popular.

A victory for same-sex marriage proponents will not affect any rights of heterosexual couples, however, by redefining the institution of marriage, as no longer the exclusive domain of one man and one woman, the Supreme Court will force every U.S. citizen, regardless of his/her moral beliefs, to recognize the legitimacy of homosexual marriage, something millions of pious Americans will never accept – not out of spite or hatred, but of conviction.

Peter McNeela

Buffalo