Same-sex marriage opposed in majority of states

When President Obama announced his support for gay marriage, supporters and pundits declared it symbolic of a historic shift in American attitudes. But as the attention fades, the fact remains that voters in 31 states have rejected gay marriage and more are lining up to do so.

That leaves opponents of gay marriage to wonder if they're lagging behind history-in-the-making or leading it. Some say that, despite their convictions, they believe marriage between two men or two women will inevitably become law across the U.S. Others say that Obama's announcement strengthens their resolve, and will not slow the drive to protect an institution they consider vital to the nation's survival.

Backers of same-sex marriage often argue that, as more people see friends, family members and neighbors in committed gay relationships, misgivings fade. But opponents cite their own specific, personal experiences — as a missionary working with teens from single-mother households or a nurse treating a suicidal gay man — to explain their belief that the only way forward is for marriage to be limited to one man and one woman.

Many say that while their opposition to gay marriage begins with a reading of the Bible, it is confirmed by the challenges and observations of everyday life in a country whose values they see as crumbling. The politics of recent days, they say, will not change that.

That view is echoed in interviews with opponents from around the country, with some of the strongest conviction in states where gay marriage has been a hot issue.

In Minnesota, where a vote is set for this fall on an amendment similar to North Carolina's, missionary John Tolo said he'd long admired Obama for rising to become the nation's first black president. But he lamented Obama's stand on gay marriage as an unprincipled pursuit of campaign cash.

The president's stand contradicts the lessons of his own experience, said Tolo, recalling his own drug use and multiple sexual relationships after his parents divorced and, more recently, his work in a poor part of St. Paul.

In the Frogtown neighborhood, where Tolo's group has bought and is renovating an abandoned house that he says is a gathering point for teens, too many children grow up in households where there's "this fundamental breakdown of having a healthy father role model and a healthy mother role model," he said. "There's this major identity issue where men are just missing."

Tolo said that, while he supports the idea of some kind of legal recognition for same-sex couples, marriage is a sacred template for raising and caring for children as God intended. For government to try to broaden marriage risks undermining that, while infringing on the rights of Christians to define their own institutions.

"It's like saying Muslim women should no longer be allowed to wear burkas. To me, that's deeply offensive," Tolo said. "It's almost like the government wants to come and rewrite the Bible and, to me, that's a position that I don't think the government should take."

In North Carolina, Jennifer Cockerham's support for a gay marriage ban is rooted in a childhood spent in Bible Belt churches, warned against fornication and adultery. She said tornadoes and other cataclysmic events are a sign that God disapproves of the way Americans are living.

But with those beliefs as a foundation, Cockerham said certain experiences during her 23 years as a nurse cemented her opposition to gay marriage.

"My first encounter, personally, with a homosexual was when I had a patient who tried to commit suicide" after an argument with a lover, said Cockerham, who lives in Kernersville, N.C. "I felt really sorry for him because he had almost succeeded with the suicide attempt and I felt that he had so much more to live for than that particular lifestyle that had brought him there."

Visiting a daughter at college near San Francisco, she was dismayed by the openness of gay and lesbian couples.

"I know that made me feel uncomfortable and also made me feel concerned with the fact that they just needed the Lord. I felt they needed a heavenly father who could love them and teach them differently," she says.

On the night of the North Carolina vote, Cockerham stayed up until 1:30 a.m. watching reports of the results that were a fulfillment of her prayers.

Since Obama's announcement the next day, the president is in her prayers. "I can ask God for mercy for him," she says, "and I think the silent majority has finally spoken here in North Carolina."

Another opponent of gay marriage, April Brown of Lewisville, Texas, said the North Carolina vote and Obama's announcement are just the latest in a continuum of events, both public and personal, that have shaped her thinking on the issue over the past four or five years.

"I was evolving, definitely, just like the president," said Brown, the mother of four.

Until a few years ago, Brown said she was heading toward acceptance of the idea of civil unions for gay couples. But she was troubled after reading about a lawsuit filed by a gay man against the eHarmony dating site, demanding it provide matchmaking for gays and lesbians. That struck a chord because Brown knew two straight couples who had met through eHarmony and gotten married. While same-sex couples might argue they had a right to be together, what gave gays or lesbians the right, she wondered, to demand a private business change its ways to suit them?

Brown, who describes herself as conservative, said she became more concerned as demands grew among gay-rights advocates for a right to marriage, which she regards as a religious institution.

"I just began kind of questioning, what do they really want?" she said.

Brown said she doesn't want to tell people they can't be together. But the word "marriage" means something more, the joining of a man and a woman that is critical for society to sustain itself. "That's when it goes from a right to a privilege," she said.

Still, Brown is uncertain what recent events may say about the direction of American society. In the short-run, she believes conservative voters who were skeptical of Mitt Romney could be galvanized to support his candidacy. She notes that polls show a majority of Americans now approve of same-sex relationships. But votes like the one in North Carolina show they will not embrace gay marriage, she said.

Others, though, are increasingly concerned that such votes will not be enough.

Tim Arensmeier, pastor at the Sonoma Valley Community Church in Sonoma, Calif., said that despite the 2008 approval of a proposition barring same-sex weddings in a state known for its liberal politics, he is certain the momentum is shifting toward widespread legalization of gay marriage. Obama's announcement is one more step in an exorable march toward that end, he said. When the California proposition was overturned by a U.S. district judge, it convinced him that even a majority opposed to gay marriage is destined to fail.

Arensmeier, who is 71, said he would retire rather than agree to preside over such a marriage. But he remains troubled by what he sees around him. One of his daughters and her husband are in favor of gay marriage. So is one of his grandsons.

"We still get along and I feel like it's possible to disagree with someone robustly and still be courteous and polite and have fun with them. I mean, Jesus said love everybody, for crying out loud," Arensmeier said. "Is that the way the country is going to go? I think it probably is."

But others who oppose gay marriage say the battle must be won.

When Mary and Rob Robertson of Damascus, Md., went to a rally in January at the state capital to protest legalization of gay marriage, they did so thinking of their four young children.

"I can just tell you that the confusion that is happening in our world in terms of morality will just wreak havoc for years down the road," Mary Robertson said. "My children, we have to explain the whole situation about homosexuals and lesbians and my son just says to me, 'Do I have to decide who I like?'"

Robertson and others who oppose gay marriage say they're concerned they'll be labeled as extremists, when what they want is to protect their families and institutions.

"I just want you to know that we love everyone," she said. "But there's rightly ordered things in our lives, and if you look at a man's body and a woman's body, those two bodies fit together perfectly. And that's what God intended."

What do you think of this story?

Login to post comments

In order to make comments, you must create a subscription.

In order to comment on SunJournal.com, you must hold a valid subscription allowing access to this website. You must use your real name and include the town in which you live in your SunJournal.com profile. To subscribe or link your existing subscription click here.

Login or create an account here.

Our policy prohibits comments that are:

  • Defamatory, abusive, obscene, racist, or otherwise hateful
  • Excessively foul and/or vulgar
  • Inappropriately sexual
  • Baseless personal attacks or otherwise threatening
  • Contain illegal material, or material that infringes on the rights of others
  • Commercial postings attempting to sell a product/item
If you violate this policy, your comment will be removed and your account may be banned from posting comments.

Advertisement

Comments

My Commitment

At the ripe old age of 47, I have had the opportunity to witness many relationships, both straight and gay, black and white, and young and old, and I have come to one simple conclusion: Love knows no bounds. If two people are willing to work on making each other's lives happy and fulfilled, then I don't see anything un-christian about it. But when I hear someone spout negative remarks about my 17 year commitment to my partner, I ask myself why they are so un-fulfilled in their own lives that they must attempt to drag my relationship down to their level of hatred?

It is easy for anyone to find the lowest of the low in any population when that is what you are looking for, but then you must ask yourself; what did I miss along the way? Don't judge a group of people by the loudest voice, judge a group by the majority of them.

Most Blacks aren't thugs, most US Muslims aren't terrorists, most Asians aren't rocket scientists, most Mexicans aren't illegal, most Whites aren't KKK members, and most Homosexuals aren't flaming drag queens.

Just for the record, I'm a White, Republican, Gay Man that has been in a committed relationship longer than the majority of my straight friends and relatives.

All I ask for is the opportunity for my partner to have the same legal rights to my estate as my wife would have had if I had committed to a woman.

Sincerely,
Daniel E. Ouellette

PS: If there is anyone out there who can find fault in my beliefs, then I feel sorry for you as a human being, especially if you call yourself a Christian.

Steve  Dosh's picture

Same-sex marriage opposed in majority of states

All , Monday ? 4:20 pm hst • from Hawai'i
Dateline DC : Obama leads on marriage equality, the NAACP and others follow
http://www.washingtonpost.com today
" When leaders lead, especially on social issues that demand the end of an injustice or the expansion of liberty, people will follow. "
It doesn't really matter all that much to us
Vent , everyone
Haters gonna' hate . We love you n e way
Not in that way . l o l /s, Steve <3

Gay Marriage

I as a (Non-Denominational) ordained clergyman since 1976, say that "GODS LOVE", is unconditional,. If 2 concenting adults who happen to love one another, let them be joined in Holy Marriage. Politics has no business interfering in the love that "GOD" gave them. It appears to me that the gay marriage opponents, really need to find something better to do with their time instead of interfering with peoples lives.

What "GOD HAS JOINED TOGETHER" let no man put assunder. I feel that god put us all on this earth for a reason. If a man is gay or a woman is lesbien, they always must think of themselves as the best gay and lesbiens that there can be. And that is the reason god put them on the earth in the first place.

Jeff Johnson's picture

God's law

Ouch Bruce, you left yourself open to too many arguments. I'm not picking on you, but playing the devil's advocate... because this is what you're going to hear:

You said: "If 2 concenting adults who happen to love one another, let them be joined in Holy Marriage. Politics has no business interfering in the love that "GOD" gave them."

If that's the case, how can you argue that it's only 2 consenting adults? I'm certain that certain Mormon families enjoy the love that God gave a man and his several wives. How about Islam? They allow multiple marriages. Is their Allah any less creative in their love?

Muslims may marry their nieces. How do you feel about that? They would argue that God created their love. Is their religion wrong?

What if 4 consenting adults wanted to get married? 2 men and 2 women in a consenting relationship. Can you tell me that God didn't give them love?

If God gives them all love, why don't 3 men get married?

Jeff Johnson's picture

Separation of church and state...

I cringe every time I hear that phrase. It is overquoted and taken out of context by those who wish there were a true separation.

Quick history lesson: Separation of church and state is a phrase used by Thomas Jefferson in his 1802 letter to the Danbury, MA Baptists and others expressing an understanding of the intent and function of the Establishment Clause and Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States. Written during an election year, by the way...

The Exercise Clause reads: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof ...."

Article VI reads: No religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.

In plain and simple terms: Congress can't favor one religion over another, nor can they persecute for practicing any religion. Article VI states that congress can't require you to be ...(enter religion here)... to hold office.

His intention wasn't to say: "Your religious morals can't be applied to law." Every society's religious morals are written into their laws. That's why laws and punishment vary so much between societies.

That being said, As societies change so do laws... but our principal morals are driven by religion.

13 states now allow same sex marriage. If it were that important to me, I'd move to one of those states to be married... Just as some people move to states that don't charge income tax, or require motorcycle helmets, or don't have snow.

The other states will eventually come along, but remember it's a matter of opinion, and in our republic the majority rules whether it's right or wrong.

Biblical/Traditional Marriage

The idea of separation of church and state exists for a reason; it is not a one way concept saying "keep government out of church".

Who cares what the voters say honestly? On issues of equality it is not for the majority to determine how the minority will live. Recent history backs this up in terms of women's rights as well as the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s.

If you want to argue constantly about the Bible and how it dictates for 1 man and 1 woman just keep in mind that Solomon had 700 wives and Deuteronomy states that a rapist is bound to marry his victim.

Jeff Johnson's picture

More Equal

Unfortunately, in any democratic/republic society, the majority will always be "More Equal" than the minority. That's the tenet the society is based on... the rule of the majority:

MICHEL OUELLETTE's picture

Marriage

I sincerely disagree. Marriage has been a union between a man and a woman thoughout history - at all places, at all times and in all cultures. It is a 'thing' that is clearly defined just as the nose on my face. If I decide to call my nose a foot, how many feet do i now have? I still only have two. Just because I call my nose a foot - it does not make it so. It is still a nose - by definition. You simply cannot re-define something just because you decide to do so.

I liken the argument to the one concerning 'insurance' for persons with pre-existing conditions. Guess what - that is not 'insurance'. Insurance is based on risk and actuaries. I cannot take a car with pre-existing damage, call up Allstate, and sign up expecting them to pay for it. Insurance is based on risk, and the principle that they will eventiually have to pay out less than they take in. Paying out for a pre-existing condition turns the equation on its head. It can be called welfare or some other name, but it is not insurance.

What makes marriage- marriage? There is a great essay on that issue written by Donald Sensing. I suggest you read it. It deals with the philisophical issue of 'universals'.

http://senseofevents.blogspot.com/2010/08/what-makes-marriage-marriage.html

P.S As for the 'Separation of Church and State? Look through the founding documents and you will not find that clasue anywhere. The founders were concerned with an official Church - like the church of England and did not want to establish such. The founders were seeped in religion.

Jeff Johnson's picture

Really?

Michel, I agree with 85% of what you say, other than "Marriage has been a union between a man and a woman thoughout history."

Several cultures dating back to old testament times permit and encourage polygamy, in all walks of life. From indigenous South American Jungle tribes, to Muslims, to even some Innuit cultures, Polygamy has been accepted and legal.

"As clearly defined as the

"As clearly defined as the nose on my face"... interesting choice of words considering the following --

http://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/200505/marriage-history

But, you will probably just pass that off as liberal propaganda anyway.

I am not sure what you were trying to say by comparing, what I assumed was marriage equality, to insurance, however you failed miserably and made absolutely no sense.

The debate over religion and the founding fathers is not one to hash out here, there is enough research out their showing what their actual views were.

The main point is, it is not for the majority to define life for the minority on issues of equality. It was not all that long ago that he same arguments were used to attempt to prevent mixed race marriages, an idea that we scoff at nowadays. Marriage is about love and security, religion has no place in it at all.

P.S. It's not as if homosexuals can do any more harm to the "institution of marriage" than heterosexuals already have.

MICHEL OUELLETTE's picture

Marriage

My argument is what makes a 'thing a thing'. You simply cannot re-define things just because you really, really REALLY want to. Marriage is a thing. My nose is a thing, Insurance is a thing. Sorry that you are having difficulty understanding the concept. It may help if you reference a 'Dictionary'.

Jeff Johnson's picture

re-defining

You simply cannot re-define things just because you really, really REALLY want to.

Words that have been re-defined:

Artificial
This originally meant ‘full of artistic or technical skill’. Now its meaning has a very different slant.

Nice
This comes from the Latin ‘not to know’. Originally a ‘nice person’ was someone who was ignorant or unaware.

Awful
This meant ‘full of awe’ i.e. something wonderful, delightful, amazing. However, over time it has evolved to mean exactly the opposite.

Brave
This once was used to signify cowardice. Indeed, its old meaning lives on in the word ‘bravado’.

Manufacture
From the Latin meaning ‘to make by hand’ this originally signified things that were created by craftsmen. Now the opposite, made by machines, is its meaning.

Counterfeit
This once meant a perfect copy. Now it means anything but.

Prove
Read more in Grammar
Originally this meant to test. The old meaning survives in the phrase ‘proving ground’.

Tell
Its original meaning was ‘to count’. Which is how we came by the term ‘bank teller’.

Want some more?

Gay
Retarded
Faggot

Now all considered Hate Speech.

MICHEL OUELLETTE's picture

Marriage

You are confusing 'aternative' meanings for re-definition. Can you give me one instance in thousands of years that marriage has been in existance - just one where it did not involve a man and a women?. In any culture, at any time, anywhere on the face of the earth throughout history? May have occurred between many woman - or even many men. Just give me one instance where it has been recognized between same sexes. Just once - I won't make it too difficult for you.

Jeff Johnson's picture

Do you like apples?

Here's 10 countries in which same sex marriage is legal.

Argentina, Belgium, Canada, Iceland, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, South Africa, and Sweden.

It wasn't too difficult.

MICHEL OUELLETTE's picture

marriage

Call it an aardvark if you wish. Call it whatever you want - it is not marriage - by definition.

I have no issues with civil unions that provide all the same legal recognition. I simply refuse to let the illiberal left re-define things in the political correct world that simply are not. It is sophistry.

Jeff Johnson's picture

Sophistry

So... you agree that words can have more than one meaning? "Alternative meanings" rather than re-definition by your standards.

Marriage: (By Definition)

Webster's: noun The legal or religious ceremony that formalizes the decision of two people to live as a married couple, including the accompanying social festivities: to officiate at a marriage. Synonyms: nuptials, marriage ceremony, wedding.

Merriam-Webster: noun (1) : the state of being united to a person of the opposite sex as husband or wife in a consensual and contractual relationship recognized by law (2) : the state of being united to a person of the same sex in a consensual and contractual relationship recognized by law.

You've asked for re-defined words: Given
You've asked for any example of same sex marriage: Given

Is there any other proof you'd like to invalidate by calling it sophistry? Is Webster's and Merriam-Webster not a solid enough reference for you? Are the laws of 10 soverign countries not worthy of example?

MICHEL OUELLETTE's picture

Marriage

I assume you believe in Obama's unicorns and rainbows also.

Stunning that this is even debatable.

Amazing how far Liberals have sunk in self-delusion.

Jeff Johnson's picture

Liberal?

I actually snarfed my post-work adult beverage through my nose. You are the first person to ever call me liberal. Ever.

I'm fiscally uber-conservative. Believe that the borders should be closed. I'm disgusted by how DHHS throws my money around. I want to opt out of social security. I think Clinton and Obama are arguably the two most corrupt presidents ever. Obama is more of a socialist than Karl Marx was. ok, maybe I exaggerate a little.

I'm playing the devil's advocate on both sides of the gay marriage issue. I have yet to see an argument from either side that's valid, other than it's between 2 consenting adults. That still doesn't address what happens after 2 consenting adults get married... Why don't 3 consenting adults get married? I see both sides of the argument... and am leaning towards acceptance legally.

The only reasons I see against same-sex marriages have to do with religion. I'm not big in to religion. I'm also not big into the idea, "That's the way we've always done it." How much has the world changed in the last 40 years? Nothing can be done "The way we always did it."

It was said in a post earlier, it's not like gay couples can screw up the sanctimony of marriage any more than hetero couples.

I fail to see how allowing gay marriage would affect my life. Now 3 dudes/ladies getting married would be a little too freaky for my Judeo-Christian upbringing, and I see that as the next step if we allow gay marriage. But I'm sure that's years down the road.

MICHEL OUELLETTE's picture

Marriage

Ok - Let's play Devil's advocate. Sister - Brother marriage? Two consenting adults? Brother - Brother? Is that 'religion' that makes it taboo? See how silly this argument evolves?

What you are neglecting to

What you are neglecting to realize is that there is a long history of incestuous marriages/relationships throughout history, even ones that produced viable offspring.

MICHEL OUELLETTE's picture

Marriage

Officially recognized as marriage? I think not. .

Most of England recognized

Most of England recognized the marriages of various royal lines so, yeah, I would say officially recognized

MICHEL OUELLETTE's picture

Marriage

Geez - some people can be dense. Sister sister. Woman cousin - even distant to another woman relative? Man to man.

You are missing the darn point.

The issue is 'same sex'. Limit your arguments to that simple factoid. Not hard.

Jeff Johnson's picture

Simple Factoid(s) Simple questions..

1. 10 countries that perform and recognize same sex marriages: The Netherlands, Spain, Belgium, Canada, Norway, Sweden, South Africa, Portugal, Iceland, and Argentina.

2. 3 Countries that don't perform, but recognize same sex marriages performed elsewhere: Israel, the Caribbean countries of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, and Mexico.

3. Countries currently legislating same sex marriages: Austrailia, China, Columbia, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Luxembourg, Nepal, United Kingdom.

4. States that perform and recognize same sex marriage: Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Vermont, and Washington D. C.

5. States that recognize same sex marriage from other Jurisdictions: Washington, Maryland.

Question: In what manner does 2 women getting married affect your life?

MICHEL OUELLETTE's picture

Marriage

By definition - all of those examples are about as close to 'marriage' as a union between a dog and a fish.

Jeff Johnson's picture

By Definition...

Sigh... I tend to trust Merriam-Webster's and Oxfords definition much more than yours. No offense.

MICHEL OUELLETTE's picture

Marriage

37 of Obama's 57 states agree with me by law.

Whose definition of marriage?

Whose definition of marriage? The church, society, history? It has changed many, many times over the course of history and it is still changing and evolving in present day. The concept of marriage for love was something new to the 20th century and frowned upon when it was first introduced.

MICHEL OUELLETTE's picture

Marriage

Still missing the point. Was it between a man and a woman?

Denis Ledoux's picture

same sex marriages

This is a poorly written article. It uses unfounded conclusions to anecdotes to make an ideological point. For instance, that a gay man attempted suicide is not an indictment of gay sexuality. Otherwise, if a straight man attempted suicide that would, using the same criteria, have to be an indictment of heterosexuality. That would be a crazy conclusion. Neither position makes sense.

The plural of anecdote is not data.

It is not to the Sun-Journal's credit to print such a poorly thought-through piece of propaganda. More editorial insight please.

Steve  Dosh's picture

Same-sex marriage opposed in majority of states

Adam ? 21:40 HST • Sunday night
Madam I'm Adam [ a clever palindrome, like racecar :]
Now what if your son or daughter was L G B T ( presuming here you ever loved any one enough and they have reciprocated enough for you two to have had or to have adopted a child ) . Would you love him or her any less ? Of course not . That would be hypocritical , uncaring , and just plain wrong , now wouldn't it ?
Clive Staples Lewis , a noted Christian author ( The Screw Tape Letters and The Lionj the Witch and the Wardrobe and a contemporary and friend of J.R. Tolkein ) , teaches us that there are many types of love including paternal , fraternal , maternal , agape ( if it exists ) , and erotic love
You are beating a dead horse your point is moot • Gays and lesbians will go get married in those - o t h e r - 1 9 U S States and many other countries where it is entirely legal and they could care less about your opinions
Love love and hate hate, bigotry and intolerance everyone reading this in Maine
Mainers United for Marriage is a local political organization . 2,707 people on facebook® like them . This is not meant to be an endorsement yet we do support them also . The night jasmine smells- b e a u t i f u l - here tonight :) /s, Steve Dosh , ( a practicing Christian ) and ohana , Hawai'i
Adam just isn't Able

Advertisement

Stay informed — Get the news delivered for free in your inbox.

I'm interested in ...