Letter: Legitimate concern

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The courts have long recognized the intrinsic interest of the state in the protection of the rising generation — its children. Hence, the courts have long upheld child welfare legislation as a legitimate interest and purview of government. Inasmuch as marriage represents the most fundamental recognition, basis and crucible of family life, the state has a vested interest in the definition of that union, well beyond purely religious concern.

With recognition of legal marriage between persons of the same sex, a host of associated legal rights, including adoption, will be entailed. The list is lengthy and evidence of the reality of these entailments is already unfolding throughout the United States. The nature and legal definition of marriage is, therefore, a legitimate concern of every citizen.

A rational belief that child welfare and family welfare are best supported through a heterosexual union, with a man and a woman, father and mother, providing their unique and important contributions, is (by definition) not a “phobia” of any kind. While some perhaps have an irrational fear of homosexuality, the fact is that well-meaning people have a rational basis for their concern and moral opposition to homosexual marriage. The term “homophobic” is rampantly and intentionally misapplied to these people in the attempt to stigmatize and pathologize any opposition to homosexual marriage. This “languaging” of the issue and opposition as “homophobia” is a deft political move intended to silence relevant civic dialogue through shame and scorn.

The same dynamic occurred decades ago over the question of whether divorce was a benign “adult choice” or in fact likely to prove detrimental to children. Those who dared claim harm from divorce were labeled “judgmental moralists,” and dialogue was successfully suffocated. Decades later, scholars “quietly” set about to honestly examine the issue through rigorous empirical study, which has largely proven that the PC of that earlier era was not correct. We must have the courage to carry forward the important conversation of our day—rationally, empirically, morally and above all, civilly.

Mark Butler
Department of Family Life

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