Our View: Yes on Ref. I; no on 43

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Amendment 43 on the Nov. 7 ballot would change the Colorado Constitution to define marriage as a union between a man and a woman.

Let us be crystal clear - this is a purely political amendment that is an unnecessary waste of the voters' time. The only thing to be gained by voting for it is to send a message of intolerance that we know the people of Colorado do not support.

Proponents argue that Amendment 43 preserves "the commonly accepted definition of marriage," and that a constitutional amendment is necessary "to avoid court rulings that expand marriage beyond one man and one woman in Colorado."

But Colorado already has a statutory law in place that defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman. That law is not under attack, so why are we trying to alter the state's governing document? Here's what we suspect - such amendments were enormously successful in many states in the 2004 election, particularly in getting out the religious right vote.

Amendment 43 serves no useful purpose beyond partisan political pandering. It promotes discrimination based on sexual orientation and has no business in our constitution. It should be rejected.

By contrast, Referendum I is the polar opposite. It seeks to provide the framework to give partners in committed, same-sex relationships access to many of the benefits, protections and responsibilities afforded spouses in marriages.

Referendum I would create "domestic partner certificates" allowing same-sex couples to qualify for health insurance, family leave, workers compensation and other benefits in the same way that married couples do. The law distinguishes between a marriage and a domestic partnership, thus it does not conflict with Colorado's statutory law defining marriage as a union between a man and a woman.

It addresses adoption and child support for domestic partners. It requires domestic partners to assume the same financial responsibilities as spouses in a marriage. The referendum even includes terms for dissolution of a domestic partnership through the court system.

There are reasonable safeguards in place to avoid abuses of the system. Same-sex couples would have to apply for the domestic-partner certificates, and laws would limit who is eligible for such certificates.

Is the system open to abuse? Yes, but no more so than traditional couples who marry to establish legal residency or who simply enter bad marriages.

Besides, because it is a referendum that would be added to the Colorado Revised Statutes, lawmakers can amend it in the future if problems arise.

Committed, long-term monogamous same-sex partners should be able to visit one another in the hospital, make medical decisions for one another and provide family health and life insurance for one another. Referendum I provides an avenue for all of these and more. It is a progressive and reasonable solution to a very real problem.

Referendum I is careful not to infringe upon the traditional definition of marriage and does not attempt to impose individual morality. Rather, it simply makes it more pragmatic for two people who love each other to also care for one another.

Vote yes on Referendum I.

e-mail editor@steamboatpilot.com to respond

Comments

mfishon 8 years, 2 months ago

This viewpoint is a feeble attempt to ask for special privileges for a certain segment of people based on their sexual preference.

You say about Admend 43, "It promotes discrimination based on sexual orientation". Well, if you vote for Ref I then one can just as easily use that same reasoning for saying, "It (Ref. I) promotes special treatment based on sexual orientation."

Marriage is a union between man and woman that is approved and accepted by society. This Ref. is asking to give same-sex couples all the same "benefits" that currently go to a married man and woman....but instead of calling it marriage they give it another name. What the proponents are asking for is that society should accept and approve this relationship (i.e. behavior) between a same-sex couple so that they can get these "benefits".

Why just stop at same-sex couples:lets ask voters to approve "benefits" for three people in a relationship:if two are good then three has to be even better eh!

The individuals in a same-sex couple have all the same rights and restrictions that I have. I, as an adult male, have the right to love anyone I want; however, I don't have the right to marry any person I love. And marriage is what society has deemed worthy of getting certain benefits. There are restrictions as to what society approves....I don't have the right to marry my pet dog, I don't have the right to marry my sister or daughter, I don't have the right to marry a woman under a certain age...in fact, I don't have the right to marry just any woman...for starters the woman must not be currently married. These restrictions apply equally to everyone. Marriage, and the benefits/restrictions that go with it, has been set aside and approved by society because this society was procreated by the implied construct in marriage that says it is between a man and woman.

Ref I just begs us to push the limits of "special privileges" for same-sex couples and also for any special group who can make it sound like they are being discriminated against.

I have friends involved in same-sex relationships; however, as much as I may care for their well being I don't believe society should embrace that particular type of relationship as to the point that it deserves any special treatment.

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retiredinss 8 years, 2 months ago

I agree with the above stated comments with respect to Referendum I. I oppose Referendum I for the following reasons:

First, the prevalent tv advertisent that "It's not marriage", is at the minimum highly misleading, and possibly false. The blue book in item 14-15-106 Section (2) states "A domestic partner shall be included in any definition or use of the terms 'spouse', 'family', immediate family', 'dependent', 'next of kin', and any other term that denotes spousal relationship, as those terms are used throughout the law." This sounds like marriage to me, and if that is what the proponents want then they should say so directly, rather than through misleading advertisements. It is impossible for me to support a proposal when it is promoted in such a misleading manner.

Second, while the proposal provides certain legal benefits to same sex couples via the referendum and subsequent rewrite of laws, it does nothing for others who are in similar long term, unmarried situations. What about unmarried siblings who live together? In attempting to provide legal benefits to same sex couples, the proposal discriminates agains others by not proposing to provide them similar benefits. More thought should be given by the proponents to deal with such objections.

Thank you for the opportunity to comment.

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Lark 8 years, 2 months ago

I absolutley agree with everything in the paper's opinion. There is absolutley no basis for reasoning that two people in a committed, loving, monogamous relationship shouldn't have all the rights that I do as a married man.

Spinning the issue by saying the amendment would provide basis for "special privileges based on sexual preference" is insulting. By NOT providing people with the same rights I have, we are limiting their freedoms. It's like saying that allowing black people to go to school with my children is granting them "special privileges based on race." It was just as false an assertion then as the one above is today.

They're not attempting to legislate religion - your religious definition of marraige will stay intact. It's an attempt to offer all the law-abiding citizens of our country the SAME rights. Whether or not you find being gay morally reprehensible isn't at issue - being gay is not illegal. But to use the example of the first poster, mfishon, it is illegal to marry a relative, or more than one person, or a pet. As insulting as those comparisons are, they must be addressed, because many deranged people equate being gay with bestiality. Now that's reprehensible.

I think you should sit down with your "friends" in same-sex relationships and discuss this issue with them. Compare their love for someone who loves animals, or those in incestuous relationships. We'll see how long they remain your friends.

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mfishon 8 years, 2 months ago

Lark, you made my point exactly. You said "two people in a committed, loving, monogamous:" should have the same rights as you. What about two same-sex people in a loving, monogamous relationship...notice that I left off the "committed" adjective...shouldn't they also be granted the same rights as you? If not, then aren't they being discriminated against...and shouldn't we be insulted because they are left out. This Ref implies that if they are not "committed" then they don't deserve any thing special. You see, by having a subjective list of adjectives then we are including/excluding people...which according to you is going to "limit the freedoms" of those individuals that get excluded.

This Ref. is trying to equate a given list of attributes to the notion of marriage people seem to get special treatment. It sounds like you are saying that if these people meet all the same requirements as you in your marriage then they should get the same rights as you. This has to be the most subjective thing I can think of. Who gets to make such a list of adjectives to determine who gets in and who is left off?

You are mistaking "freedom" with entitlements. Everyone is free to love who they want:they can even live with who they want to a certain extent. It is the legal union of a man and woman that brings about certain entitlements (tax benefits, etc.) Politicians excel at creating entitlements for specific groups...our tax code is full of entitlements.

That is the problem with Ref I - it is trying to set aside benefits for a certain group of people that meet very specific requirements. This is not about rights or freedom:it is about entitlements (i.e. special treatment) for a certain group.

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mfishon 8 years, 2 months ago

Marriage is not about religion or even solely about love...sure, love is an underlying theme, but it is not a requirement. The marriage license doesn't have a question that says "Are you madly in love and will stay that way forever?" In fact, no proof of passion and commitment is required to get married. Far from it...if love were a requirement then I would say a lot of marriages are in default of the license...as evident by the divorce rate. Now, don't get me wrong...I do believe love should ideally be very present in every marriage; however, love is not the sole reason for it as seen by society. You see, marriage is not about a list of adjectives:it is about something else.

Marriage has been recognized by most all cultures...in some cultures most marriages are arranged...in some it is a contract between a man and a woman's family. But in every case those cultures have discovered that there is something special about the union of a man and woman:why is that? Probably because the culture realizes that they were procreated from just that union. The very cultures that were produced by man and woman have discovered that this union is worthy enough to protect (and get certain entitlements) so that the culture will continue to exist.

Now, if this Ref. is saying that there is something special about "loving and committed" people and we want to treat them special then so be it:but then why is it not inclusive of all "loving and committed" people. What if two opposite sex siblings who are "loving and committed", but not attracted to each other, decide to live together for whatever reason:maybe they are doing something noble like raising an orphan...but for whatever reason they have decided that marriage is not for them. Should we give them the same benefits as "marriage" or do they get a different set of benefits? And then once again we will be stuck attempting to define the list of attributes of who to include/exclude.

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Lark 8 years, 2 months ago

Mfishon, let me first say that I appreciate the fact that you put forth a reasonable, civil argument. Tempers often flare in discussions about topics like this and I feel it bears recognizing that you are being, well, an adult about things.

But I still must disagree. I see the basis of your argument; but if we didn't legislate entitlements based on subjective groups of adjectives, we wouldn't have any. Aside from the historical perspective of recognizing the union of one man and one woman as marriage, there is no basis for argument for declining access to the same entitlements, as you refer to them, to same-sex couples.

Simply put, I think it serves us as a nation (and a state, and a community) to recognize that a union between same-sex couples can benefit civil life. Certainly, not all people will agree with me on this, but I recognize how society in general benefits from the recognition of two people's commitment to each other. And I don't think that the special rights should spread to siblings who live together (as they have rights, as siblings) or friends who are helping to raise each other's children. The nature of the relationship is inherently different, and it's that nature that is being recognized (and provided with entitlements).

Again, thanks for your opinions - I better understand your viewpoint thanks to your reasoned arguments. But I think we'll have to agree to disagree on this one.

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mfishon 8 years, 2 months ago

Lark- fair enough. I also appreciate your willingness to put forth your opinion and reasoning behind it.

The public square should always be open for people to put forth reasoned arguments so that voters can be informed of different views on a particular subject...Ideally voters should make educated choices at the poll instead of rash emotional decisions.

I don't want people to vote for or against Ref I based on your or my argument...instead I want them to sit down with an open mind on this Ref. and all other Amends and Refs and force themselves to "think" through all the different aspects of the argument. I think a voter who is attempting to reason an argument will do a better job at serving the population as a whole.

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Lark 8 years, 1 month ago

"I think a voter who is attempting to reason an argument will do a better job at serving the population as a whole."

Amen! It's a breath of fresh air to see political discourse based on reasoning rather than blind following of party lines and assumption.

Again, thanks for the polite, well reasoned thoughts. See you on the 7th!

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Makesmeralph 8 years, 1 month ago

Once again, we see that most of the vociforous opponents to gay rights, as with Rev. Ted Haggard, are closeted gays themselves.

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