Crossroads residents weigh in on same-sex marriage
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The U.S. Supreme Court is wading into the same-sex marriage issue, and residents in the Crossroads are eager to see what the justices' ruling will be when it is issued in the coming months.
Victoria County Justice of the Peace Precinct 3 Robert Whitaker said he hopes the justices rule against same-sex marriage.
"First of all, I believe that marriage is a covenant between a man and a woman. I do not believe marriage between two males or two females is proper," he said.
Whitaker noted he hopes the justices will leave the issue to the states.
"I don't care what they do in California. I don't think it's right, and I don't think it's right for Texas. I believe the states should have the right to decide for themselves," he said.
As justice of the peace, Whitaker can perform marriages, but is not required to perform marriages, he noted. If the law against same-sex marriage were to change, he said he would probably decline to perform any same-sex marriages.
Russell Cain, the leader of the Calhoun County Republican Party, said he is personally against same-sex marriage but said he feels it is a choice people should be able to make for themselves.
"Marriage is between a man and a woman, but I respect everybody's preference," Cain said, acknowledging that most people have friends who are either gay or straight. "Everybody has rights and liberties in America, and I respect everyone's right. It's a personal choice."
Cain said he feels the government already is involved too much in people's lives, and he said he is hopeful the Supreme Court will leave the issue up to the states.
"If someone finds someone who makes them happy, more power to them. People can judge, but God will have the final judgment," he said, noting if people don't like the decision that is made, they should vote and be active in their government to make a change.
Pastor David King of the First United Methodist Church in Palacios, said he understands why people of faith have had a difficult time with the concept of same-sex marriage, but is hopeful the justices will find a way to give people a legal right to be joined through civil unions.
King's son is gay, but King noted that his views about the subject have evolved over time. He was particularly impacted by the year he spent working with men with HIV, seeing what they went through and realizing how their relationships were just like those of any other couple.
"I can understand why people of faith have a hard time with this because there's really no precedent in our Scriptures, but I definitely believe that partners should have the legal rights of married couples with benefits and the right to go into a hospital room as family. Denying the right to let someone into a hospital room goes against everything we think of as compassion," he said.
Flora Hernandez, president of the Victoria Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender group, said she is hopeful the justices will rule in favor of same-sex marriage.
"It's not ideal with our Constitutional rights. It's wrong to put us in a class that denies us the same rights that they give everybody else," she said.
Hernandez will be watching this case, but even if the justices don't rule in favor of same-sex marriage, she is confident the right to marry will come with time.
"Our movement is a part of the civil rights movement. It's going to be a long, tough slog, but it will happen eventually. It's not a matter of if we will get the right to marry; it's a matter of when," she said.