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Rights should be consistent for everyone

March 7, 2014 at 5:03 p.m.
Updated March 6, 2014 at 9:07 p.m.


Editor, the Advocate:

An open letter to Greg Abbott, attorney general of Texas:

As you strive to have your staff draft an appeal to the recent federal ruling declaring the state's so-called "anti-gay marriage" law unconstitutional, please consider these facts.

This issue has nothing whatsoever to do with gay or straight. No right-thinking Texan would support laws that limit another's right to equal and fair treatment under the law. A marriage is a legal contract between individuals meant to bind the partners, under law, to property, rights of heirs and the ability to enter into contracts as one entity. Under law, there are also expectations about children in the marriage.

None of these contractual matters have anything to do with morality, the Bible, Christianity or anything to do with sex. The confusion becomes apparent when we combine marriage and wedding. Couples must obtain a license from the government to get married.

However, there are no restrictions in the law against weddings. We have become so used to seeing marriages and weddings taking place simultaneously that we forget they are not the same thing. As a minister, I can perform the most elaborate wedding ceremony in the world, but the couple is not married until I sign the license and it is filed with the government.

When we consider a marriage partnership as any other business partnership, things begin to clear. No Texan would try to tell another who they can have as a business partner. The same needs to true with marriage partnerships.

Finally, sir, it is not same-sex marriage; it is same-gender marriage. Again, sex has nothing to do with it. Same-gender couples may or may not engage in sexual behavior, just as mixed-gender couples may or may not have a sexual relationship.

Attempting to legislate who can and cannot have sex with each other crosses the boundary between legality and morality. Legally, we have an obligation to protect the rights of everyone to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. And everyone does not exclude people who do not share the same moralistic beliefs.

Robert J. Shand, Victoria

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