Con: Priest says minority should not force redefinition of marriage

JR Ortega By JR Ortega

March 23, 2014 at 10:04 p.m.
Updated March 22, 2014 at 10:23 p.m.

At 67 years old, the Rev. Dimitri Cozby has seen many changes in the church, society and culture.

A federal judge's February ruling that Texas' gay marriage ban is unconstitutional makes him feel as if the majority opinion in the United States is being undermined.

He sees same-sex marriage happening, whether it's now or later.

"It's something that's being forced upon us, and that's it," said Cozby, who preaches at All Saints Orthodox Mission in Victoria. "The fact is I won't be performing any gay marriages."

As much as religion is used to justify why gay marriage should not be legalized, the core reason is not the rights of a person - heterosexual or homosexual - but the redefinition of marriage, he said.

"I wish perhaps that it could have been taken care of in some other way rather than completely redefining the institution of marriage," he said.

But marriage, he said, is not a right, though he understands the legal arguments regarding spousal benefits, insurance and medical powers of attorney.

A 2011 study by The Williams Institute estimated that 3.5 percent of the population identified themselves as gay, lesbian or bisexual. This number, Cozby said, is one of the reasons he does not understand why the U.S. majority is being ignored in the argument.

"It's overturning the whole meaning of the institution," he said, adding that regardless of the outcome, the same-sex marriage decision will not impact the church's teachings.

Victoria resident Mary Ann Wenske said she takes a different approach to why gay marriage should not be legalized.

She said she stays away from using religion as the basis for her reasons - she uses natural law.

"Children deserve a mother and a father. That's how they were created," Wenske said.

Wenske said she understands children may not always have a father or mother figure but feels both need to be present.

"It's the natural law," she said "You don't know what affects it will have on children."

Having an opinion about gay marriage is difficult because many times you can be scrutinized as hating homosexuals, she said.

"Good people can disagree," she said. "I don't hate homosexuals just because I'm against homosexual marriage. I just don't think they have the right to change the definition of society."

For the Rev. John Carmona Jr. of Victoria's Jerusalem Family Praise Center, the issue is not black-and-white but gray all around.

Carmona separates his religious and theological convictions from his legislative ones. For him, the U.S. Constitution calls for equality, and he is pro-equality. But he also sees the con side.

"Homosexuality is a sin, but I don't let that cloud my judgment," he said. "I don't think my religious convictions should play a role."

Like those in support of gay marriage, Wenske believes the road ahead is a long one, whether gay marriage is overturned or not in Texas.

"I think if the courts force it upon the states, it's going to be a long battle," she said.

Pro: Couples say they deserve right to love, legal and financial benefits



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