PORTLAND — I found M.D. Harmon’s recent column in support of what he calls “natural” marriage and against marriage equality deeply flawed (“Is New York marriage vote a trend – or a wake-up call?”, July 1).

Early in his column, Mr. Harmon quotes Boston Globe columnist Jeff Jacoby, who cites the famous U.S. Supreme Court case Loving v. Virginia as somehow supporting the argument that gay marriage is not a civil rights issue.

Later, he refers to same-sex marriage merely as people seeking a privilege and not an issue of rights at all. Well, if Mr. Harmon would read the entirety of Loving v. Virginia he would know that one of the most famous quotes from that landmark case is a simple, powerful and moving sentence:

“Marriage is one of the ‘basic civil rights of man,’ fundamental to our very existence and survival.”

American justice is never better represented than when it boils down an issue into a succinct and powerful statement of truth. Marriage is a basic civil right, one of the most fundamental to ever exist in our country.

Most people who read that sentence will know its truth immediately. I wish Mr. Harmon would see that truth as well. Same-sex marriage is not a privilege, it is one of the rights that all Americans should share.

Further along, Mr. Harmon raises a false distinction between the civil rights battle over interracial marriage and the civil rights battle over same-sex marriage by quoting Jacoby, who was arguing that the court decision to overturn Virginia’s interracial marriage ban “was not changing the fundamental and enduring meaning of marriage: It was affirming it (as a matter of involving a man and a woman).”

By this Mr. Harmon implies that marriage equality for people of the same sex is not affirming to the meaning of marriage.

This is completely backwards. The truth is that equalizing marriage now would be as affirming to the fundamental and enduring meaning of marriage as it was when we finally allowed persons of different races to marry.

This is because marriage is about bringing people from two families together and making them one. That is it. From two families, one.

Arguments against marriage equality frequently cite procreation as being the key difference between what Mr. Harmon calls “natural” marriage and same-sex marriage, but the fact is our society does not and has never restricted marriage only to persons capable of bearing children.

Nor do we restrict children to married couples. By raising a procreation argument, it is people like Mr. Harmon who are twisting the meaning of marriage into something it has never been.

Same-sex couples can adopt and raise children, or not have children, just like other couples. No matter their choice, they are still a family.

They love each other just as much as any other couple. Many same-sex couples want to get married, just as other people marry every day and declare to the world that they are a family. Marriage, at its core, is the creation of a family.

I have friends who would be married right now if approximately 3 percent of Maine’s electorate had made a different choice two years ago.

My friends will never meet those 3 percent, and the 3 percent will never meet them. Because of that 3 percent, Maine has one less family. The Maine I know and love will not allow this mistake to happen again.

This referendum is about making sure the state of Maine treats everyone’s family as exactly what it is, a family that loves each other and is no less deserving of the same recognition given freely to hundreds of thousands of other families across the state.

Marriage is one of the basic civil rights of man, fundamental to our very existence and survival. More families make a better world. We can fix this in 2012. and I truly hope Mr. Harmon joins us eventually.

 

– Special to the Press Herald