In “Convenience no reason to redefine marriage” (Point of View, April 10), state Reps. Elise Hall, Justin Wood and Josh Cockroft stated that “the push for a new definition of marriage is an attempt to carve out a special right that has no basis in the traditions of our country.” Even if this notion of creating a “special right” were accurate, our question would still be this: What's the problem?
We've changed all kinds of “traditional” things during our country's history. The right to vote, for instance, is part of our tradition. But the tradition of who gets the right to vote has changed radically since the Founding Fathers wrote the articles of our republic. In fact, if such changes to tradition hadn't occurred, at least one of the representatives who co-authored the op-ed would not be in office.
Change is part of what happens to our traditions in a democracy, whether it's the tradition of voting rights, segregation or marriage inequality. The statistics are clear: The trend is moving sharply in favor of same-sex marriage. One could write those statistics off to “moral relativity,” but that's the same claim that was made about changes in ideas about slavery, gender equality and civil rights.
Is it possible that we sometimes get our moral positions wrong and that people who change their minds on this (or any number of issues) actually do so from moral reflection? We're not saying that everything is allowed and nothing is off limits. We simply contend that injustice should be off limits and we should have the same expectations of all couples — “holy matrimony” for life, regardless of sexual orientation. That, too, is a moral position.
Many marriages between one man and one woman show us nothing of “sanctity.” Many long-term, same-sex relationships teach us what commitment, respect and love really mean. If the “sanctity of marriage” is critical to you, here's one possibility: Let's get the government out of sanctification, which it has no business doing anyway. Let's all — straight or gay — have civil unions and we can each go to our house of worship for sanctification. Then, individual couples regardless of orientation can “deal with and answer to God.”
Moore and Walke are associate ministers at Mayflower Congregational United Church of Christ in Oklahoma City.