in part, chaffee notes:
To me, the issue of same-sex marriage boils down to a question of basic fairness. Gays and lesbians have contributed to the diverse fabric of Rhode Island and the rest of the country for generations, strengthening our communities in innumerable ways. We all know someone who is openly gay or lesbian, and almost all of us share the same basic aspirations: a safe town and an affordable home to live in; a good job to provide us and our families with economic security; good schools for our children; quality health care; and, perhaps most importantly, someone to love and share our lives with. Once you acknowledge that homosexuality exists not by choice, the next obvious step is to grant gays and lesbians the same liberties and freedoms as every other American.
don't worry fundies, we're not asking your churches to marry us, we want the civil rights you have. we respect your rights, now it's time for you to reciprocate. as chaffee so pointedly reminds you:
I understand that the issue of same-sex marriage can often be difficult to grapple with. For some, their opposition is rooted in their upbringings or the teachings of their religion, with many opponents of same-sex marriage citing fears about their church having to perform those marriages as cause for their opposition. However, those fears are unfounded, as pending legislation in Rhode Island and laws in the six states that currently permit same-sex marriage deal exclusively with civil, not religious, marriage. To further clarify this fact, several states that recognize same-sex marriage, including New Hampshire, added language to their marriage bills expressly protecting the right of churches to choose not to recognize same-sex marriages if they go against their religious teachings, a model that could certainly be followed in Rhode Island to appease any state legislators with lingering concerns about church autonomy.
"LAMike4" responds to the opinion piece as follows (emphasis added):
Thank you for your article, Mr. Chafee. I agree with you.
However, pls consider:
re. "Once you acknowledge that homosexuality exists not by choice, the next obvious step is to grant gays and lesbians the same liberties and freedoms as every other American."
In almost every argument for gay rights both gays and straights alike point to homosexuality as "not by choice" as if it were some kind of birth defect or handicap. After all, we have wheelchair access for handicapped citizens, then gays should be allowed "wheelchair marriage access."
My point is that homosexuality should not be judged on whether or not we "choose" it. In this country where we are supposedly free to choose our path to happiness in legal ways (homosexuality not being a crime) we should be allowed to be homosexual and have equal rights period.
I am not handicapped and do not have a birth defect that must be acknowledged by society. I am gay, whether I was born that way or whether I chose it.
"Choosing" is what the Christians use as their argument, and since our country was founded on separation of church and state, we should be aware that it is not necessary to justify our being gay by qualifying it as something we "did not choose."
Imagine saying that a woman or black person did not "choose" what they were so therefore they should have equal rights!