Letter to the Editor: Freeman Should Endorse Marriage Equality

Equality PA President says Easton's "otherwise liberal" state rep needs to join with Obama on this issue.

There has been much attention on marriage equality lately with key endorsements this week from President Obama, , and the Secretary of Education Arne Duncan.

While some would like to paint this as a controversial issue, the reality is that it isn't. Marriage equality is about providing fairness to LGBT families; it is about providing equal treatment under the law; and it is about the government recognizing same-sex relationships as equal.

While a number of Easton's elected officials, including and numerous members of City Council, have , and while the City of Easton providing equal benefits for same-sex partners of city workers, Easton's otherwise-liberal state pepresentative, has not yet said "I Do" to the LGBT community.

has been a solidly progressive voice for many issues. He has been outspoken for the need for workplace equality for LGBT employees, and he supports anti-bullying initiatives for youth in our public schools - but he has not yet been willing to state his support for marriage equality, and it's time for that to change. Recent polling has shown that a majority of Pennsylvanians are supportive of equal marriage rights, and numerous other state legislators have agreed.

If the President of the United States can do it, Easton's progressive State Representative can come through as well, and I await that moment with open arms!

Adrian Shanker
President of Equality Pennsylvania

Jonathan Gerard May 12, 2012 at 01:58 PM
Adrian Shanker is right when he says that marriage equality should not be controversial. Such a policy hurts no one and extends a civil right to an otherwise discriminated minority. Marriage equality does not force anyone to marry someone they don't want to marry nor does it force anyone to officiate at a marriage they do not approve. Nor does it force anyone to violate his or her religion. The only reason to oppose marriage equality is a desire to impose ones own beliefs on others. This would undermine the very foundation of America.
Oli Landwijt May 12, 2012 at 02:29 PM
Bob Freeman is an excellent public servant. I hope he steps up and speaks for marriage equality.
High-On-Lehigh May 12, 2012 at 04:52 PM
Revs. Timothy Hare and Earl Ball May 12, 2012 at 06:32 PM
Ditto to all of the above! Tim Hare and Earl Ball, Eastonians together in love at first sight since 1976, married in Canada, which gets us married in 7 U.S. States, D.C., and 11 countries.
another point of view May 13, 2012 at 01:48 AM
Frankly, I cannot make heads or tails out of all this. Most religion defines marriage in terms of family and protection of children. Trouble is that definition has been weakened by no fault divorce and social tolerance of having children outside of marriage. When marriage becomes a right , laws that restrict marriage can weaken. You cannot marry your sister, a twelve year old, multiple spouses, your pet dog, etc. Marriage becomes a difficult concept to understand in a political context against social and religious traditions. There are many paradoxes within political and religious thought. I can’t figure out Mideastern radicals who wear underwear bombs-that has to hurt, really hurt, Islam condemns suicide. Or, capital punishment. It seems to violate the Ten Commandments. And, if the Ten Commandments bother you, it violates Hindu thought as well. We cannot walk away from our religious fundamentals. They are the basis for most of our laws. Despite our best efforts to separate church and state, our moral belief to not kill is based on religious tradition. The concept did not show up on some Saturday afternoon millennia ago. So, such is marriage, a concept that was created a long, long time ago by learned men whose understanding and views of the world far exceed my trivial existence. Today, we are fortunate to be blessed with so many erudite men and women who understand these matters as well. (Bob Freeman take note.)
another point of view May 13, 2012 at 01:50 AM
If we do change it, I see big advantages. Since marriage is not about the family anymore, we should change all those benefit laws that reward spouses for simply being spouses. That will save programs like Social Security billions, maybe trillions. I know many men get the max SSI benefit of $25,000, their non- working, stay-at-home wives will get $600. Do the math. Kiss the deficit good-by. (Did you really think these wise politicials are in favor of marriage in any form? Marriage costs the government billions. No more Ralph Kramdens who always said “no wife of mine is going to work. . . If I lose my job, we’ll go on relief ”.) Face it. Marriage-anyway you want to define it- has been taking advantage of us all for a long time.
Jonathan Gerard May 13, 2012 at 02:10 PM
Surely you know that those "learned men" who "created marriage" endorsed Abraham, who had two wives, Hagar and Sarah. And the entire Israelite nation descended from Jacob's 12 sons--the offspring of two wives (Rachel and Leah) and two mistresses (Bilhah and Zilpah). The very notion that men "created" marriage because they were smart is an interesting concept. Maybe white men just had more power to impose their definitions of marriage and family. Perhaps the move to monogamy reflects the beginning of women's influence. Where women have less influence, as in the Islamic Middle East, polygamy stubbornly prevails. Today, we recognize the humanity and rights of LGBT people, hence their influence on our understanding of marriage is also being felt. By raising the issue they teach us a better understanding of marriage, in its various forms, through the ages. Marriage equality reflects a more enlightened and thus a more religious policy. So how we understand marriage is NOT a function of what some powerful white men proclaimed in Biblical days but rather by what a healthy diversity of men and women, who now have a voice, say it is.
another point of view May 14, 2012 at 03:13 PM
It was not my intent for any reader to infer that marriage was created because someone was smart. My intent was to demonstrate my personal lack of education and experience in these matters as compared to those who developed marriage as a religious concept. I would begin any discussion of marriage at the beginnings of the early Christian church which formed the basis for most of our western, religious tradition. You are correct that the role of women in marriage changed radically in those formative years of the early Christian-Catholic church. The concept that women should freely consent to marriage overturned years of treating women as chattels in marriage. Augustine proposed marriage as a sacrament. The church took almost a thousand years to adopt that belief. And, the reformation led by Luther rejected that philosophy. So we have come centuries with an evolving concept. Today, the discussion is much less about Holy Matrimony and more about rights and benefits. (And, I find the latter a little too sophomoric for the religious discussions that preceded for centuries) I wish I could discuss these matters and be able to make a cogent argument one way or the other, but I admit that I lack the enlightenment of a St. Paul, St Augustine, Martin Luther, John Calvin and others to participate in the discussion in a meaningful way. As many others who are equally unenlightened, I am left to discuss benefits and rights-see my follow-up post.
Jonathan Gerard May 14, 2012 at 03:53 PM
Hey, APofV--I would only add to your comment that we now have other very knowledgeable people contributing to our understanding of marriage and human sexuality. St. Augustine and Martin Luther had no way of knowing that some people (and even a certain percentage of lower vertebrates in nature) are born with an attraction to the same sex. Some are even born with undifferentiated gender identities. Just as some people are born with four toes or six toes or even a missing limb, some are born with unusual (i.e. minority) or "abnormal" sexual identities. These less common occurrences have been the object of prejudice and discrimination in the past--even by religious leaders for whom ethics ought to be primary--but science has now given us religious leaders a fuller understanding of nature (i.e of God's creation) and thus a fuller way to understand marriage. Marriage is a sacred commitment between two people who love each other, to have a unique and sustained relationship. Such a commitment benefits the couple, it benefits society (as do all stable relationships), and it hurts no one. So when we rely on those wise people to help us understand a proper definition of marriage, let's also include biologists and psychologists and anthropologists as well as theologians who claim to know the mind of God. (Some don't. And how can anyone, really? We just do our best to do what's right and in that, God surely says, "Good work! Keep at it.")
Chauncey Howell July 03, 2012 at 02:14 PM
Interesting thought. How much would you pay to watch any of these self-involved yentahs, Tim and Earl and The Rebbe et al, exercising their conjugal whatevers, so to speak? If you're good-looking, you should be allowed to marry. If not, not! That's the rule!!


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