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Marriage and civil union different

Observer Viewpoint | Friday, January 23, 2004

In his Jan. 21 letter to the editor concerning the sanctity of marriage, Nicholas Coleman erroneously states that “President Bush is clearly against the civil union of homosexuals,” citing the State of the Union address as evidence, and goes on to propose that those concerned with the sanctity of marriage should not “get upset with gays” but rather individuals such as Britney Spears.

Nowhere in the address, however, did President Bush mention the phrase “civil union.” Rather, he warned against “activist judges [who] have begun redefining marriage by court order.” Marriage and civil union are not, as Mr. Coleman seems to believe, interchangeable. Marriage is a sacred institution blessed by the Church while civil unions are merely legal contracts that extend the benefits of marriage. The Federal Marriage Amendment currently being discussed does prevent the civil union of homosexuals but President Bush has not revealed his opinion on the legislation. Thus far he has only promised to defend the “moral tradition of marriage.”

The actions of Britney Spears and others do indeed make a mockery of this “moral tradition” but such behavior is not a reason for throwing open the doors of marriage to homosexuals, as Coleman proposes. If anything, it is a reason for tightening the controls of the institution. The sacredness of marriage must be defended on all fronts and just because we may be losing the battle on one of them doesn’t mean we should capitulate on another as well.

Sean McFarlane


Siegfried Hall

Jan. 22