Traditions no longer welcome, a speech unheeded

By State Rep. Tom Morrison 

I rise today in support of natural marriage and urge my colleagues to vote no on this measure. This is an extremely emotional issue, however, we must examine this subject objectively, factually, not just with feelings.

This issue is NOT just about two adults and their emotional, relational, or financial commitment is to each other: Re-defining has far reaching implications for our society. While some children in non-nuclear parent homes do OK, the risks increase for children when they’re raised apart from both biological parents. A recent study from the university of Texas shows that children raised by their married mom and dad, do better in virtually every category of social well-being. So since marriage is so important, so foundational to society, we must reason and resolve together to vote NO.

Why is the state concerned with personal relationships anyway? Why has natural marriage always been singled out as the one relationship among the many worthy of special status?

Here’s why: Real marriage is the building block for human civilization. Up until the year 2000, marriage has been recognized as one man and one woman as husband and wife to be father and mother to any children their union produces.

Marriage has four distinguishing features:  Two people, of opposite sex, not of close relation, and above the age of consent.

Four simple guidelines.  This is not arbitrary discrimination.  If opposite sex unions are discriminatory, then a limit to two people is as well.

Those who support polyamory and polygamy are taking note.  Jasmine Walton of the Unitarian Universalists for Polyamory Awareness says, “We’re where the gay rights movement was 30 years ago.”  In other words, “We’re next.”

A “no vote” today simply preserves the current social order, which has served us well for thousands of years.  And while we have heard many stories about wonderful people supporting this bill, this is not a vote about people but policy.  It is not about individuals or even groups of people.  It’s not about homosexuals or straights.  Not even all gays support gay marriage.  The “Gays against Gay Marriage” blog claims that Gay Marriage is a threat to sexual freedom.”  So whether gay or straight, we need to discuss this measure not on the basis of personality, but rather as policy.

A “no vote” does not mean that you are a bigot, or that you are homophobic.  A “no vote” does nothing to change the ability of individuals or groups of people to live and love as they choose.

You may be fully supportive of a person’s lifestyle choice, but still reject this measure in order to maintain a stable public policy.  That’s what we’re talking about here.  Policy.  Individuals will still be able to live with members of the same sex, opposite, or multiple members of either sex.  Everyone is free to live how they wish, and the state has no interest in interfering with that.

However, the State does not have an obligation to sanction every form of living arrangement that demands such sanction. If marriage evolves into this area, it must continue to evolve into something else down the road on the social continuum.

Lesbian and same sex marriage advocate Marsha Gessen calls it a lie to say that this will not change the institution of marriage.  She goes on to describe that she sees this as the first step in a grand transition toward a much broader definition of what marriage is.

We pass bills down here all the time and argue for the sake of the children.  If ever there was an issue involving children, this is it.

I am concerned about the diminishing role of fathers in the lives of their children, and the breakdown of the family.  Guess who agrees with me?    President Obama.  Last spring in Chicago he spoke passionately about the crisis of fatherlessness.  He tied the violence in the city to the instability of the family.  The President said we need to encourage fathers to be involved with their children, and I will say, he is setting a good example.

Those in this body who have fought tirelessly for the rights of adoptees, you know what I’m talking about–that deep longing to have a relationship with one’s biological parents.  We need to have as our first priority the protection and care of children.  And the best father with the best of intentions isn’t a mother, and the best mother with the best of intentions isn’t a father.

Finally, we’ve heard so much about polls.  If polls are to be trusted, then why not have a non-binding referendum to hear what the people of Illinois believe about this issue?   Why is there such a rush to embrace a concept that so fundamentally changes the structure of our society, especially when there are so many real and potential policy flaws here?

A “no vote” today doesn’t ban anything, and a no vote does nothing to alter the ability of individuals to love and live with anyone that they choose.  A “no vote” simply says that the state will continue to protect children and ensure that children have the opportunity to experience the love of both a mother and a father. I urge you to consider the weight of every generation that has ever lived, in voting with me to protect the institution of marriage as the foundation of our society, and as one of our most cherished and beloved institutions, and to do so proudly and without compromise.

We need to strengthen and protect real marriage, not undermine it–—I plead with you to vote no, or vote present.  Thank you.

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