Last night, Vermont’s panel on same-sex marriage had their first public forum.  The Rutland Herald presents a good report on how it went and, more importantly, presents a revealing comment about where the opponents of same-sex marriage are coming from.

One of the people opposing gay marriage at Wednesday’s meeting was Brian Pearl, a social conservative from Grand Isle who has vowed to challenge Gov. James Douglas for the Republican nomination next year.

Pearl, who was the first to speak, said he worried that legalizing gay marriage would result in minors marrying older members of the same sex.

Okay.  So first on the right-wing anti gay agenda is the obvious canard: child molesters.  Here’s a funny sidenote: for some time, it was perfectly legal in Utah for a 14-year old girl to marry a 35-year old man.  I never heard anyone who opposed same-sex marriage claim that they needed to defend marriage against THAT (and yes, this was while DOMA was being placed into law).

Let’s continue:

He added that same-sex marriages should not be recognized because the couples cannot procreate as heterosexual couples do.

Canard #2. Of course, we need to protect marriage from those who can’t procreate.  That’s why we have laws protecting marriage from the evils of 60-year-olds, the infertile and those who use birth control.

Pearl wasn’t the only one who came out in opposition to same-sex marriage:

Claire LaBounty of St. Albans said she “wants to do all she can for gays and lesbians,” but as a Christian believes that marriage is a union devoted only to a husband and wife.

In other words, she wants her interpretation of her religion to be the law of the land.  Whether or not she wants to “do all she can,” she’s demonstrating that her interest in using the law of the land to endorse her religious beliefs is more important than the civil rights of others.

And that’s what it comes down to.  This isn’t about marriage.  It’s about religion and whether or not we’re free to ignore the religious beliefs of those with whom we disagree.  Refusing to implement same-sex marriage primarily because it will threaten the sensibilities of those who can’t handle the idea that their religion is not the only acceptable one.

This isn’t about marriage.  It’s about the civil rights which are conferred by marriage.  Civil unions simply do not convey those rights.



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