Ours is a Nation founded upon ideals. This makes us unique in the world; this provides us with guiding principles in our actions and decisions. From these ideals come our laws, both civil and social. Yet not all of our laws follow from these ideals. Some of our laws are based on beliefs separate from, and sometimes counter to, the ideals upon which our Nation is based. It is this struggle that defines us as a people, to free ourselves from our personal notions of what is right, and to examine our beliefs in the context in which they must hold weight - throughout the Country and throughout the Commonwealth. A part of this struggle is cementing our Commonwealth’s stance on the issue of Equal Marriage.
“We hold these truths to be self-evident”, reads the Declaration of Independence, “that all men are created equal…” I often wonder if we had been better off had our Founding Fathers sought to prove those words more rigorously. This very sentiment is echoed in Article I of the Constitution of the Commonwealth, “Equality under the law shall not be denied or abridged because of sex, race, color, creed or national origin.” This ideal, Equality, is clearly one of the very ideals our Nation, and our Commonwealth, is founded upon. This ideal must govern our actions as a people, and particularly your duties as a representative of the people.
As we have learned throughout history, as exemplified by the segregation of the South, but in other areas as well, equality under the law must be assured. As we saw, equality cannot be assured by demarkation, by discrimination, or by segregation. The very act of segregation by the law ensures disequality. Separate but equal is never equal. Yet, in our marriage laws, segregation is exactly what we saw. In application for marriage, we were restricted on our choice of marriage partner based on no criterion other than our own gender in strict, obvious, and utter disregard for a guiding principle of our Country, and in direct violation of Article I of the Constitution of the Commonwealth.
Equality under the law can only be enforced by blindness of the law. This principle is exemplified by our commemoration of the ideal of Justice, whom we depict as blind. Blind, then, must the Commonwealth, and must our Country, be to our genders in laws of marriage. It is a violation of your rights for the law to require your gender on your marriage certificate, an invasion of your privacy as well, and an abandonment of our ideals as Americans. It is not just, neither is it legal, for marriage to require “one man and one woman”, rather it can only see to it that the marriage be issued to “one citizen and one other citizen”.
A Constitutional Amendment has been proposed, providing an exemption to this founding principle. Do you need the Government to tell you the gender of your spouse? Are you incapable of choosing your marriage partner based on your criteria? Most importantly: Are you willing to surrender our founding principles? To all of these questions, I answer Nay, and I urge you to do the same. It is up to the people to enforce their opinions on the correct choice of marriage partner, it is a matter the State should stay its hand out of. After all, other forms of approval of the marriage are left out. The parents of the couple are not consulted by the marriage certificate, neither should their Legislature.
Why has such an Amendment been proposed? Some claim that marriage has always been “one man and one woman". They cite the dictionary definition as if the Commonwealth of Massachusetts were beholden to Merriam-Webster. We are not. We are beholden to the principles upon which we were founded, and Equality is one of those principles. There are many who choose to seek marriage partners of only another gender, and they would be no more right in enforcing their views of marriage on all of us than would one who believed marriage was only valid between members of the same race or religion. Marriage is a service provided by the Commonwealth for our benefit. As a service provided by the Commonwealth, it must be for our common wealth, not for the benefit of those whose opinions match that of the Legislature.
I am a mathematician, a minister, and a teacher. In all of these roles, I object to any action that would revoke the marriage equity we have attained in Massachusetts. As a mathematician, the action can only be deemed logical if we abandon the principles upon which our society is founded. As a minister, I see cultural values being imposed by one group upon another, which should be abhorrent to any man of Faith. As a teacher, I see people ignoring history and our capacity for change. I see individuals failing to learn the scope of their opinions, unable to tell the difference between the rules they wish themselves to live by and the rules we must all abide. I see people failing to uphold the ideals of our Country and our Commonwealth.
In every fiber of my being, I support Equal Marriage and oppose a Constitutional Amendment to abolish it. I urge you to oppose this Amendment and all like it.
Gregory Stuart Pettigrew
Minister of the Universal Life Church
MTA Member 5731865
My State Rep voted No on the previous vote, so I'm happy with her - and not mad at Phil, her son with whom I went to high school.