Thursday, June 01, 2006

Anti-gay marriage or pro-domestic violence?

If you haven't seen it yet, take a look at the case of this Ohio domestic violence charge that was overturned so as to remain consistent with Ohio's recent anti-gay marriage amendment to its Constitution. Ohio's "Defense of Marriage" amendment forbids any state recognition of a relationship between partners who are not married, and thus excepts nonmarried abusers from being charged under domestic violence laws.

This news is horrifying enough when it's in Ohio, but the same thing could occur here in Idaho, if our own anti-gay marriage amendment is ratified by voters in November. Remember that this amendment does not simply define marriage as between a man and a woman - something already enumerated in Idaho laws - but says "a marriage between a man and a woman is the only domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized." Even worse is the fact that this is not the only possible untoward consequence of this extreme and mean-spirited enshrining of discrimination in the constitution. It is inevitable if this amendment is voted into law that established legal relationships between gay and unmarried partners will be voided and throw a huge wrench into already-complicated matters of family law, such as child custody and divorce.

What is most revolting is that jokers like Bryan Fischer of the Idaho Values Alliance - an organization that has lobbied strongly for this amendment say that "The mission of the IVA is to make Idaho the friendliest place in the world to raise a family. To that end, we promote and defend mainstream values in Idaho's public life, and seek to add value to Idaho's public life every day." Maybe the IVA believes that leaving domestic violence unprosecuted and wreaking havoc on loving families are tenets of "mainstream values," but I have a lot more faith than that in Idahoans. The "unintended" consequences of these "defense of marriage" amendments are only now rearing their ugly heads, and we can all rest assured that more will appear as time goes on.

Idaho has the chance to avoid these problems by defeating this amendment in November, and unless we want to participate in this dangerous social experiment, I hope that we do.

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