Harvard law professor says same-sex marriage not about civil rights, but special preference

A Catholic Harvard University law professor says all U.S. citizens should welcome President George W. Bush’s endorsement of a constitutional amendment to protect the institution of marriage, based on the implications of same-sex marriage.

In an article on same-sex marriage released Feb. 25, Mary Ann Glendon argues that same-sex marriage is not a civil rights issue, but a movement for special preference. She states that it will impair children’s rights and jeopardize religious freedom. Furthermore, the decision to legalize same-sex marriage belongs to the people, not to the courts, and should be made according to the democratic process, she says. Such an important decision should only be made after full public debate, she says.

“What same-sex marriage advocates have tried to present as a civil rights issue is really a bid for special preferences of the type our society gives to married couples for the very good reason that most of them are raising or have raised children,” says Glendon.

“There is a real problem of distributive justice,” said the former Vatican representative to the Summit on Women at Beijing.

“How can one justify treating same-sex households like married couples when such benefits are denied to all the people in our society who are caring for elderly or disabled relatives whom they cannot claim as family members for tax or insurance purposes? Shouldn't citizens have a chance to vote on whether they want to give homosexual unions, most of which are childless, the same benefits that society gives to married couples, most of whom have raised or are raising children?”

The financial implications of same-sex marriage must also be given consideration, she says, adding that the media has not reported the financial costs to American citizens for this “new special preference” in terms of taxes and insurance premiums.

Children’s rights

Same-sex marriage will also impair children’s rights, since it will endorse the view that marriage is for the benefit of adults and that children do not need both a mother and a father, argues the law professor. It will suggest that “alternative family forms are just as good as a husband and wife raising kids together,” she says.

School programs will also be affected. Children will be taught about homosexual sex in marriage-preparation and sex-education classes. “Parents who complain will be branded as homophobes and their children will suffer,” she warns.

Religious freedom at stake

Glendon predicts that same-sex marriage will also jeopardize religious freedom and “usher in an era of intolerance and discrimination the likes of which we have rarely seen before.

“Every person and every religion that disagrees [with same-sex marriage] will be labeled as bigoted and openly discriminated against,” warns Glendon. “The axe will fall most heavily on religious persons and groups that don't go along. Religious institutions will be hit with lawsuits if they refuse to compromise their principles.”

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