Not a matter for a vote

It is disturbing that some of the people protesting the special session of the Legislature that will deal with the rights of gays and lesbians to marry would like to see the measure put to popular vote.

One of the underpinning principles of our democratic republic is that minority rights are protected. Inherent in that principle is that those rights cannot be swept away by a vote.

We’d ask proponents of an election to look in the mirror and ask themselves if they’d like to see their rights decided by other people’s votes.

For too long, gay couples have been deprived of the legal benefits granted married couples. Whether it is tax deductions, survivor’s benefits, taxing domestic partner’s health insurance, or the hundreds of other advantages given to married couples, gays have been denied them.

It is discrimination, plain and simple. Basic rights have been denied, gays have been treated like second-class citizens.

By granting privileges to married couples, society has made a conscious decision that commitment should be encouraged. Strong families are good for the community. It’s time to realize strong families can be built by any two loving adults, regardless of sexual orientation.

The Legislature has a chance in the special session to right a long-standing wrong.

* Editorials reflect the opinion of the publisher.