Special session, special issue

The special session of the state Legislature dealing with marriage equality opened Monday amid sizable demonstrations from both sides of the issue.

As we have stated before, we believe the ban on gay and lesbian marriages is long-standing, institutionalized discrimination. As long as there are legal advantages granted to married couples, government should not be allowed to discriminate against people because of sexual orientation.

Basic rights have been denied – gays have been treated like second-class citizens. That needs to be corrected.

We can’t grasp why allowing homosexuals to marry is seen by some as a threat to heterosexual marriage. As we wrote in August:

“Supporting commitment, love and strong families – all families – is in society’s best interest. As a society we need to realize that gay marriage is no threat to anybody else’s vows or to the institution itself.”

We do not see such a law as an attack on anybody’s religion. Churches and clergy cannot be forced to perform marriages – that would be a violation of the First Amendment.

In fact, there are passages in the Bible that we believe offer good advice in this situation. When Jesus was asked what was the greatest commandment, the Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke quote roughly the same thing:

“Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”

It would seem to us that a very big part of loving one’s neighbors is making sure they have all the rights and benefits of full citizenship.

* Editorials reflect the opinion of the publisher.