I was extremely disappointed that the Santa Monica Daily Press gave an organization, the Family Research Council, that has been identified by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a hate group, a half page of your newspaper as a forum for its discriminatory platform against gays and lesbians (“Counterfeiting money — and marriage,” Your Column Here, Aug. 2). The author lives in Washington, D.C. Why was he given this platform in a local Santa Monica paper?

The argument that Robert Morrison gives is absurd. What is really the counterfeit issue is the argument that domestic partnerships, or civil unions, are equal to marriages. As one of the 18,000 same-sex California couples that got married during the five months in 2008 when it was legal, I can tell you that domestic partnerships are not equal to marriage.

I thought that the United States learned the lesson in the 1960s that separate is not equal. Being married changed the way my family, friends, son, co-workers and society in general view my relationship with my wife. In fact, it wasn’t until I was married that I felt comfortable calling my spouse my wife. As domestic partners I would call her my partner and some people interpreted that as a business partner, not a spouse.

The Family Research Council is a conservative Christian group that advocates and lobbies for discriminatory legislation to uphold its religious and social beliefs. The members of this group have every right to their opinions but they do not have the right to legalize and force their religious beliefs on others. Despite their claims that the United States is a Christian country, this country was founded by people who came here to escape religious persecution and they specifically set up our government to have a separation between church and state.

Marriage for same-sex couples is legal in six states, the District of Columbia and 11 countries and there is no direct evidence that the institution of marriage has been harmed in any way. Heterosexuals have done that quite well on their own with the high divorce rate, quickie marriages, divorces and infidelities. It’s interesting that many conservative Christians have been married and divorced multiple times with known instances of adultery (Newt Gingrich as an example). Yet these groups aren’t going after adulterers, people who are breaking one of the 10 commandments, a known detriment to the institution of marriage. Instead they are using what, in the initial scriptures, were only a few vague references that conservative Christian groups have turned into a crime much worse than adultery to keep civil rights from a minority group of United States citizens.

Even worse, this group’s beliefs are actually very unchristian like. The Christianity that I learned growing up and continue to practice and teach our son includes the golden rule — do unto others as you would like done unto you — and the teachings and actions of Christ, which are to love and embrace everyone, particularly the ones being discriminated against like the lepers were in his time.

Regarding the quote that was in bold letters: “The only places in the U.S. that have legalized same-sex couplings are those where the liberal judges and politicians do not dare let the people vote on marriage” and “wherever the people have voted, they have powerfully affirmed true marriage.” In California in 2008, Proposition 8 was passed by only a 2.24 percent margin, or 52.24 percent of the vote, hardly powerful. Polls now show that a majority of Californians support marriage for same-sex couples. Given the attitude of today’s young people, national approval for marriage of same-sex couples is inevitable and in 30 years people will wonder why it took so long, just as we now look at interracial marriage.

It is illogical to have civil rights put to popular vote. Civil rights legislation by our representative government and judicial rulings is to prevent a majority from discriminating against a minority group. That same group that is discriminating against the minority group should not be the ones who decide if they can discriminate.

 

Karen Melick is a Santa Monica resident who lives with her wife, Clare Thomas, and their 15-year-old son, Greg Melick.