Tuesday, May 22, 2012 | 2:01 a.m.
It’s bewildering that Clarence Lanzrath — in his May 17 letter “Where is the real Obama?” — can accuse President Barack Obama of a “complete reversal” of his previous position on same-sex marriage. Unlike Mitt Romney, who was completely in favor of civil unions when he was governor of Massachusetts and who is now completely against such unions, Obama’s positions have been consistent. The president’s position has advanced from favoring only civil unions to now favoring marriage for same-sex couples. It is a logical extension of his views rather than a reversal.
Lanzrath says, “The dictionary defines marriage as between a man and a woman.” That is not the definition in any dictionary I have seen. Webster’s Seventh New Collegiate Dictionary has three definitions for “marriage”: “1. the state of being married. 2. an act of marrying or the rite by which the married status is effected. 3. an intimate or close union.”
However, dictionary definitions should have no effect on the status of civil marriage. While religiously sanctioned marriages can be restrictive, government-sanctioned marriages should not deprive anyone from enjoying the same rights as are granted to others.
Some of those opposed to same-sex marriage argue that it is a threat to the “tradition” of marriage. Is that the same “tradition” that once prohibited interracial marriage? Unfair traditions should be changed. My heterosexual marriage of 56 years is certainly not challenged or threatened by same-sex unions or marriages.