Saturday, July 10, 2004

Amendment 2 Tampers With Our Bedrock Values

Holly Baggett

The Missouri state legislature has foisted a contemptuous constitutional amendment upon us that is a slap in the face to the people of this state.

Constitutional Amendment 2 states that marriage can only be between a man and woman, despite Missouri's existing law banning gay marriage. Amendment 2 is not only redundant and irrelevant, it is a cynical political ploy.

As I watched the news conference given by the National Avenue Christian Church decrying the damaging effects of Amendment 2, I heard a number of gay Springfieldians speak of truly disturbing experiences. The story of a local woman who could lose her children if her partner's parents decide to take custody. The lifetime partner refused intensive care visitation rights because she was not legally "family." The horrific case of a man who buried his partner according to his partner's wishes, only to have the body exhumed by his family and removed to another site. This man was legally refused information on where his partner of over a decade was reburied.

This is not to mention tax exemptions, health insurance, pension and death benefits that longtime committed life partners are denied.

If you have religious objections about who some people love, you have the right to scream it from your church's rooftop. But tamper with the state constitution to deny fellow Missourians the legal right to make decisions concerning health, property and even burial arrangements for their loved ones?

I have personally knocked on doors canvassing Springfieldians on this issue and found that many who oppose gay marriage on biblical grounds are equally opposed to adding a constitutional amendment for something that is already illegal. They show a lot of common sense.

Our constitutions, both state and federal, are our most important bedrocks of rights.

They are not to be amended lightly. What is astonishing is that both Amendment 2 and the proposed federal amendment banning gay marriage would be the first time in our nation's and state's history where an amendment is proposed to deny, rather than provide rights.

This is a dangerous road we are going down.

Holly Baggett teaches American History at SMS. She is a member of the Constitutional Defense League.


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