After reading Mr. Kennon's letter published on May 27, I want to thank him for his service to our great country and for stating that he disagrees with the previous "Don't Ask Don't Tell" policy in the military.
However, I sense there is still confusion pertaining to civil marriage for same gender couples. Mr. Kennon stated "I believe they want the same rights that go with marriage such as insurance, leaving their estate, etc." Mr. Kennon, thank you, you are 100 percent correct! That is what this discussion is all about; having the same relationship civil rights as opposite gender couples, nothing more.
Most of the general public agrees in equality for all citizens. I think the issue for some with same gender civil marriage is the term "marriage." Could it be a matter of semantics? People seem to have a difficult time separating civil and religious marriage. If the state issued a "relationship agreement" for everyone instead of a marriage license, would this be an issue?
Mr. Kennon stated, "I am waiting for the men and women living together to eventually request their rights to insure each other, leave their estates, etc." Men and women living together can already do this. They may go to the courthouse and get a civil marriage license. If the marriage is not before God in a church, I ask why does it matter if the document the couple obtains from the courthouse is called a "marriage license," "relationship agreement" or "civil union?" The legal affect would be the same.
According to statistics, 77 percent of the general public knows a LGBT person, either a family member or friend. I suggest talking to the LGBT person in your life and ask them why civil marriage is so important and why not having relationship civil rights puts them in a vulnerable position. You will find lack of these rights harms them emotionally, financially and legally.
Statistically, the majority of the United States supports same gender civil marriage. However, this does not represent the people who vote at the polls and this majority is not evenly distributed across the country. Hence why the North Carolina constitutional amendment banning same sex marriage, civil unions and domestic partnerships passed (for now).
Since the majority supports civil rights for same gender couples, it will be up to all of us to lead the charge and change this last area of discrimination.