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Borough Beeswax: Buzzing About Same-Sex Marriage

What does Collingswood have to say about legalizing gay marriage?

In the span of four days last week, both houses of the New Jersey State Legislature approved a bill that would legalize same-sex marriage.

Within 24 hours, Gov. Chris Christie had vetoed it, as he'd promised, saying that he would prefer the issue be decided in a November ballot referendum. Proponents of the bill say it’s a civil rights issue and shouldn’t come to that.

In Collingswood, residents and visitors are trying to figure out what to make of the news, which came and went inside of a very busy week for lawmakers.

A Merchantville resident who identified himself only as Larry said, “I never really think about it. I don’t really see what the big deal is.”

“Get over it,” said his companion, Jody, also of Merchantville, who believes that future generations will come to regard marriage as a civil right.

“I’m very happy that there’s been progress,” said Mike Snyder of Grooveground. Snyder said he was pleased that both houses of the State Legislature approved the measure and that Christie’s veto of the measure “was not unexpected.”

Snyder said he can’t wait until the day same-sex marriage is legalized. Although he is disappointed by the veto, he says Christie "is a man of his word” who also has one eye on the national Republican stage.

“He’s not going to sign it into law until his presidential aspirations have failed,” Snyder said.

Jim Brown of Mays Landing, who was visiting his daughter Amanda for dinner at Woksabi, said he thinks that same-sex marriage should be "up to the localities" to decide.

“I don’t believe that’s an issue that the government should legislate,” he said. “People should be free to do what they want as long as they don’t hurt anybody."

Joe Bonaparte of East Knight Avenue said the governor’s veto “doesn’t seem fair.”

“To paraphrase Newark Mayor Cory Booker: You cannot dictate civil rights to the whim of the day,’” Bonaparte said.

Candice Kirkride and Kevin Parra of Southampton are also in favor of same-sex marriage. Kirkride suggested that Christie’s perspective might soften if the issue were more personal to him.

“People want to get married for love, not money,” she said. “They should be able to do that.”

Kevin Wallace of Philadelphia said he’s “not the biggest fan” of same-sex marriage, but added that couples who want to marry should be able to have the option.

“I don’t know how I feel about legalizing it,” Wallace said, but “the way the word love’s thrown around today, anything that puts a little less hate in the world can’t be bad.”

libsrsic February 21, 2012 at 03:21 AM
Robb, There are more people who do respect their marriage and their vows than those that don't. Even if only one couple on earth remained faithful to their marriage vows and the rest didn't, marriage would still be a union between a man and a woman. If the majority of people said that black is white, black would still be black and white would still be white.
Will McGowan February 21, 2012 at 12:26 PM
Lib...Thats just the point, I think many of us do so respect it that we value the essence and the meaning that it brings to a relationship. Their is an attempt to change the civil union laws as you suggested; to marriage equality. The word makes people like you uncomfortable because of your religious background. I was raised Catholic but as I've grown up, I began to see that things are different outside the bubble when you walk in another's shoes. To make your point, their were many people throughout history that belived things should not change beacuse they were so...we may not have cures for diseases, people would still be owned, women would not be allowed on the internet and people that practiced different faiths would be killed. Your arguement can't just be that "this has always been the way it was...for me and most of the people I know so therefore it is and always shall be". I wish you the best as well but you need to understand the plight of people who were born to love different than you. This was how Christ made us; not a choice...no "choice" would be this hard to exist. I wish you the best as well.
Rich Wilson February 21, 2012 at 12:27 PM
librsic, it is clear that you have not followed the course of this law. In NJ, civil unions are SUPPOSED to have the same rights as marriage, but, if you look at the evidence given to the legislature, that has NOT been the case. Time and time again, civil union couples have been denied the same rights as marriage, which is why the legislature changed the law. Natural law...there was a time when "natural law" dictated that a wife was the property of her husband. After all, how could women possibly be capable of being equal to a man. There was a time when "natural law" dictated that there could not be interracial marriage. After all, how could you preserve the god-given system of races that had been here since creation. There have even been times in history and cultures where "natural law" would have been interpreted as allowing for polygamy. Marriage is a social construct, not a natural one. It has evolved over time as societies and our understanding of the human psyche has chaged over time. It's as simple as that.
Porterincollingswood February 21, 2012 at 01:04 PM
Saying your marriage means nothing because divorce rates are high is like saying your marriage would mean nothing if same-sex partners could marry. it doesn't change anything. But my point is that, by and large, marriage - as an institution - is a joke in America. A temporary contract. Let's not get carried away that it is - across the nation and to everyone - a scared vow. If it was, we'd outlaw divorce. Massachusetts was the first state to recognize gay marriage. It has the lowest divorce rate in the nation. Gay marriage did nothing to change how straight people view their vows.
Porterincollingswood February 21, 2012 at 01:11 PM
"Too bad your parents weren't gay so there would be a lot less of you derelicts with no common sense around." And this is why people like you are fading further and further into the fringe, taken less seriously with each passing year and election. But I guess changing your screen name allowed you to amp up such hatred and anger. When I click on 'libsrsic' I see posts from none other than Rhonda.
libsrsic February 21, 2012 at 02:06 PM
Will and Robb, natural law is a real issue as is common sense. I'm simply stating the reason behind how I feel and how others feel. Marriage is not just a social construct and I never made the argument that marriage is between a man and a woman because "it's always been that way" or gays were created inferior to straights. Interracial marriage was never against natural law. Again, marriage has the conjugal and procreative foundations that can not be naturally coerced in homosexual union.
Common Sense February 21, 2012 at 03:20 PM
First, support for keeping marriage between one man and one woman is not a fringe opinion. Over half the country supports this position, so it isn't fringe. And I found it rather disappointing to read yet another media piece interviewing only those in support of gay marriage. There are numerous intelligent people who disagree, and it would have been nice if even one were quoted in the article. Second, with marriage comes responsibility, and marriage was traditionally thought of as the institution where a woman became a mother. "Mater" in latin means mother, and there is nothing about a gay union that brings motherhood to a woman. While there are many straight couples who do not adhere to this traditional definition of marriage, the potential is always there. It seems silly to consider using the term "marriage" to describe a union that has nothing to do with "motherhood" and everything to do with rights. It just isn't the right word. Finally, society should work towards promoting marriage unions that emphasize and reward responsibility. We are a rights without responsibility cuture. Perhaps we should consider making it a little more difficult for straight couples to get married, and attach more expected responsibilities to the union. The next generation of children need good strong marriages from their parents, and they deserve a father and a mother who love one another and live in their home. We should work towards policies that create this environment for children.
Porterincollingswood February 21, 2012 at 03:39 PM
If something has low support - in this case 38% in the state we're talking about - and it decreases on a daily basis...it's fringe. And becoming more and more fringe as we speak. When shall we annul the marriages of men and women who are infertile? Since they can't become 'mothers'? But at least you are honest in your support for Big Brother style government control of our lives. Should a council of elders decide who is deserving or marriage? Or should it be a jury of one's peers? Or maybe a military tribunal. Please share.
Porterincollingswood February 21, 2012 at 03:44 PM
http://www.gallup.com/poll/147662/first-time-majority-americans-favor-legal-gay-marriage.aspx Pay attention to the "Independents" trend.
Porterincollingswood February 21, 2012 at 03:46 PM
And the results by age break. The biggest opponents of gay marriage are in the oldest segments, and they're leaving us. Also of note is that religious die-hards, inclusive of Catholics, are the most likely to oppose the issue. How many churches and schools were slated to close last month? It's demographics, guys.
Will McGowan February 21, 2012 at 05:21 PM
I've seen the call for increased strengethening of the civil union laws by some on this post as well. That is another problem with having "different laws" throughout the land: stronger civil unions in NJ; NONE in Arizona and marriage in New York. When heterosexual people travel across the country, they will never face their marriage and union being "non existent" in another part of this country. Stronger civil unions just say Rosa may sit closer to the front but, by God!..NEVER in the front because that is reserved by and for the majority. Thomas jefferson said the majority should never govern the minority. The fear you have of loseing the word that you claim is in your own minds. Think of this...If I were a heterosexual male, I can...meet a woman online this weekend. We could go to a courthouse on Monday and get married. Nobody would ask how long we've known each other...if we are prepared or willing to raise children, how we plan to support our health benefits nor even if we actually are in love at all? Yet, thousands of gay Americans who have been with one person through thick and thin for decades do not have the same right. Is that fair?
libsrsic February 21, 2012 at 08:13 PM
It's not a question of fairness. It's a question of natural law and common sense. Words have meaning.
Matt Skoufalos February 21, 2012 at 08:38 PM
@CommonSense - the Borough Beeswax stories are a man-on-the-street feature and the perspectives presented are not self-selected to drive one point of view over another. I did not encounter anyone in the course of reporting for this piece who offered the opinion that you might be looking for, but here in the comments it seems well represented.
libsrsic February 21, 2012 at 09:45 PM
Porter, 1)we live in a Republic, not a Democracy 2)same-sex couples being "married" does not alter my perspective on the meaning of my marriage at all. You keep trying miserably to make points that are either erroneous or have faulty premises. You really don't like me, do you? Why the anger? Relax. Think about how great our economy is coming along and how we deserve higher and higher gas prices because you progressives have drunk the Marxist Socialist kool aid.
Porterincollingswood February 21, 2012 at 09:59 PM
Correct - which is why we don't whine for referendums when we don't get our way. Correct - it doesn't impact your life at all, so why all the complaining about it? Seems silly to me too. Excuse me, who called who a 'degenerate'? Have a nice day, Rhonda.
libsrsic February 21, 2012 at 10:14 PM
Was I whining for a referendum? Whose complaining? I'm stating my position. The truth does not change based on referendum or complaining about "fairness". You'd rather I just shut up. Sorry, not going to happen.
Matt Skoufalos February 21, 2012 at 10:22 PM
Folks - another word on decorum here. I enjoy lively debate and appreciate a multiplicity of viewpoints. It's less productive for us to engage in name-calling and ad hominem attacks. I'm not in favor of moderating these discussions because I believe in the free flow of conversation. But let's do keep a civil tone, please.
Porterincollingswood February 21, 2012 at 10:22 PM
Your position is that people who don't agree with you are 'degenerates'. I get it. You have been shown infinitely more courtesy by those who disagree with you.
libsrsic February 21, 2012 at 10:24 PM
Anyone who makes a statement like you just did about business and capitalism proves you don't know what you're talking about. You should move to a Socialist run Country and see how many websites they let your sorry little a$$ vent on. Gas prices are going through the roof because of the Federal Government's refusal to make us energy independent. President Obama did great damage to this country when he refused to give the go-ahead to the Keystone XL Pipeline.
libsrsic February 21, 2012 at 10:27 PM
oops, I know.., just don't delete my previous comment appear and I promise I'll be good.
Porterincollingswood February 21, 2012 at 10:39 PM
Iran is about to get bombed, it is the 4th largest oil producer in the world. Gas tends to rise on speculation of these things, which could happen at any moment. The pipeline was not going to be completed for quite some time, so it's impact on oil prices in the short-term (year) is minimal. A socialist government would control oil prices and subsidize gas prices. A capitalist one doesn't. So what side are you on?
libsrsic February 21, 2012 at 11:07 PM
The capitalist one, because my tax dollars would not be going to a government picked solar energy company whose auditors have said it was a bad risk. If we were energy independent, we wouldn't need Iran's oil. Most of our oil comes from N. America anyway. Why did our President give Brazil 2 billion tax dollars so they could be energy independent. He said it loud and clear: it would be good for us to buy our energy from Brazil. Gas prices would drop OVER NIGHT if the President announced he would start the Pipeline project. When Pres. Bush announced his lifting the ban on drilling, gas prices plummeted. Before Pres. Obama was elected gas was below $2.00 per gallon!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Will McGowan February 22, 2012 at 01:49 AM
Lib, I think we are skating the topic on this thread by involving our world political views. You have not addressed the issue of fairness yet? You claim "natural law" presides but you have not mentioned anything about what is actually fair? My personal feelings are that you are inwardly homophobic even if you do not know it. You may even have gay friends and be quite a nice person but brass tax, you feel this way: You can call it whatever you want and have all the same rights but NEVER call it marriage because you people could never really have the same relationship with your partner as I do with my spouse...its just not the same type of love. What does that come down to? The things we do in our homes behind closed doors makes you "uncomfortable"; it somehow threatens your belief in Christ's sacraments...which I hope ALL religions believe in ( and they do not). I ask again...should we not have the same civil rights to marry...ya know...get that lil' piece of paper...as you do?
libsrsic February 22, 2012 at 02:54 AM
Will, I've clearly presented my position, but because you seem like a sincere, well intentioned man I'll say it again. (I'm not homophobic. If I felt you were being harassed or maligned I'd be the first person to come to your defense. And if you knew me you know that I would.) Firstly, I'm saying that marriage is not a question of "fairness". Natural law dictates that marriage is between a man and a woman for conjugal and procreative "purposes", hence the on going generation of mankind. Is it fair that if people chose to build a house below sea level and one day nature delivers a devastating hurricane that wipes out their home? Can one say "it's not fair Mother Nature did that"? One can be upset at Mother Nature, but eventually one will accept that hurricanes and destruction are a normal course of nature. You seem like a reasonable person and yet you can not and will not accept my position based on objective fact. One does not have to be a homophobe to disagree with gay marriage. From what I've been told, Elton John, who is one of my all time favorite musicians, does not agree with gay marriage. Secondly, it's not even an issue about love. Gays can love each other just like straight people can and maybe some gays love more than some straight people do. Furthermore what a person does behind closed doors in none of my business and I couldn't care less. Please don't blame me for the Natural Law in the universe.
libsrsic February 22, 2012 at 03:01 AM
Will, I also want to add that you and every other gay person are beloved children of God. Don't ever forget that. You may get to heaven before I do. I will keep you in my prayers and I hope you keep me in yours.
Rich Wilson February 22, 2012 at 12:46 PM
lib: For the facts: Elton John strongly supports gay marriage...not that it matters. There are plenty of straight folks that don't believe in straight marriage. It really has no bearing on the discussion. Here's my problem with the whole natural law thing. Who decides what is natural law? Does it come from nature? If that is the case, there are substantiated cases in nature of same sex couples (such as penquins) sharing lives together (and even "adopting" the offspring of other penquins unable to take care of their own. What if natural law is not about procreation, but is actually about attraction and love? You have a definition of natural law as defined by a very specific religious tradition. A strong religious tradition that has a powerful influence on our society, but it is, a religious tradition that has defined this "natural law" in a very specific way. And, if natural law dictates that the purpose of marriage is procreation, than you really need to deny anyone who is no longer of child bearing age from marrying...not to mention anyone who knows they cannot bear children prior to marriage.
Rich Wilson February 22, 2012 at 12:46 PM
The same tradition that holds the "natural law" argument also uses it to deny contraception. Should we then, in a pluralisitic society, make contraception illegal for everyone because in the eyes of a religious tradition it is against "natural law?" Prior to the supreme court ruling of Greenwald v Connecticut, that was exactly the argument the state used to deny the selling of contraceptives.
libsrsic February 22, 2012 at 01:51 PM
Rich, you're correct about Elton John. I should have verified before I wrote that. Anyway, if a person is outside of child bearing age or can't bear a child, it does not make or break the marriage because the complimentary anatomical bodies of a man and woman allow for conjugal union and the openness to life is present. We have all heard of women who are "over the hill" conceiving children. Also, contraception is a prime example of how nature responds slowly over time to its interference. We are seeing a staggering drop off in birth rates among Europeans and Americans. Muslims, who reject contraception, have a tremendous growth rate in population. So, over time, nature will "reward" Muslims for their respect of the Natural Law. Be careful what you wish for: Islamic countries are by no means "gay friendly". (Your statement: Should we then, in a pluralisitic society, make contraception illegal for everyone because in the eyes of a religious tradition it is against "natural law?" NO ONE IS TALKING ABOUT MAKING CONTRACEPTION ILLEGAL. The White House, who runs ABC CBS and NBC, had George Stephanopolus ask that question to Mitt Romney to start an issue that doesn't exist. Why? To take the focus off the economy.)
Will McGowan February 22, 2012 at 02:30 PM
But doesn't "natural law" mean that if one is sick or even terminally ill that we should just let "nature" heal them instead of intervene? One must also be careful how "natural law" is taken out of context. When the Europeans arrrived both in America and Australia, they killed and uprooted the natives because we were naturally more advanced than the savages living off the land. Hitler belived that by nature, Germans were superior and Jews were inferior? As pointed out by Rich, "natural law" as well as biblical interpretations are most often left to interpretation.
libsrsic February 22, 2012 at 02:48 PM
No, natural law does not mean not intervening to replenish health to the sick. Hitler's ideology was his belief in eugenics (purge a society of undesirables).. Margret Sanger, the foundress of Planned Parenthood, wanted to rid society of blacks through abortion and contraception. No, natural law is using common sense and reason and seeing, through the natural world, that 1+1=2.

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