An Open Letter to Ranking Members of the Wyoming Judicial Committees

January 29, 2007


Subject:  Gay Marriage Bill- Vote Against

I am a seminarian in the Episcopal Church, working towards ordination to the priesthood.

I am deeply saddened to hear of recent passage by the Senate judiary committee of a bill that would outlaw Wyoming’s recognition of perfectly valid marriages from other states due to discrimination based on sexual orientation.

The idea that the bill was passed in compliance with the Federal Defense of Marriage Act is no veil for the discrimination supporting this bill.  The Defense of Marriage Act in no way, shape or form requires states to enact such legislation.  We all know that nearly all benefits from marriage derive from state law, and the Federal Defense of Marriage Act only withdraws federal benefits to married same-gender partners– it does not in any way compel other states not to recognize valid marriages between two loving and committed people.

Fair-minded people understand that civil rights of marriage belong to all committed people in a relationship that want them, regardless of sexual orientation.  Religious institutions can voluntarily withdraw or extend the religious benefits of marriage to those whom they chose as they have historically.  Marriage is only strengthened by extension of its benefits to those who are committed to each other in fidelity, monogamy, committment, and love.

I love Yellowstone National Park.  Wyoming is a wonderland and playground for America.

If Wyoming passes this bill, I will sadly forgo the opportunity to take my children there.  My children do not need to be exposed to a people who cannot understand the difference between learning to accept each other in loving disagreement and legalized discrimination.

Jeff Martinhauk

Austin, Texas


3 Responses to “An Open Letter to Ranking Members of the Wyoming Judicial Committees”

  1. John Says:

    “Fair-minded people understand that civil rights of marriage belong to all committed people in a relationship that want them, regardless of sexual orientation.” Not exactly, fair-minded people, I would say, include those who are deeply saddened by the fact that marriage, as generally traditionally understood, is not an option for some, because of same-sex desires, and, while these fair-minded people, truly lament the difficulty of gays and lesbians, they are willing to support them in many ways, as individuals, but not willing to endorse an institution which promotes same-sex sex. Many RC gays BTW believe this.

  2. Jeff Says:

    Thank you, John, for posting.

    I don’t, for the record, believe that just because some RC gays have been so spiritually abused by their church that they cannot come to full acceptance of their God’s love for them, that it somehow makes a difference in the fact that God DOES love them. It only makes a difference in the church’s failing to teach them that God loves them.

    And I believe that fair-minded people DO understand that sexual orientation has nothing at all to do with sex, just as civil marriage has nothing to do with sex. You mention an institution– the civil institution of marriage is not an government promotion of sex, but rather a legislative vehicle to provide over 500 individual legal protections to a committed couple, everything from medical rights to financial benefits. Nowhere have I ever read a legislated benefit in any state consistution that says, “And the married couple may have sex.”

    Certainly your RELIGIOUS beliefs may dictate that. But your religion does not have to participate in the civil institution of same-gender marriage. Your religion did not have to (and probably did not) have to participate in inter-racial marriage when it became a common phenomenon decades ago.

    You have a right to be as ignorant about me as you want to, and believe that my orientation is about sex. But I have a right to the same protections that my government extends to you.

    This doesn’t have anything to do with sex, or with religion. This has to do with equality and fairness.

    So yes, I think fair-minded people DO understand.


  3. Brian Says:

    “We all know that nearly all benefits from marriage derive from state law…”

    Bi-national couples who want a green card for their partner would disagree. People trying to file a joint income tax return with the IRS (state income taxes are small in comparison) would also disagree. (Or how about the unlimited marital exemption on federal estate taxes?) Travellers (returning or not) to the US filling out customs forms (one form per family) would disagree.

    Of course, this still doesn’t mean that the Wyoming Senate Judiciary Committee shouldn’t have tried to get as much justice done as it possibly could and refrained from passing this measure. But it does mean that the Defense of Marriage Act at the federal level is a worse thing than one might realize. But I suppose you were tailoring your letter to your audience. Maybe in 2 years Congress can repeal the DOMA without having Bush veto it, and you can write a different letter to the US senators from Texas, if your seminary program is still keeping you in that state then.

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