Adultery a Far Greater Threat to Matrimony than Gay Marriages
Times Free Press, May 20, 2004
400 East 11th St., Chattanooga, TN 37403
Given the hoopla that accompanied Massachusetts’ spate
of gay marriages on the first day that same-sex marriage became legal in that
state, it was hardly surprising that Tennessee’s state senators would be
spurred on to approve a resolution to amend the state constitution to ban
They did so by a 28-1 vote. Their action follows an
earlier 86-5 vote by the House in approval of the companion bill, and clears
the way for the bill to go the governor and possibly a 2006 state referendum.
Still, it is more than a little ironical that state
senators first had to explain why, in their zeal to protect the sanctity of
marriage as a union between a man and a woman, they could not countenance a
constitutional amendment also to ban adultery.
State Sen. Steve Cohen, the sole brave opponent of the
amendment to ban gay marriage, proposed the amendment to ban adultery, he
said, because it is a much greater threat to the sanctity of marriage than gay
Its hard to argue with that. The U.S. Bureau of Census
has found that roughly 50 percent of marriages will end in divorce. And
Tennessee, though it already has a Defense of Marriage statute on the books,
also has one of the highest divorce rates in the country.
What’s more, adultery is often the reason for divorce.
And as Sen. Cohen pointed out, it’s also prohibited by one of the Ten
Commandments, a document that many lawmakers also advocate posting in public
Gay marriage, on the other hand, would allow same-sex
couples the right to abandon an unmarried lifestyle and enter into a legally
binding married relationship.
A lot of advocates argue, with some logic, that such
legally binding relationships actually would reinforce the concept of
marriage, as well as give equal property rights and legal recognition to
Sen. Cohen obviously did not expect the amendment to
pass. Lawmakers surely support the sanctity of marriage rhetorically, but few
would attempt to outlaw commonplace adultery regardless of much it undermines
marriage. The senator’s apparent intention was to illustrate the
inconsistency in the application of principles of marriage, as opposed to the
Same-sex couples may yearn for the ceremony that
symbolizes enduring commitment and the deepest profession of love, but they
are wrongly deemed unfit for that social privilege. Heterosexual couples, on
the other hand, may enjoy the ceremony without any binding stricture against
violation of the privilege through adultery, the most common cause for
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