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Faith Leaders to Rally in Todos Santos for Gay Marriage Rights

A coalition of churches in support of marriage rights for LGBTQ couples will hold a vigil in the plaza on Tuesday, March 26, as the U.S. Supreme Court weighs the issue in Washington.

Church reverends, religious leaders and supporters of marriage equality for LGBT couples will gather in Concord's Todos Santos Plaza Tuesday to pray for the U.S. Supreme Court justices weighing a historical case.

The March 26 evening "Vigil for Justice" takes place the same day the Supreme Court will hear arguments against California's Proposition 8, which amended the state constitution to stipulate that marriage must be "between a man and a woman."

Will the justices make a decision that could affect same-sex marriage laws? The Sacramento Bee explains the potential impacts of the two cases being considered in Washington.

The Concord vigil is part of the United for Marriage: Light the Way to Justice Coalition, which has been organizing events across the country as a "a peaceful display of solidarity" in support of same-sex marriage rights.

Among those in attendance at the Concord event will be Reverend Will McGarvey of the Community Presbyterian Church in Pittsburg and Reverend Leslie Takahashi Morris of the Mt. Diablo Unified Unitarian Church in Walnut Creek.

"The freedom to marry the person you love is a fundamental freedom, and a matter of basic fairness," said the vigil's organizers in a press release. "Same-sex couples want to marry for similar reasons as anyone else and should be able to make a vow of love and lifetime commitment to one another surrounded by their family and friends. The Vigil for Justice will demonstrate that support for marriage equality runs deep in our community – regardless of one’s age, race, religious beliefs or political affiliation."

Do you think LGBT couples should have the right to marry in Contra Costa County and across the country? How do you feel about the vigil being held in Concord? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Concord Mike March 22, 2013 at 08:07 PM
Marriage has already been redefined by the popular culture to mean love between two people, exclusive of children. This is regretable. Marriage has always been important not just because of its expression of love between two adults, but because it provides the best environment for raising children - by their biological mother and biological father. Any definition of marriage other than ONE MAN, ONE WOMAN, FOR LIFE is a losing proposition for children, who deserve to be raised by their mom and dad.
Concord Mike March 23, 2013 at 04:36 AM
Dear Sally, Sorry you felt the need to resort to name calling. I wish you well, and I hope you take the time in the future to listen to various perspectives on this important issue. If you do care about children, you should care about the right they have to be raised by their own biological parents. It is not a perfect world, and not every child can experience the love of their father and mother, but that does not mean we should give up on the idea and toss out the REAL purpose of marriage for a sad substitute.
Emily Henry (Editor) March 25, 2013 at 05:05 PM
Sally, your comment has been deleted. Please refrain from personal attacks. Here is your comment, without the latter statement directed at another commenter. "So another poor child can be "raised" and financially supported by an absentee "father", that is not a definition that I will support."
Stephen W. March 27, 2013 at 02:04 PM
Sorry, Mike. You are wrong in several respects. First, marriage is a contract recognized by states and the federal government that grants certain rights and privileges to married couples. There is no reasonable basis to discriminate against any two people who wish to marry. There wa a time not long ago when mixed race couples were not permitted to marry. Most people would find that concept silly at least, abhorrent generally now. Second, the notion that marriage=children is archaic and out of touch with reality. I too believe that a multi-parent household is healthy for raising a child. Of course, this assumes that both parents are fit to raise children, are loving parents, and have their childrens' best interests at heart. Since gay marriage is illegal, we can only study one type of marriage arrangement, heterosexual, to try to determine why divorce, broken households, and child neglect and abuse are prevalent in our society. Finally, I am at a loss to understand how heterosexual marriages are threatened by gay marriage. What exactly are opponents of gay marriage afraid of ? How do opponents of gay marriage think that the legally recognized addition of tens of thousands of loving partners will threaten them ?
Concord Mike March 27, 2013 at 04:32 PM
Hi Lapovini, The reason the government has established marriage as a unique arrangement in law is because, up until the last 30 years or so, marriage was universally understood to be a permanent union of a man and a woman for the purpose of raising children born of that relationship. Your argument against this construct is to claim "the notion that marriage=children is archaic and out of touch with reality". I beg to differ. Historically, all societies have had enduring recognition of heterosexual marriage as a way to bind a couple together for the benefit of their biological offspring. The notion that marriage is only about the love between two people is a new development, and in my opinion represents the sad state of our current culture - "it is all about me ". Here is the bottom line: Children deserve to be with their biological mother and father. The traditional definition of marriage should be encouraged and strengthened - not replaced with a new model that defines efforts to unite children with their mother and father as discriminatory. I would not be opposed to a domestic partner arrangement for homosexual couples that allows them to transfer property, share benefits, and care for each other, but that is not what is being proposed in "gay marriage." What gay marriage advocates are demanding is nothing short of a total re-write of parenting laws that will take away any social preference for uniting children with their biological parents.
Stephen W. March 27, 2013 at 04:55 PM
Hi Mkie. Until 1865 or so, Slavery was "universally understood" to be beneficial to a majority of Americans. "Universal" understandings are rooted in dogma and tradition. Assigning history and tradition to a belief does not make it right. It just gives context, which is valid, but not justification for the belief or practice being wrong. If you can argue that discrimination or bigotry is acceptible, then we would just need to agree to disagree on that point. I believe discrimination and bigotry are wrong in all cases. Your statement that "children deserve to be with their biological mother and father" is subjective. I would suggest that children deserve to be with loving parents, regardless of the gender of their parents. There are many single parent homes with happy kids and there are many two-parent homes with miserable kids. If you're worried about the "definition" of marriage, then you fear words. There is absolutely no evidence whatsoever that families composed of same-sex parents in any way diminish the strength of so-called "traditional" families. Two parent, heterosexual, families stand or fall on their own merit. They are in no way weakened by loving same-sex parent families. "Gay marriage advocates" ... yet another label you love to throw around as if it were toxic language .... are simply people who wish to be treated as equals.
Concord Mike March 28, 2013 at 03:44 AM
Hi Lapavoni, I don't see how you can consider traditional marriage to be as discriminatory as slavery. Where is the discrimination? No individual is being denied the right to marry, so long as that individual choses a spouse of the opposite sex. You said my statement that "children deserve to be with their biological mother and father" is subjective. I would counter that this model (male/female marriage) has been used successfully by virtually every culture in recorded history. Even an atheist would have to accept the fact that this model has successfully stood the test of evolutionary selection. So you propose to dismantle all the laws that currently favor the unification of children with their biological parents because a tiny percentage of the population wants to experiment with the two mommies or the two daddies model? The results of these alternate family experiments are not turning out so well. Please review these studies: http://www.familystructurestudies.com/summary
Stephen W. March 28, 2013 at 04:11 AM
Mike, citing a study by the Witherspoon Institute, a "conservative think tank in Princeton, New Jersey. Founded on right-wing religious principles, the group is opposed to same-sex marriage, stem cell research, and abortion", doesn't really give your argument much credence. Who exactly is proposing to "dismantle laws that currently favor the unification of children with their biological parents" ? I guess you view adopted children and adoptive parents as anathema to healthy families because they don't fall under your strict definition of "traditional" and "normal". Do you truly believe that giving equal rights to gay parents and gay partners who wish to marry will destroy the fabric of society ? You should re-read what you took the time to write. Allow me to assist. You wrote: "No individual is being denied the right to marry, so long as that individual choses a spouse of the opposite sex." That's nonsensical, twisted logic. If you begin a statement with "no individual is being denied" and end it with "so long as ... ", you are placing a condition on the pretext of your statement, which negates the validity of your statement. Your writing is laced with absolutes and clichés that conservatives attempt to pass as universal truths: "traditional marriage" .... "virtually every culture" .... "even an atheist" ... "test of evolutionary selection" (whatever that means). .... "dismantle all laws" .... ."two mommies or the two daddies model" ?? Seriously, Mike ?
Concord Mike March 28, 2013 at 05:09 AM
Lapovoni, Allow me to rephrase my first statement. Meaning is no different, but maybe a bit clearer for you: Where is the discrimination? No individual is being denied the right to marry. Every individual, regardless of race, religion, or sexual orientation has the right to marry another individual of the opposite sex. The fact that a person does not want to use a benefit that is available to them does not make that benefit discriminatory. Should the tax deduction for children be eliminated because some people would rather have dogs than children? Of course not. I hope that clears things up for you. The claim of "discrimination" is just silly. With respect to the family structure studies I referenced, please be fair and not attack the studies solely because one of them may have a conservative sponsor. Please feel free to challenge their methodology or their sample size, but I would suggest the data speaks for itself. The study by Mark Regnerus called "the New Family Structures Study (NFSS) of the University of Texas" is the most rigorous and objective recent study on the subject, and it shows rates of child abuse and dysfunction in same-sex households that are orders of magnitude greater than comparable heterosexual married households: http://www.familystructurestudies.com/summary My friend, please don't let your emotions and your feelings trump your concern for children and their need for their mom AND their dad.
My Kids Dad March 29, 2013 at 08:27 AM
Lapovoni: Comparing a segment of people who didn't think marriage across racial lines was ok to same sex people being denied marriage is not really a good argument. Sure we have made progress in our culture in the acceptance of skin color. That is good. However, making the leap to same sex people wanting to marry is way off base. Simple biology will explain why this isn't a logical comparison. As Concord Mike has expounded well, marriage is the best institution to found a nation and society. It provides all the necessary elements to actually propagate the society. Just because there are some poor parents doesn't make the whole process bad and require a replacement structure. If we define marriage in any other term than a man and a woman for life, you get more than just same sex potential couples.

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