Marriage is a societal construct that shifts with time

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I was not surprised to see David Secunda’s letter bashing the recent court ruling legalizing same-sex marriage in Pennsylvania (“How Can One Judge Redefine Marriage in Pa.?” May 25). However, I’d like to debate his sheer factual inaccuracies before any further judgment is made on the merit of this case.

Contrary to his claim of “forum shopping,” U.S. District Judge John E. Jones III was randomly assigned the case (“Judge Named to Handle Case Trying to Legalize Gay Marriage in Pennsylvania,” July 11, 2013). Far from being a liberal activist judge, Judge Jones was appointed to the federal bench by then-President George W. Bush, on the recommendation of former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum.

Mr. Secunda then retreats to the standard defense against gay marriage, that it changes a “5,000-year-old definition of marriage.” If this is indeed true, then polygamy and the notion of women being their husband’s property should be reinstated in our society, as these rituals were once part of our definition of marriage. Marriage has never been a static concept; it is a societal construct that has shifted in different cultures, contexts and time periods.

And to his comment about “the ends justify the means”: Sometimes the entrenched majority prevents recognition of the rights of the minority through proceedings in the legislative branch. As our Founding Fathers would have hoped, the judicial branch becomes a necessary party to the resolution of grievances.

The expansion of marriage in Pennsylvania only means more freedom and equality for all couples, and I for one look forward to the increased number of cookie tables I can visit.

ANDREW SHEARISS
Crafton

 


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