Letter: Why not a vote on the First Amendment too?
by Robert Murch
Salem News
Friday, June 24th, 2005
Page B6

[This article was published as a response to an editorial also published in the Salem News. To read the original editorial click here. – Bob]

To the Editor:

On Tuesday, June 21, The Salem News reiterated its belief that the citizens of Massachusetts should vote on same-sex couples’ right to marry (“Keep gay marriage vote on track”). However, this time, they went a step further — they want a vote sooner rather than later.

What are the folks at The Salem News so afraid of? Moral values, the disintegration of the traditional family, or are they just looking for something to write?

I can tell you that they don't seem to be afraid that my rights and equality will be taken away. I can't remember one “opinion” by this paper that defended my rights as a gay citizen before the courts fulfilled their constitutional duty and ruled that as a gay citizen I am afforded the same legal equality as my peers. Now, magically, civil unions are a rational, common-sense compromise.

The fact remains, we should never, ever compromise on civil rights. Can you imagine inequality applied to interracial or interfaith marriages? Would they or should they have settled for civil unions? Beyond marriage, would women be OK with being able to vote on some things, but not others? The list goes on and on.

If we compromise on or limit one group’s rights, who’s next? Pandora’s box isn’t about marriage, it’s about voting on citizens’ liberties.

Freedom of speech is an amazing and powerful right that directly affects this paper’s ability to do its job. Should we put that up for a vote by the people?

Though I wholeheartedly disagree with this paper’s views on same-sex marriage, I don’t believe we should have a vote to determine if they should continue being able to print their opinions. I only ask that The Salem News and others who are quick to demand a vote respect my right to exist and enjoy the same American dream they do.

Bob Murch

Reprinted courtesy of The Salem News

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