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Guest Column: Nevadans should have right to decide about marriage

by David E. Johnson

Over the past 50 years, marriage and family have been unceasingly assaulted. Divorce has become easier, the state has endeavored to replace the father as the provider for many families, federal taxes for individual married people is higher than for single people, seniors often must make the choice of either getting married or just living together so they can keep higher Social Security benefits and television frequently makes light of marriage.

That the negative effects of this onslaught on our society, on our children, have been multiple and widespread is undeniable. For example, crime has soared among men, women and children and we are aware that about 70 percent of all juveniles in long-term correctional facilities grew up without a father in their homes. Virtually every creditable study on the subject concludes that children raised without both father and mother present suffer to some degree emotionally and psychologically.

The Coalition for the Protection of Marriage endeavors to maintain the viability and integrity of one of the most long-lived and critical institutions of our culture and of the history of the world. We realize that Question 2 is not a cure-all, that other non-ballot measures must be taken and are in fact, being implemented. Thirty-four states already have laws similar to Question 2, but a handful are considering radical redefinitions of marriage. Question 2 makes a minor change to the constitution – refining it so that Nevadans can define marriage for themselves, preventing other states, judges or foreign governments from dictating law to us in any degree, without our direct consent.

It is true that every one of our laws conflicts with a law in some other country, including our marriage laws. However, it is apparent that we simply cannot take into account all of the contradictory laws from dozens of foreign nations – it just isn’t practical – and likewise, they give no consideration to our legislation. All sovereign people have the prerogative to pass whatever laws they desire to live by. Most states and nations have laws regulating marriage based on moral and scientific reasoning-adults normally cannot easily marry minors, nor nephews their aunts, nor first cousins and so forth. Once a certain reasonable line is crossed, where do we stop? How do we stop? If we cross that line now it may be very difficult to go back after we realize our mistake.

Question 2 will not alter anyone’s civil rights or dictate extramarital relationships – people may continue to practice their current lifestyles. It simply says that “Only a marriage between a male and a female person shall be recognized and given effect in this state.”

In 1996, President Clinton signed the bipartisan federal Defense of Marriage Act reaffirming the right of states to define marriage for themselves. Our opportunity will come on Nov. 7. Responsible and concerned citizens in Nevada want to end the assault on marriage and urge you to vote yes on Question 2.

– David E. Johnson of Carson City is the grass-roots unit coordinator for the Coalition for the Protection of Marriage.