LOVE & THE LAW: PREFACE TO ORIGINAL OPINION

Dear Friends,

I preface my legal analysis of these issues by these personal thoughts, since you deserve to know my perspective and the limits to my objectivity regarding same sex relationships.

I do not believe that committed, loving, same sex relationships are morally wrong. I do believe that promiscuity is morally wrong for all persons and is that it is medically and socially dangerous for our people.

Although, as an advocate of personal liberty, I follow a discipline of tolerance toward all lifestyles which are not evil, my conditioning makes me uncomfortable with same sex relationships. My discomfort extends to relatingto anyone on the basis of their sexual orientation or intimate physical relationships. That discomfort and burden is my responsibility and challenge, but I hope others will help me mediate my prejudice, since it is spiritually limiting and does me no credit.

I believe that our society's attitude toward same sex couples constitutes a fundamental denial of relationship which, in a truly civilized society, would be their civil right. Because the legal manifestation of this socialattitude denies same sex couples a supportive structure for their relationships, it encourages promiscuity and is medically unwise. Because this social attitude divides person from person and group from group, it is contrary to mutual love and respect and, therefore, is morally wrong.

This does not mean that, as I lawyer, I think that our Federal Bill of Rights or our State Declaration of Rights guarantees to same sex couples equal rights to "marry". Current constitutional interpretation would not support such an opinion. I think a better case could be made that all adults have a right to legal protection in their private, consensual, interpersonal associations unless a compelling social interest is factually established and found to overwhelm the presumption that all such associations are legitimate.

My experience as a practitioner of the law and my experience in politics have given my no special insight into spiritual matters nor any special wisdom into the attitude of God toward interpersonal relationships. What my experience has provided is insight into the methods by which societies attempt to control and limit individual behavior in support of the goals of social order.

Although we may proclaim that we are a nation under God, we cannot honestly declare that we now are a nation of God. Our law of marriage has devolved into an ad hoc process by which we attempt to systematically manage the endemic dissolution of families and, thereby, hope to provide a modicum of order to the adults and children involved. As a society, we are at war with our own prior commitments.

All of this is relevant to any attempt to construct same sex relationships on the legal model of marriage. The concept of equality - unlike the concepts of liberty, duty, fidelity or honor - has no intrinsic informational content. Since "marriage" in our society is devolving from a permanent legal status to a process by which we attempt to manage our lack of marital commitment, marriage offers only the most tenuous of standards for other relationships of personal commitment.

Plainly stated, concluding that loving, committed, same sex relationships are "good" and, therefore, should be "recognized" and "supported", does not answer the question of what, precisely, the terms of a particular same sex relationship should be in order to provide assurance that the Meeting's recognition and continuing support of that relationship also will be good.

Neither the law of marriage, nor the advice of Faith and Practice, offers more than a general attitude toward these journeys. Friends do have a time- tested process by which to achieve clearness on these issues, however, and I feel honored to be allowed to participate in that process.

In peace,

Mike Christianson, Esq.,
April, 1995

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