2003-10-24 - 9:30 a.m.
By Raphael Lewis, Globe Staff
Leaders of the Roman Catholic Church in Massachusetts yesterday told lawmakers that the state's bishops would "join the discussion" of granting domestic-partner benefits to same-sex couples, but that they remain opposed to legalizing gay marriage or civil unions.
The commitment, delivered in testimony by Bishop Daniel P. Reilly of Worcester on behalf of the state's four bishops, was made as the Legislature considers several bills that would make same-sex marriage or civil unions the law of the Commonwealth.
This was the lead story on the front page of today's Boston Globe. And I really have to ask you. What business is it of the church's? Why is the legislature inviting testimony from the Catholic Church as to whether or not I should be allowed to marry.
Marriage as an institution is governed by the state because it's an institution that benefits the state. Stable partnerships are more likely to root individuals in a community. Those family units form an economic partnership that protects house, home, children, neighborhoods.
At it's bare bones, marriage as viewed by the state sets up an economic unit. It gives property transfer rights, certain financial rights and applies certain tax laws.
I want to know then. Why isn't the legislature inviting those who would benefit financially by approving same-sex marriage in to testify? Where are the real estate agents who sell same-sex couples homes? The car dealers who sell them that family Volvo? The federal IRS who would get more taxes out of a marriage penalty applied to a same-sex married couple than they do now out of two people filing as "single"?
By inviting the Church in to provide testimony, the state is over-stepping its bounds of the separation of church and state. And it's missing the bigger benefits to be gained by granting equal rights to its gay and lesbian citizens.
I've found a new way to commute from Roslindale to Waltham that's shaving a good 10 minutes off my commute and cuts out no fewer than two rotaries from my daily drive. American Legion to that road past the purple house. (God help me if I can remember the name of it.) Go past Mount Ida College, turn right onto Parker Street (that goes to Newton Centre) and then hop back on Route 9.
The number of twists and turns involved in this route? Many.
Not having to sit on Route 9 from West Roxbury to Wellsley?