published Sunday, June 30th, 2013

Nevels: Supreme Court paves the way for expanding gay rights

Matt Nevels
ABOUT THE WRITER

Matt Nevels was a Southern Baptist preacher who changed his beliefs and is now a local gay rights advocate. He helped start a local group for families and their gay children. His story was featured in the Times Free Press last June in a report called Tempest in My Soul. His son, Stephen, died of AIDS.

The debate continues.

It is time to grant lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons civil rights the same as everyone else.

Since the U.S. Supreme Court extended federal benefits to legally married same-sex couples last week, now is the best time — perhaps ever — to affirm this right.

As I see it, two issues demand attention: 1.) Prevailing social attitudes, which history shows sways the majority of decisions of the court, especially on social issues; and, 2.) the benefits of marriage enjoyed by opposite-sex couples not available to same-sex couples.

The 1100-plus federal benefits afforded heterosexual couples are not available to same-sex couples. This is reason enough to legalize same-sex marriage.

Imagine this: Jane Doe and Sara Smith commit to each other and establish a home. Jane births a child as they begin a life together not unlike any other couple.

However, living as a married couple is not possible for Jane and Sara. They cannot file joint tax returns — there alone a host of benefits is unavailable to them. One of them can claim their child as a dependent, thus further complicating and impacting the financial standing of the family.

The child goes to school, however, only one parent can relate to the school, further complicating the everyday function of the family. Then there’s insurance of every kind that limits the use of same.

Suppose there’s an accident, Sara is seriously injured and lands in the hospital with life-or-death issues. Who can make those decisions? And this is only the tip of the iceberg; these more than 1,100 marriage benefits are not available to this couple, thus leaving them very little assistance and comfort to each other.

Oh, the nightmares that jump into the fray, the family issues that show their heads, especially where money and children are involved. We could go on.

I’ve been dealing with this issue more than 20 years, and I have drawn some conclusions: the root of the problem is whether people are born LGBT, or did they wake up one day and decide to be ostracized by the culture surrounding all of us, and decide to be gay.

I think not! I am convinced we are born with our state of sexuality. LGBTQ persons do not choose to be in a position to be treated the way they are treated by the homophobic climate they find themselves in.

In short, you cannot decide for someone else what their sexuality should be. So, it’s time to back off and stop the homophobic rants about the great men and women who make up the wonderful, talented, smart, caring “gay communities” across this nation and around the world and accept everybody the way they are. They deserve to marry whom they choose and enjoy the benefits everyone else does.

The Supreme Court has spoken: It’s time! Good!

Now all these couples can move into the mainstream of the culture and experience the fruits of all their, and our, many years of labor.

4
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fairmon said...

article exert...The 1100-plus federal benefits afforded heterosexual couples are not available to same-sex couples. This is reason enough to legalize same-sex marriage.

The issue is why is there such blatant discrimination against those preferring to be single? Why are home buyers given benefits that those preferring the mobility of renting?

The days of the husband hunting and farming to feed the family while the wife worked 24/7 taking care of house and family are long gone. Equality you cry, then let there be true equality by abolishing those 1100 favor showing discriminatory policies and practices.

The article does get at the root cause of the gay marriage issue by acknowledging it is greed and financial with little to nothing to do with "love" which marriage does not prove or improve.

June 30, 2013 at 9:04 a.m.
labwstone said...

I am sorry for this pastor's loss of his son. As a parent, I know this is the most painful experience a person could face. Knowing this, what I don't understand is how Mr. Nevels can "advocate" a lifestyle that (at the least) contributed to his son's death, and (at the most) caused it. As a parent myself, I would want to teach/train others in ways that would prevent another parent from having to undergo this type of pain. Hurt and pain can cause us to react in many different ways; sometimes guilt can be the leading emotion, but I still don't understand why this parent would not want to do as much as possible to "protect" other parents and children from the same hurt and harm he has experienced rather than "fighting for" the lifestyle that caused it.

July 1, 2013 at 9:34 a.m.
labwstone said...

Furthermore, there are several untruths in this article: 1)"The child goes to school, however, only one parent can relate to the school, further complicating the everyday function of the family." Any named person a custodial parent allows placed on student records is allowed to have total access of records, the child etc. A parent can name grandparents, aunts, uncles or whomever they please. This is a "parent choice" which it should be, and does not involve the federal gov. 2)"Suppose there’s an accident, Sara is seriously injured and lands in the hospital with life-or-death issues. Who can make those decisions?" Again---whomever the custodial parent allows. Are there custodial gay couples? Absolutely: As a teacher, I have had students w/gay couples as their "custodial parents". They are allowed access and all the rights of any other parents, so I don't know what Mr. Nevens is arguing in regard to any of this. He is either confused about the facts or stating "untruths" in order to make a point. The only thing gay parents cannot do is to actually procreate....and this is something that no federal law can change.

July 1, 2013 at 9:42 a.m.
ToHoldNothing said...

Naturally procreate, perhaps not, but as technology advances, it may be entirely possible for two lesbians in particular to conceive a child that is genetically their own, while men could do something similar to that process, albeit requiring a surrogate, most likely

July 1, 2013 at 9:25 p.m.
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