Mr. Bauer still has conceptual difficulty in dealing with the issue of extending the right to civil marriage to those of the same gender ("Supporters of gay marriage confuse facts with opinion," letter, June 14). Nowhere in his letter can he articulate an answer to the key question of what harm society would suffer from extension of this right, let alone entertain the thought of how society might actually benefit. If anything, his letter inadvertently makes the case for the opposite of what he advocates.
I think it frivolous to say that America lacks a strong moral consensus. If anything, on key issues, it would be far more accurate to say that there are strong moral consensus on opposite sides of key issues, not surprising, given the growing diversity of our population. In a democracy, people are free to advocate such public good as they see following from their own moral and religious beliefs, in the latter case, from those who use these as a basis for public advocacy.
Mr. Bauer certainly has every right to do as he is doing, and express his opinion within the state house walls. However, he should not be surprised to find others doing exactly the same, but in disagreement with his own views.
Third, assuming that Mr. Murray's survey is correct, and that married people are, in general, happier than the unmarried (it is quite easy to find unhappy married people and happy single ones), the question needs to be asked as to whether the couples married because they were already happy or, being no happier than other single people, became happy as a result of their marriages. Or were the two so interconnected as to be impossible to separate?
However, even if one grants that marriage leads to happiness on the part of the married, and assuming that a society with a greater number of happy people is a stronger society, this would argue for extending the right to marriage to same sex couples.
Fourth, Mr. Bauer claims, quite rightly in my view, that marriage places "a moral responsibility on those who enter it." This, too, argues in favor of the extension of the right of marriage to same sex couples, since who wouldn't want to live in a society with a greater number of morally responsible citizens?
Finally, he claims that marriage was "established for the procreation of children or at least being open to such procreation". This is simply incorrect, in that marriage in no way affects the ability of couples to procreate.
Our society is filled with people who procreate like it was going out of style, but have no parenting skills; there are other couples who cannot, choose not, or are no longer able to procreate but are no less married for that. Certainly children benefit from being raised in a loving environment, but this environment need not consist of their two biological parents. There are plenty of happy children raised by one biological parent and one stepparent, and plenty raised by gay or lesbian couples, who may have previously procreated in an earlier marriage with someone of the opposite sex.