by J Scott Christianson, Columbia Daily Tribune Columnist
Starting next week, gay couples in California will be allowed to marry. No doubt, this will be a media spectacle covered on every channel.
The story is even more sensational because voters in that state might pass an amendment to ban such unions in November, closing the window for gay marriages within six months of its opening. If the news of gay people in some far-off state getting married scares you, don’t worry. Your governor is on the job. He frowns on such activity and knows that the people of Missouri do, too.
Gay marriage has been made illegal in the state several times, the most recent effort being a 2004 amendment to the Missouri constitution that said: “A marriage between persons of the same sex will not be recognized for any purpose in this state even when valid where contracted.”
But our governor knows that just banning gay marriages from taking place in Missouri and refusing to recognize any such marriages from other states is not enough. Nor is the fact that the federal government refuses to recognize any marriage license issued by a state unless it is specifically between a man and a woman, preventing gay couples from filing joint tax returns or getting other federal benefits of marriage.
“The latest news from California is yet another clear indication of the need to protect traditional marriage within the United States Constitution,” Gov. Matt Blunt said last week. Yes, the governor — and several of those vying to replace him come November — wants to change the U.S. Constitution to take away the rights of a state to define and regulate marriage contracts and ban forever from our shores the threat of a gay married couple. Because as long as one gay married couple exists in our country, it is a grave and serious threat to every heterosexual who is already married or wants to become married.
How? Well, frankly that’s where this all breaks down. After being married for nearly 14 years, I can’t really see how allowing a committed couple of the same sex to enter into a marriage bond will affect me at all. It doesn’t make me want to leave my wife and suddenly become gay. Nor does it seem to have a similar effect on her. It doesn’t decrease my wages or cause me financial distress — one of the main causes of marital problems. As far as I can tell, my days will continue on as is regardless of whether a couple of Joes or Janes get…