The Meaning Of Marriage - And Response (6)

Friday, November 22, 2013

Marriage. What does it mean? Does it mean a man and woman get a license from the state that gives them permission to share things legally? Does it mean a man and a woman profess their love and commitment to each other or does it simple mean the marrying of two things together? 

You can marry two bottles of ketchup, a truck to a trailer or two ends of a rope.  It usually means permanently but we all know that doesn’t happen. If it’s only as described in the bible I don’t recall the bible ever saying that a marriage between a man and a woman didn’t count unless the state gave you a little piece of paper after paying a tax.  

I seem to remember not so long ago proof of a marriage was what Grandma Jones wrote inside the cover of the family bible.  I would hate to see the inside of a bible these days.  It would read like a politician’s list of stances on current issues. You may say you can’t be married without a license from the state. Why does the state get to decide how much or to what level of commitment you can make to someone? Does that mean your Granny and Grandad lived in sin their entire lives because they lived way out in the hills and didn’t know the state decided to stick it’s hands in the pockets of taxpayers by requiring their permission to get hitched and they only had the local preacher preside over the ceremony? I’d like to see you tell him he’s not been married to the love of his life for the last 50 years.  Ol’ Grandad might just show you how he feels about the state telling him he needs their permission with a spat of tobaccie on your penny loafer and a  knuckle sandwich.

I guess you could argue it’s not the same because they didn’t have benefits, retirement, pension, healthcare, childcare, welfare or any other ideservejustbecausefare.  They just had to rely on actually working for what they had and planning for the misfortune of illness or injury.  Maybe actually working does keep a man a lot healthier than just collecting an unemployment check from the mailbox on his way to the kwik stop for beer and smokes. I guess that’s why the rest of the world says “I wanna live in a country where the poor people are fat." 

My grandmother used to tell me don’t go sticking your nose where it don’t belong and if you spend the necessary time tending to your own affairs, you won’t have the time nor the energy to mettle in other’s.  These days everybody feels the need to tell everyone else how to live and how to feel about how they feel.  Just a quick self inventory of our own lives usually results in a to-do list long enough to keep us busy without worrying so much about someone we don't know doing something we would never know about if we were spending the the same amount of energy trying to live by that book we keep shaking in someone else's direction. She also used to say let a sleeping dog lie. I’m not sure who the sleeping dog is here but I’m quite sure he is being poked and we’ll probably regret who he bites when he wakes up. When you go point'n your finger just remember, you got three more point right back at yourself. 

John Masters 

* * *

In 2006, 81 percent of the voters of the state of Tennessee spoke.  The voters defined marriage as one woman and one man, not whatever. Let me repeat, one man and one woman. 

For some reason, a small group believes that the will of people through the election process has little meaning.  Regardless of your position on this issue, it should concern you that the city has bypassed the voters' definition of marriage. 

Eighty-one percent of Tennesseans spoke with their vote.  Just who does our local government think they are bypassing the will of the people, and redefining marriage to their vision of “domestic partner” that places Billy and Suzie giving the living together thing a try, and Billy and Billy as equal to traditional marriage? 

A traditional marriage is the foundation of support for children and our future, like it or not.  To marginalize the role traditional family has in our culture would be a huge mistake, and never a day does the will of the City Council acting for a small group, supersede the 81 percent vote representing the will of the people. 

Until there is a statewide referendum that amends the current definition, the voice of the people stands.  If you have beef with the definition of marriage, ask the voters again. 

The voters also need to decide by referendum if the city of Chattanooga Council voted in a manner consistent with their will.  I am certain they voted contrary to the voter’s will.   

For some reason, the City Council does not believe the voters should decide and would not support allowing a referendum. 

Finally, why did the City Council vote to take health insurance for retirees in 2010, and then expand the same benefits to a group of non-employees the define as “domestic partners” in 2013.  Where did the windfall of city money come from? 

Sign the petition, and get involved at

April Eidson 

* * * 

In response to April Edison’s remarks concerning marriage, I personally do not care what her, her posse or the people of Tennessee feel or how they voted concerning marriage. 

Yes, I am a man "legally" married to a man and I do not need her, her acknowledgement or that from the people of Tennessee anyone’s church or so-called God to sanctify my marriage or validate the personal commitment between me and my spouse. 

Regardless of any piece of paper, I share a “marriage” bond with my spouse that was made between us over 16 years ago.  My Tennessee employer has provided domestic partner benefits to us for the past 16 years. As of last summer, that relationship was legally recognized by the federal government of the United States of America and the state of New York.  With the overturn of DOMA, the legal classification of my relationship with my Tennessee employer was changed from “domestic partner” to “spouse.” We will file our first “joint” federal income tax statement this year. 

I have no doubt that if it were put to a vote by the people of Tennessee, African Americans would still not have the right to vote today. Thankfully we had a higher power make that decision and I am sure eventually it will come to the same concerning marriage and be approved nationwide.

I personally do not feel the issue of domestic partner benefits should have ever even gone to the City Council to vote. With like any other private company, it should have been a simple decision of the HR director or plan administrator for the city to make when it comes to the details of the employees benefits. The City Council should have simply set an annual budget and allowed the HR director to tailor the details of the benefit plans to fit within the budgeted amount. 

Ms. Edison, the city is not trying to bypass anything concerning marriage with the state and your visions of conspiracy are unfounded. 

My recommendation to you is that you get a life and quit professing yourself to “watch-dog” and savior for the citizens of Chattanooga and who cares what you think about my marriage. 

I think you are the real problem here, not the City Council.  You do not represent me or my interest. 

Bill Johnson 

* * * 

Bill Johnson wrote about being married to another man and having done that in New York, not Tennessee. I believe April Eidson was speaking about marriage between the same sexes and its relevance and standing in Tennessee law. The laws of another state do not apply in another state unless the same law is approved in the other state.  There are literally hundreds of laws that vary from state to state due to their standing not being approved by each state's legislature. 

States rights and laws actually do have weight, just because someone can point to another state as having a certain law, it has no weight if voted down in a different state or never approved to be a law. For instance, if someone has a gun carry permit in Tennessee, it has no value in New York, even though it is recognized in dozens of other states. New York has the right, as a state, to either honor or not honor the permit, that is the way states rights work and have chosen to not honor Tennessee law.  

Tennessee has exercised its right as a state in determining the standing of marriage, take it up with the state legislature and get the law changed if you don't agree, till then marriage is between and man and woman in Tennessee as far as the legislature is concerned and they are the ones that write the laws. 

One more thing, April Eidson asked, "Finally, why did the City Council vote to take health insurance for retirees in 2010, and then expand the same benefits to a group of non-employees the define as “domestic partners” in 2013.  Where did the windfall of city money come from?" 

Why did Bill Johnson fail to address that question?  

Joe Blevins

* * *

Dear readers and high school students,

Agree or not with Ms. Eidson's opinion, she shares the basis of her position without resorting to personal attacks. Mr. Johnson's comments are instructive to students who hope one day to be taken seriously in the business world. His statements represent two fine examples of what is commonly called an "ad hominem"attack. 

First, he personally skewers the other person's viewpoint, based on little more than highly charged emotions. Second, he lays out an eloquent emotional argument to make it look like anyone who disagrees with his views is a racist, his stalker, or someone not entitled to an opinion. Ad hominem attacks are the weakest arguments known, and they are rarely used in civil debate. They are most effective for whipping up spirit at high school pep rallies. "Our Team Rocks, So Beat the Bulldogs!" These types of attacks were especially effective during Pilate's reign, as they helped him rationalize crucifixion decisions. After hearing "Crucify him, crucify him," he acquiesced to the mob's desire.

Ad hominem pronounced 'ad 'häm?n?m/
adverb and adjective
Definition of ad hominem
1: appealing to feelings rather than intellect.
Used in a sentence. "Mr. Johnson used an ad hominem attack because he believed the woman was not entitled to differ with him."
2: an attack on an opponent's character instead of a response to the logic of the argument.

Used in a sentence. "The ordinance was created, ad hominem, for folks who think like Bill."  

Note the contrast in the arguments provided by Mr. Blevins. He states the legal issues, but does not personally denigrate Mr. Johnson. We can hope that at least 4,500 Chattanooga registered voters will embrace facts and sign the petition for referendum.

John Pierce 

* * *

Mr. Blevins, me and you both know that you wouldn't have to go very far back in either of our families to find people who were participants in numerous failed marriages, so the state law citing that marriage is between one man and one woman is a sword that cuts both ways.  

The same can be said to Mrs. Eidson (If I'm not mistaken lots of marriages would be voided if we took a strict interpretation of this law).  Traditionally, the state has had no say whatsoever in marriage.  

In frontier Tennessee, the churches had all the say on who was legally married, and if you had been divorced; they wouldn't marry you.  The Tennessee Courts are bound to follow traditions set in frontier Tennessee.  Many of our laws today harken from the same time period.  The state didn't start getting involved in marriages until just before the Civil War, when it was made illegal for a white to marry a black.  Of course, that didn't stop lots of people already involved in previous unions to jump over the rail again once divorced.  The present definition of marriage as between one man and one woman is unconstitutional.  People should remember the pit from which they were dug.  

Stephen Durham (

* * * 

I often hear, and read, Mr. Durham's statement, "The present definition of marriage as between one man and one woman is unconstitutional."  There is one thing that is never provided when someone says/writes this, what specific part of the Constitution are they citing?  If the "present definition of marriage" is unconstitutional, why didn't the writers of the Constitution/Bill of Rights address that?  If same sex marriage is a constitutional right, why didn't the writers of the Constitution/Bill of Rights embrace it back then?   In fact, why did they not enact laws to protect same sex marriage?   

To properly interpret the Constitution/Bill of Rights you must base it on the beliefs and intents of the writers at the time it was written, that is good scholarship.  If you are going to say that "The present definition of marriage as between one man and one woman is unconstitutional" why don't you provide specific evidence from the Constitution/Bill of Rights, and the writings and speeches of the very ones who wrote it to show that they believed same sex marriage is a constitutional right?  

Stop slinging insults and sling some evidence.

Mark Harwood    
Sale Creek 


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