This week on payson.com, the Roundup introduced a new blog written by columnist Tom Garrett. For many of us who sometimes feel the online world is moving faster than we can keep up, the term "blog" may still be somewhat ambiguous.
The blog, called "I'm Listening" is intended to be an interactive editorial feature -- an online journal of shared thoughts and ideas.
To give you a better idea, we'd like to introduce Tom's blog on this page by reprinting a slice of his thoughts below. You can find the blog by logging onto payson.com and clicking on "Your Roundup" or the "I'm Listening" Link.
The direct url address is: http://www2.payson.com/forums/open/Im_istening/
Blog Entry: Oct. 27, 2006
I'll tell you how I feel about Proposition 107, the Protect Marriage Initiative. Mind you, I had no opinion on it whatsoever, and had never even heard of it, until I got the initiatives booklet in the mail from the state, but I gave each initiative a careful reading and made up my mind on them.
First of all, is Proposition 107 what it says or is it a thinly disguised attack on gays and lesbians? Its opponents in television ads hint that this is the case. They say it's not needed because marriage between gays or lesbians is already prohibited in this state.
I'm sorry but that's not a very telling argument. In fact, it seems to have things exactly backward. Since marriage between gays or lesbians is already prohibited in Arizona (I didn't know that), the initiative must have some other purpose. That's only logical, sound bites and muddied waters to the contrary.
Reading the initiative as carefully as I can, I see that it withdraws from unmarried couples certain benefits that married couples enjoy, primarily things like health care benefits and the like. In other words, if people decide to merely live together instead of getting married, they will not enjoy the same benefits as married couples.
Well, that certainly is in line with what the initiative claims it will do; it gives people a good reason to get married instead of just living together, and that obviously strengthens the institution of marriage. So we can say that the agenda of the initiative appears to be exactly what it says it is. It protects (and perhaps even enhances) marriage.
Next question: Should we or shouldn't we strengthen the institution of marriage? Is there anything about marriage that benefits the state, or the nation, or each of us as individuals which makes it something we should, in the first place, protect?
Setting aside moral or religious reasons for marriage because there is obviously only one way to see marriage from either of those two standpoints, I personally find that question very easy to answer. Marriage is one of the fundamental pillars upon which our society rests. Marriage, the lifetime commitment of two people to one another, is not only a thing of beauty, it is something which benefits all of us, even those who are not married. It provides stability. It provides a warm, nurturing environment in which children can grow to maturity. It provides security for two individuals who join together, a "for-better-or-worse commitment" which is perhaps the most valuable thing either of them will have in their declining years when the passion and excitement of marriage are happy memories, leaving behind only love and an eternal commitment.
In addition, thinking of children again, and being a man, I think that the word "father" should have a greater meaning than "the guy whose DNA I happen to be carrying around." It should mean: A person whose name I carry. A person who loves me enough to be there when I need him. A person who loves my mother enough to commit to her for a lifetime.
All in all, I find that the Protect Marriage Initiative has merit. It plainly says that if you are not willing to make a commitment which strengthens our society, then that same society is not willing to provide you with the benefits you would rightly earn if you did. Fair enough. It doesn't prohibit people from just living together; it simply says that if you choose to do that, then don't ask the rest of us to help pay the freight. I vote yes.
Well, that's my two cents worth. What's yours?