In order to start a civil discussion about same-sex marriage in America, we asked people from our Public Insight Network to tell us the stories behind their thoughts on the matter AND to give us questions they’d ask people who think differently about the issue than they do.
This question from Jennifer in St. Paul, Minn., found some small amount of middle ground on the issue when answered by people who oppose allowing same-sex couples to marry:
If your daughter or son was gay, would you object to their being allowed the rights we confer upon married couples, such as sitting beside their beloved partner’s side at their deathbed?
We put Jennifer’s question back out to our network and here’s what people said:
Akiva from West Orange, N.J.:
No I would not. So let’s create a “couples legal relationship” that confers the limited right of guardianship in case of loss of capacity. Frankly such a relationship could apply well even if the relationship was non-sexual, such as two elderly sisters living together after retirement or widowhood.
Laurie from Fargo, N.D.:
Yes, I would. I have friends and distant relatives who are either living gay lifestyles or who struggle with temptation toward the same sex. While I love those people dearly, I cannot in good conscience in any way encourage them in relationships with members of the same sex that go beyond healthy friendship.
To me, healthy friendship with the same sex does not include sexual activity. So, if for example my son had a dear friend who was male who was dying, I wouldn’t mind at all his sitting next to that friend’s deathbed. But if my son had been involved in a sexual relationship with that friend, then I would have been urging him with all my love for him to get out of that relationship long before the deathbed scene ever came along.
Ron from Littleton, Colo.:
My view of truth doesn’t change because of my children’s behaviors. What my adult children do with other consenting adults behind closed doors is their business as long as they don’t ask the rest of the society to change the family as the basic form of social organization since the dawn of human life on Earth to accommodate their wishes. Sitting beside their beloved partner’s side at their deathbed is fine with me; adopting children and treating a homosexual family the same as a traditional family is where I draw the line.
Daniel from Patterson, Calif.:
Inheritance, medical, and all other legal rights can be obtained the way many of us hetero’s have to do it for other family members — by getting an attorney to draw up the papers. This can be done without the need to redefine marriage.