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Marples: The sanctity of 'holy matrimony'

By James A. Marples
April 4, 2015 at 4 a.m.


While Rep. David Simpson and I agree on about 97 percent of our beliefs on marriage and matrimony, he apparently is oblivious to nationwide trends, demographics and changing laws.

I considered this as I read his column "Holding marriage in honor" on this page Feb. 28 — and thank goodness he occasionally used the word "matrimony."

A good chunk of our civilized society is contingent upon reciprocity of laws. We are a mobile society. While I don't favor the feelings of people who approved so-called same-sex marriage laws in Washington state, Colorado or elsewhere, it can be reasonably predicted some of those married couples will eventually move to Texas whether they are gay men or lesbian women.

I am heterosexual, believe in the Holy Bible, am a Roman Catholic and regard marriage not only as a legal ceremony but a sacrament or covenant between the spouses and the creator, almighty God, who instituted marriage in the beginnings. Having said that, I am cognizant that society has diverse people. I may not condone what they do.

However, many things, such as partnership rights, have existed for centuries. I have hesitantly grown to see some tiny bits of merit between say, two lesbians who want spousal benefits such as insurance or hospital visitation rights. It is obvious most U.S. states are approving so-called same-sex marriages so there won't be legal chaos. Although I frown on the states that approved it, it's obvious where our national trends are heading. The only way chaos could arise is if some states legalize it — which they have done — and other states throw a monkey wrench into the mix by vainly attempting to call it void. Civil laws must be uniform and reciprocally recognized, even if they are laws we don't like.

Rep. Simpson wants a throwback to the days of "Ozzie and Harriet" — but pining away for the 1950s is useless in the year 2015. We must face facts. We needn't abandon our own personal religious beliefs, yet we need not declare religious warfare. America is built upon civil laws that protect everyone, from the believer to the agnostic to the atheist to the nonconformist.

I am saddened the word "marriage" has been corrupted. But I believe there is one phrase that cannot be corrupted and that is the sacrament or covenant of "holy matrimony." Thankfully, that is one phrase that's as pure as a solid gold or silver coin. Thus far, it has not been counterfeited by people who wish to distort the meanings of words.

The word marriage no longer has the narrow connotation it once had. But holy matrimony still carries weight because it, by nature of its wording, implies a spiritual bond beyond the reach of mortal man predefining it to suit himself.

In this day and age, numerous debates occur over modern lifestyles. Numerous debates occur between people over the subject of same-sex marriage. I view that as a misnomer. Calling a boat an airplane doesn't mean it can fly. Some people resort to calling so-called same-sex marriages a union.

Now, I don't want to engage in a semantics game. People are people. They all have their frailties, and each have their preferences. Rep. Simpson brought up sexual infidelities among heterosexuals. That is comparing apples and oranges. Any type of illicit fornication is solely immoral lust no matter if the participants are married or not. It isn't condoned by law or by churches, synagogues, or other holy houses of God. Simpson is blasting away with a cannon when he should hold his fire, and his tongue. I believe that if correct English terms are used, it would greatly clarify things and ease tensions.

Again, I believe in traditional marriage as holy matrimony. Whenever I bring up the topic, I refer to it as my belief in traditional holy matrimony. When I do so, I notice the hecklers are fewer and those in agreement rise in numbers simply by use of the clear English language. It is non-threatening.

The term holy matrimony is unique. It's like a genuine gold coin versus a cheap counterfeit imitation. Its worth is clearly recognized, there isn't a substitute for it.

I believe holy matrimony is best regulated by clergy, and civil laws should keep their noses out of it.

Now, the term marriage has already become a slippery slope from which there is no turning back, regardless of Rep. Simpson's hopes. Our nation cannot become a house divided on this issue. The solution is separate categories.

Let us focus on retaining the purity of the phrase "holy matrimony." If we do so, Rep. Simpson has nothing to fear.

— James A. Marples, a Longview resident, is an occasional contributor to the Saturday Forum.

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