Sen. Dodd: Same-Sex Marriage OK
Senator Chris Dodd of Connecticut (D) published an editorial in a Connecticut newspaper on Sunday where he announced that he has changed his mind on same-sex marriage. The editorial, which has also been published in full on Dodd’s senate web site, enumerates his reasoning for having opposed same-sex marriage in the past and why he’s changed his mind.
Dodd also cites the Connecticut Supreme Court decision in the editorial. “While I’ve long been for extending every benefit of marriage to same-sex couples, I have in the past drawn a distinction between a marriage-like status (“civil unions”) and full marriage rights. The reason was simple: I was raised to believe that marriage is between a man and a woman. And as many other Americans have realized as they’ve struggled to reconcile the principle of fairness with the lessons they learned early in life, that’s not an easy thing to overcome. But the fact that I was raised a certain way just isn’t a good enough reason to stand in the way of fairness anymore. The Connecticut Supreme Court, of course, has ruled that such a distinction holds no merit under the law. And the Court is right.”
Dodd goes on to credit his young daughters’ outlook with contributing to his change. “My young daughters are growing up in a different reality than I did. Our family knows many same-sex couples – our neighbors in Connecticut, members of my staff, parents of their schoolmates. Some are now married because the Connecticut Supreme Court and our state legislature have made same-sex marriage legal in our state. But to my daughters, these couples are married simply because they love each other and want to build a life together. That’s what we’ve taught them. The things that make those families different from their own pale in comparison to the commitments that bind those couples together. And, really, that’s what marriage should be. It’s about rights and responsibilities and, most of all, love. I believe that, when my daughters grow up, barriers to marriage equality for same-sex couples will seem as archaic, and as unfair, as the laws we once had against inter-racial marriage.”
With this public declaration, Dodd becomes the latest elected official to add his support to same-sex marriage. Dodd is currently involved in a re-election bid and while some may consider the change in stance to be posturing in a politically liberal state, the end result remains the same: another slow step in evolution.
Dodd ends his statement with a message to those individuals who still struggle with accepting same-sex marriages, even the liberal ones. “I understand that even those who oppose discrimination might continue to find it hard to re-think the definition of marriage they grew up with. I know it was for me. But many of the things we must do to make our union more perfect – whether it’s fighting for decades to reform our health care system or struggling with a difficult moral question – are hard. They take time. And they require that, when you come to realize that something is right, you be unafraid to stand up and say it. That’s the only way our history will progress along that long arc towards justice.”
How important are single voices like this when it comes to turning the tides in support of gay marriages?