To the Editor:
I recently consulted my convenient source of information on just about anything, Wikipedia, and learned that same-sex marriage is legal, or will be legal in 2014, in 18 states in the U.S., and by eight Native American tribal jurisdictions. Approval of same- sex marriage by state and region in this country is now experiencing a “snowball effect” facilitated by the June 26, 2013 U.S. Supreme Court ruling on the unconstitutionality of Section 3 in the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, which prevented the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages.
As a neighbor of Fort Riley, we in Manhattan should certainly appreciate that Wikipedia also reports, “…the Department of Defense (DoD) announced that it would provide spousal and family benefits to service members in same-sex marriages on the same terms as it does to those in different-sex marriages … benefits … include health care coverage, housing … survivor benefits, can be … retroactive to June 26, the day of the Supreme Court decision…”
I am part of the lay-leadership team at a local, well-established church, the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Manhattan. We sent the Mercury a press release in early December, which you chose not to publish or report in your news sections, so I am hopeful you will print my letter today.
UUFM approved a Statement of Principle by a unanimous vote of the congregation present on December 8, 2013, as follows: “We, the members of the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Manhattan, Kansas, in light of our religious and moral principles and commitment to human rights, hereby declare full support for Marriage Equality for couples of any gender identity or sexual orientation, and call for the State of Kansas to legally recognize same-sex marriage.”
Although some in our fair city may not feel the same way as we do, UUs are certain we are not the only folks in Manhattan to feel this way about marriage equality. I consider the right to marry whomever you choose is a civil right that should be protected and defended by all state and local jurisdictions in this country. Our UU congregants and I want Kansas to be part of that snowball, and I invite all like-minded folks to join with us.