Marry Week promoting discussion of rights in marriage, attorney says

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    Freedom to Marry Week, a week designated to promote same-sex marriage and open dialogue about gay rights issues began Sunday. Sunday was Freedom to Marry Day, which became recognized in 1999 and was then extended to a full week.Freedom to Marry Day was founded by Lambda Legal, a gay rights advocacy firm. According to Lambda Legal’s Web site, www.lambdalegal.org, “Lambda Legal is a national organization committed to achieving full recognition of the civil rights of lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transgender people and those with HIV through impact litigation, education and public policy work.”

    Ken Upton, senior staff attorney for Lambda Legal’s south central office, said the purpose of Freedom to Marry Week is to create a specific time to encourage discussion about equal rights in marriage.

    Though TCU’s Gay-Straight Alliance is not hosting campus events for Freedom to Marry Week, Upton said it’s a good time for people to discuss the issue who normally would not.

    “This week is an opportunity to encourage calm dialogue in school, in church and at home without all of the rhetoric,” Upton said.

    Upton said most heterosexuals take for granted the rights they receive in marriage.

    “It’s unfair that homosexual couples with children cannot get the same rights as heterosexual couples with children,” Upton said.

    Rob Grebel, a junior political science major and member of TCU’s Gay-Straight Alliance, said Freedom to Marry Week is a good thing because it brings attention to the struggle for equal rights among homosexuals.

    “It’s a good reminder that same-sex couples don’t get the same benefits from marriage as straight couples do,” Grebel said.

    Grebel said religion should not be a dictating policy in the United States.

    Ann Smith, a representative for University Ministries, said Freedom to Marry Week deals with human rights issues.

    Smith said one of the pitfalls of supporting the issue in general is people’s homophobia.

    Smith said people should see “the relationship, not the sex act.”

    “No one should be denied marriage because of their sexual orientation,” Smith said.