Right to opinions but not own facts

Published 8:37 pm Tuesday, April 17, 2012

To the editor:
This letter is not about the merits or demerits of Amendment 1. It is about the loss of legitimate debate in our society through repetition of lies, distortions and emotions, rather than facts. It would seem that many of our lawyers are not getting their money’s worth from our law schools. How else do we explain their seeming inability to study the history of law in our country and the facts of cases? First, we heard about the “unprecedented” act that would occur should the Supreme Court find components of a law unconstitutional (in other words, doing their job). Now, more locally, we hear similar statements about possible outcomes of passing Amendment 1.
Let’s take the example of N.C. law professor Maxine Eichner – whom we must assume, since she is a law professor, is teaching inaccuracies to her students. She stated that the amendment “…could prevent insurance companies from offering insurance benefits to same and opposite sex domestic partners. They say [don’t know who they are but what “they” say shouldn’t concern a law professor evaluating a law] it could also put in jeopardy the state’s right to allow same-sex or opposite-sex unmarried couples the right to make medical decisions if a partner is incapacitated, the right to make funeral and burial arrangements, inheritance rights if one dies without a will and the right to be named guardian if a domestic partner becomes incapacitated.’
Each of these statements is partially or totally untrue. Insurance companies are private entities determining their own benefit structure and not mentioned in this amendment.
The statutes relating to Living Wills, Health Care Power of Attorney and Durable Power of Attorney make no mention of limitations as to whom an individual may appoint to enact their wishes in these areas – the same applies to burial arrangements. Partially true are the issues of dying intestate (without a will).
However there are many issues that impact even current spouses and next of kin in these issues and these facts merely emphasize the importance of writing a will that designates inheritance and other details – certainly not a difficult task.
Then we have Ms. McDermott’s claim that “…what the proposed resolution tries to do is to establish an official government religious view for Polk County.” This statement is also not true as no particular religion is favoring this view or mentioned in this amendment. Also, many opponents to the amendment oppose it on grounds that have nothing to do with religion.
We then have Mr. McIntyre lending some credence to the above statement by absurdly stating that “Your position to not support it was a no-confidence vote in the word of G-d”. An emotion-stirring argument if I ever heard one but not a legal argument at all and unrelated to the amendment’s outcome.
Ms Gass then discusses a psychological theory about a sexuality scale and the inability for a person to change sexual orientation. Firstly, these are speculations. More importantly, they have nothing germane to offer about the status of marriage under the law.
Ms. Gass goes further by asking “How to can we vote to make it (sexual orientation) illegal?” This amendment takes no stance on the legality of sexual orientation only the privilege of obtaining a license for marriage in our state.
As has been said many times, “You have the right to your own opinions but not to your own facts.”
Until we restore legitimate, truthful debate to our society, no difficult decisions will be honestly decided in government or public affairs. We should try to avoid stooping to the level of many of our elected officials who wish to govern by stirring emotions (demagoguery) rather than having an honest debate about facts.
– Stuart R Goldstein,
Green Creek.