McNinch cites new issue with same-sex marriage - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

McNinch cites new issue with same-sex marriage

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The Guam debate on same-sex marriage may be over but University of Guam professor Ron McNinch says a new issue has now arisen. It was about six years ago that former chief justice and now senator B.J. Cruz started the discussion on marriage equality. At that time, 50% percent of the people of Guam supported the concept.

Fast forward to today, 55% support marriage equality, McNinch said, "What has happened is that people realize that they have a lot of gay friends and family members that this affects and so it's going to become a routine kind of policy there is going to be positive effects that happen from this policy particularly for foster children and adoptions." And in a landmark decision from the District Court of Guam about a week and a half ago same-sex marriage was legalized.

According to McNInch, for now the Guam debate is over, but there is a new issue. He said, "We have to revisit how we view tolerance in our community and that is we may not like a person's lifestyle or any other behaviors but people particularly gay people have these legal rights we have to tolerate and legally and from a governing stand point tolerate and not discriminate against them."

He says that there is no more gay marriage. "Marriage is marriage. Essentially under a general concept it is a solemn contractual relationship between two people that has specific legal rights and that's what marriage is," he explained. "Most of the arguments or feelings that people have negatively towards this issue arise when you try to mix in religion and other things but really this is separate and apart from religion this is essentially allowing two people to live in a solemn lifelong relationship."

He adds that a very important part of the process is tolerance, noting, "Now there is this whole idea that we have to be tolerant and it's an important idea and we should be tolerant across the board. In general, Guam has one of the most tolerant communities in the United States."

According to McNinch, our intermarriage rate is one of the highest in the US at about 42%, but if we include the number of people of multiple ethnicities the number is nearly 70% and in this diverse garden like community tolerance and peace must be promoted.

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