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Letter to the Editor: City Leaders, Community Should Oppose Natatorium Gay Marriage Issue

The following speech was delivered during the public comments section of the March 8 Parks and Recreation Board meeting by Pastor Chris McCombs. Now, McCombs offers it to the City Council and Falls community for further consideration.

Editor's note: The following was submitted by Chris McCombs, the Pastor of in Cuyahoga Falls. 

REASONS TO PROTECT AND PRESERVE THE SOCIAL INSTITUTION OF MARRIAGE:

This is not personal, but about principle. This is more about what we stand for, than what we stand against.

No one is attempting to take away another person’s rights or freedoms. No one is telling another person how they can live or not live. No one is denying anyone access to patron any establishment in our community.

The social institution of marriage in civilization and in our society has always been understood to be one man and one woman. Marriage is for the purposes of procreation, establishing family and perpetuating community. I am asking this board to please not get sucked into this social agenda that has been pushed upon us or attempt to find a way to skirt around this matter by giving gay marriage a different title. I hope you will have the courage to make the right decision for the good of our community by protecting and preserving the social institution of marriage.

  • The State of Ohio’s Constitution clearly defines marriage. To not recognize that is a violation of the law. That should be the end of it. That is the law. Several years ago, our State had the foresight to make the definition of marriage an amendment to the Constitution. Our State did this for a reason – to establish guidelines and protect the social institution of marriage from situations such as this.
  • The city is fiscally responsible for the operation of the . The Natatorium currently operates in the black. The Mayor’s position has been big on this point. We would be wise to heed his advice.  
  • Historically, the social institution of marriage and sexual preference has remained separated. Since the dawn of civilization, marriage has been understood as one man and one woman. We need to honor the institution of marriage that has preserved mankind in our community and throughout history.
  • Religious reasons for not redefining marriage come from our U.S. Constitution. We have freedom of religion, not freedom from religion in our nation. Our religious views have merit in our public discourse. In expressing religious views, we are engaging our government, holding them morally accountable. Additionally, all five major world religions as a whole do not condone gay relationships as a form of marriage (Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism).  

As a pastor in our great city, I am obligated to stand up for my God, congregation and community for what is right. Although I have not made my faith or the Scriptures a major part of my argument, they are extremely important to me and to many others in this community. Again, this is not about what we are against, but what we are for…marriage! According to the Scriptures, God is the designer and definer of marriage. I am here to proclaim His view of marriage as best for our community. I have done my best to present this truth from a logical perspective. 

I thank you for your service, thank you for listening to me and thank you for your time.

Read on:

Erin Haren March 19, 2012 at 01:03 PM
I agree with what Pastor McCombs is saying. We need to protect the sanctity of marriage. Again, it's not so much what we are against but what we stand for!
John Olesky March 19, 2012 at 01:58 PM
Cuyahoga Falls missed an opportunity to handle this simply: If two people live at the same address, whether it's a minister and his wife or a brother and sister or an unmarried couple (gay or heterosexual), then the discount would apply. Instead, it chose to un-discount everybody to avoid discounting a gay couple. Atheists are entitled to the same discount privileges as people who claim to be God-fearing. In America, at least. Isn't that why our ancestors came to this country, to be free of religion trying to force itself on everyone?
William March 19, 2012 at 02:30 PM
I believe that our 'ancestors' originally came to this country to escape religious persecution and for the ability to practice the religion of their choice - the way they saw fit. i.e freedom OF religion. Which coincidentally is what this country was founded on. The Ohio Constitution says:Only a union between one man and one woman may be a marriage valid in or recognized by this state and its political subdivisions. This state and its political subdivisions shall not create or recognize a legal status for relationships of unmarried individuals that intends to approximate the design, qualities, significance or effect of marriage. http://www.legislature.state.oh.us/constitution.cfm?Part=15&Section=11 Either way - nobody is forcing anything on anyone, just simply asking that the laws be upheld.
Kay McIntosh March 19, 2012 at 03:54 PM
If everyone wants to fight so hard for equal treatment, I think they should just totally do away with the family discount altogether. There ya go. No one would be discriminated against.
Kevin Curtis March 19, 2012 at 05:40 PM
Denying other people their rights is not okay. "That's the way it's always been" is no excuse. Freedom of religion is not the issue. Christians aren't being asked to change the way they live, just to respect the choices that other people make.
William March 19, 2012 at 07:52 PM
People have every right to make choices, and other people have every right to disagree with them. In the mean time, while all of this choice making and disagreeing is going on - the law must be followed. No one is having their "rights" denied. Outside of a legitimate heterosexual marriage there are no rights as a 'married' couple in the State of Ohio. The State of Ohio does NOT recognize their "marriage license", therefore in Ohio they are NOT married. This has nothing to do with 'denying rights'.
Kay McIntosh March 19, 2012 at 07:57 PM
William- Very nicely said. Couldn't agree more. But seriously, if everyone wants equal rights, then do away with the family discount. Done. Everyone is equal.
Kay McIntosh March 19, 2012 at 07:58 PM
@Kevin no one has a "right" to a Nat family discount. No rights are being violated.
Pastor Chris March 19, 2012 at 08:41 PM
I agree with the Constitution, we recognize marriage as the Constitution defines it in Ohio. I don't see the City of Cuyahoga Falls defying the law. I think that issue may come up for some discussion, but I do not see an ordinance or policy emerging that will recognize "gay" marraige happening. I think this will ultimately come down to a financial decision: Can the Nat afford to go with an all inclusive "Household" rate based on legal residence? This would cover every home in Cuyahoga Falls and be disconnected from the marriage issue. The question then becomes can we make up the short fall with out raising rates at the Nat? Can the City Council figure out how to make up the loss in the budget? Will the Mayor agree with the financial decision of the City Council? Do the rates need to change at all? I see this going back to Park and Recreation to do more analysis and the rates structure will change only if they can come up with the funding to cover the loss of income by going to a "Household" rate. Another option is to remove all rates, but I don't see that happening because a lot people like senior citizens, military, and others get discounts. This really is complex and merits analysis. But what isn't complex is the fact that our Constitution defines marriage!
David March 19, 2012 at 10:45 PM
If the Nat made marriage a requirement to join, that would be discrimination. If the nat said you had to be gay to join, that would be discrimination. If being gay does not keep you from entering a business or government establishment, it is your choice if you spend your money there or not. These two men from Akron are treated just as any other unmarried individual. To recognize them as married would be extra constitutional thus granting them rights above others. Are we a land of laws, or men? It would seem that the left would like to make us a land of men where they would choose who is worthy of special rights. Or of course run to the courts to usurp the will of the people. This is less about the nat and only about legitimizing an unnatural relationship between two people of the same sex. I do not want my city being drug through the mud of this social agenda fist fight. Sex outside of marriage has done nothing but cause heart ache, social and financial problems in this nation. Choices have consequences that need to be accounted for by those who make those choices.
Bonnie Valentine March 20, 2012 at 05:47 PM
In all reality, the Nat shouldn't even need to be in this discussion. These men should be taking their argument & cause to the state level being that's where the issue lies. The City & Nat are wasting precious time & resources to address this issue in its current venue. Respectfully submitted
Wanda Minor March 21, 2012 at 12:54 PM
Let's do away with religion. Religion threatens the sanctity of my atheism. I somehow feel less atheist with religion infringing on my free thought.
Pastor Chris March 21, 2012 at 01:15 PM
Wanda, I understand your feelings and you have the right to express your "religious" views of atheism and free thought...a belief in no god. I defend your right to do that. But we cannot do away with religion. Nor does religion infringe upon you as you suggest. Our forefathers were wise enough to protect freedom of speech and religion in the Constitution. You and I may be worlds a part in how we view our world and religion...but we should be united on the constitution protecting those rights. Your free thought philosophy is protected because of the Constitution and you have the freedom to do so without fear of the government persecuting you or harming you; additionally, our government doesn't make you attend or give money to an established State Church; rather you and I have the freedom to belief as we choose. We need to keep America Free...I believe that freedom comes from God...you believe it comes from man...but we both should agree that means we need to protect the freedom of speech (that is done in a way that does not harm others...i.e. name calling, bullying, threats, intimidation etc.) and freedom of religion (which does not mean removing religious thought or God from government or the public square, it simply protects us from the government forming a state religion.) You may view them slightly differently than I do...but the overarching concepts are understood. Thanks for you comments...I stand behind our religious freedoms as being a good thing in our country.
Pastor Chris March 21, 2012 at 01:17 PM
Additionally, the author's letter comprises many arguments outside of religion. Yes, freedom of religion is one of the arguments and the expression of personal faith in the conclusion. But there are other arguments made based on law, history and finances as well. A free thinker would at least acknowledge and consider those points.
Morgana La Fey April 07, 2012 at 02:08 AM
I am not a christian. I do not believe in the institution of being a christian. I am not going to judge you if you are or if you are not. The person or people of god or lack there in doesn't matter. It says no where that people can act like this towards other people. Romans 14:1-13 As for the one who is weak in faith, welcome him, but not to quarrel over opinions. One person believes he may eat anything, while the weak person eats only vegetables. Let not the one who eats despise the one who abstains, and let not the one who abstains pass judgment on the one who eats, for God has welcomed him. Who are you to pass judgment on the servant of another? It is before his own master that he stands or falls. And he will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make him stand. One person esteems one day as better than another, while another esteems all days alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. . Christianity is frankly a new concept, only about a thousand years old. Before that there was paganism, and homosexuality was widely acceptable. No one thought any different. These were also the societies that women were equal to men. Why should we choose one over the other, in the end it doesn't matter. We are all going to think what we feel like thinking. And one day we will die and see if we were right or wrong. Until then we just need to sit back and enjoy the ride we shouldn't worry, this really is not affecting us at all. There are plenty of better causes.- Morgana
Pastor Chris April 08, 2012 at 12:48 AM
Morgana...thanks for writing. Your use of Scripture is misguided and so is your view of history. In the same letter in Romans that you quote and use as part of your argument Paul writes in Romans 1 about how important the Gospel is, how we are all accountable for our actions before God, calls out particular sins...including the sin of sexual immorality. Additionally, in Romans Paul talks about how we are all sinners (Romans 3:23), how we have victory over our sinful nature through Christ (Romans 6:23). We are not to remain in sin, but to overcome sin through a relationship with Christ. Someday when we stand in judgment before God one can be justified only through Christ, He is the only righteous one, it will be His righteousness that saves those who embrace Christ as Lord and Savior. As for history, we do see homosexuality embraced by some cultures. But sexual preference was never confused or connected with the social institution of marriage. Not even the Greeks did that. So your historic claims fall short. The sad thing is our culture is becoming more pagan - or should I say secular and that is the real problem. Whenever secularism prevails - values and morals are eroded. Christianity is not a new concept...its origins come from Judaism under the Israelites. God chose Israel to reveal Himself to all people. Jesus is the Messiah. He fulfilled the law and now we can live under His grace. Christianity comes from the origins of mankind, it was God's plan for man.

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