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In Kansas, a heterosexual couple has filed suit seeking to block the arrival of same-sex marriage in the state. 

Philip and Sandra Unruh argue that the Fifth Amendment protects the rights of heterosexual married couples: "A ruling extending marriage to same sex relationships would violate the Unruh's [sic] right to equal protection under the law by the Court's failure to protect marriage and support the right of Kansas citizens to codify its implicit meaning."

In a telephone interview, Phillip Unruh explained the harm that legalizing same-sex marriage would do to his: "It would affect the joy and celebration that we think of when we think of marriage, because we would also have to have in mind on a daily basis that its now shared with people, that, who have the same sex relationships. The word would be a disturbing emotion for us on a daily basis, know that the word is being shared with people who are in a same sex relationship."

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Let me see whether I can put the Unruhs' minds at ease.

In Maryland, the General assembly legalized same-sex marriage in 2012, and the law was affirmed by a referendum that same year. Same-sex marriage has been legal in Maryland since January 1, 2013, and over the past twenty-two months marrying and giving in marriage have proceeded without interruption, and existing marriages do not appear to have crumbled at anything greater than the previous rate.

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In fact, this month my wife and I saw our son, John Paul Lucien McIntyre, marry Alexandra Leigh Aaronoson, and we also marked our own thirty-second wedding anniversary. At our parish, Memorial Episcopal Church in Bolton Hill, I see married couples, male-female, female-female, and male-male, come forward to the communion rail every Sunday.

No cause for alarm here.

Now, the thing about marriage that undercuts Mr. Unruh's argument can be glimpsed, of all places, in John Milton's 1643 tract, "The Doctrine and Discipline of Divorce," in which he argues that "in God's intention a meet and happy conversation if the chiefest and noblest end of marriage." He says that the purpose of marriage is "the apt and cheerful conversation of man and woman, to comfort and refresh him against the evil of solitary life." He identifies "the main benefits of conjugal society, which are solace and peace."

Mind you, Mr. Milton was speaking of heterosexual marriage, but you see that nothing he calls essential to marriage is limited to male-female pairs. All human beings can benefit from meet and happy conversation, from solace and peace 

So we see what is at the bottom of Mr. Unruh's legal argument: He does not want to see the solace and peace he enjoys extended to others, because the happiness of other people would diminish his own.

For my part, I would be ashamed to make such an argument.

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