Ah yes, the sanctity of marriage. This is a subject I should know nothing about. After all I’m a northeastern liberal. I voted for John Kerry, I read The New York Times, and I watch MTV. I don’t believe in an organized religion, and quite frankly, don’t care if public officials do either. Moral values are not important to me when I select a candidate for office. If I found out that President Bush has a secret fetish for transvestites, I’d be a little surprised, but certainly it wouldn’t add to my fervent dislike for the man. The liberal northeast must be a haven for moral leprosy. After all, the gay marriage capital of America, Massachusetts, is only a short road trip away. I hail from a state, New Jersey, where our outgoing governor is an openly gay American. Certainly people from the northeast don’t know anything about family life. It’s the south and the Midwest, the Red States. They’re the heartland of America; they know what it’s all about. That’s what guys like Rush Limbaugh and Joe Scarborough keep telling us. Which state in the union has the lowest divorce rate in the country? This should be able to tell us something about family values. That state just so happens to be the gay-marriage capital of the United States, the great state of Massachusetts. This is amazing. Allowing homosexuals to marry is clearly not having adverse affects to the sanctity of the marriage institution. According to the Associated Press, the lowest rates of divorce were found in the Northeast, the Blue States (those carried by John Kerry), while the highest rates were found in the Bible Belt. New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont were all amongst states with the lowest divorce rates in the nation. The highest divorce rates occurred in Alabama, South Carolina, Mississippi, Texas and other Red States (those carried by President Bush). Moral values. I cringed when I heard that’s how people decided their vote for president. Twenty two percent of voters said it was their defining issue in selecting their presidential candidate. Of these people, 79 percent voted for Bush. I can’t understand how people could determine their votes on such trivial matters. Our nation is facing record deficits, an unending war in Iraq, a stagnant economy, and a revived al-Qaeda. Our country is heading in the wrong direction, yet we re-elect our president because as Jon Stewart said the idea of two dudes kissing makes people in the Midwest feel “icky.” This reliance on moral values was a great move by the Republicans. They branded John Kerry as a Massachusetts liberal, thus making it impossible for him to connect with rural voters. I think the moral values issue is a load of nonsense. I can never understand why people who are economically worse off than they were four years ago would vote for a candidate on the basis of opposition to gay marriage. The fact is gay Americans will have legal recognition to marriage sooner or later, hopefully sooner. Americans need to realize that gays and lesbians are entitled to the same right as heterosexuals. Allowing gay couples to marry does not de-value the little existing credibility marriage has in this country. With television shows like Who Wants to Marry a Millionaire? and My Big Fat Obnoxious Fiance (both put out by conservative Rupert Murdoch’s Fox network) have more to do with the decay of marriage. With over 50 percent of marriages ending in divorce, I think allowing gay couples marriage rights would actually lower that statistic. Just look at Massachusetts.