Saturday, June 30, 2007

The Same-Sex Marriage Debate Pointlessly Continues (And There's a Simple Solution)

For some reason, when the subject of "Gay Marriage" comes up, people on both sides get emotional and make senseless arguments. Liberals will say that the government has no business deciding who should be allowed to marry whom, and conservatives venture off into Fantasy Land when they start claiming that Gay Marriage will lead to Polygamy and Beastiality. (Former Senator Rick "Man on Dog" Santorum (R-PA) was famous for thes kinds of rants.) There is a simple solution once people recognize where the problem lies.

As I see it, the problem is with the use of the word "marriage". Those who would deny a gay couple the right to "marry" often say that "marriage is a sacrament", and that if you start letting gays get married, you start forcing churches to recognize that which they say is wrong. This is a false argument. The reason is that there are two aspects to any couple joining in a legal bond - the civil aspect (the rights and responsibilities each inherits under the law as a "married couple") and the religious aspect (the following of the rituals of one's faith in the completion of this joining.) It's easy to understand why those who view marriage from a religious aspect would be upset. But they don't have to be. All we have to do is abolish the idea of the federal or state governments recognizing these joinings as "marriages" and start recognizing them simply as "civil unions". And to satisfy the ones who still worry about what this will lead to (Rick, I'm looking in your direction), we then define a "civil Union" as being between two, and only two, human beings. That should put an end to all those bizarre fantasies.

Now, it could remain perfectly acceptable under all laws that a "wedding ceremony" (or "marriage") performed by a member of the clergy just as it is today, would be automatically recognized as a "civil union" for legal purposes (just as it is today). The only difference is whether or not a church or religion would recognize anyone's "civil union" if it was not done in accordance with their religion's rules and teachings. If your religion does not recognize same-sex civil unions, then it should not be required to perform the wedding ritual for a same-sex couple. Nor should it have to accept a same-sex couple for any "couples outings" they might have. Of course, the same-sex couple does not have to practice that religion, either.

It's a win-win for everyone. The same-sex couple gets to enjoy all the legal benefits that heterosexual married couples get, while the churches and religions that oppose the idea do not have to marry anyone whom they do not wish to, nor recognize such people as being "married" within their eyes.

So what's wrong with that?


Anonymous said...

I see nothing wrong with that, Wayne, and it's easier than abolishing all marriage - which was my idea.


Anonymous said...

I am sort of with Zooey on this one. I would just as soon get rid of the government recognizing marriage at all. Why do we have tax breaks for "Couples" at all. What do they "Bring to the table" that single people can't do just as well?

Marriage should be a personal commitment that 2 people join in together for their reasons. The government making it benificial just blurs that line (Divorce rates anyone).

To paraphrase Ron Paul "The only thing worse than the federal government allowing gay marriage is denying it". If people choose to get involved with legal contracts with their brother/sister/cousin/dog/rock band they should be able to do so.

If 2 brothers move in together to help one raise his kids after the death of a spouse, why are they considered "Not as tax worthy" as a man and wife who get married?