Feb 24, 2008

I do not believe in "Gay Marriage"

I do, however, look forward to one day being joined with another man in a ceremony before our families and friends in order to pledge our lifelong devotion one to another. This is important to me, though I do recognize that this is not a marriage. I don’t want a marriage. I don’t want to jury-rig a ceremony from another tradition, but a ceremony that is all my own, and equal. In some cases, “separate but equal” is necessary; after all, unisex bathrooms are not required by law for good reason.

I believe, instead, in Civil Unions for all. The term “marriage” has been thrown around a lot in this debate—but we tend to forget that “marriage” is a religious institution. For the purposes of next-of-kin, and other forms of familial structure, the government has set up a legal recognition of marriage. Times are changing, though, and “family” is taking on a less traditional role. The law needs to accommodate the new structure of the family, while still leaving recognizing the old.

Civil Unions, available in Vermont, New Hampshire, Connecticut, and New Jersey, or the Domestic Partnerships of California and are the way to answer the “gay marriage” question. It simply becomes a question of wording. The Defense of Marriage Act, signed into law by President W. J. Clinton in 1996, was an interesting place to start. At face value, without forcing any interpretations on its intention, I must fully agree with the wording of this act. The first section states:

Section 1.
In determining the meaning of any Act of Congress, or of any ruling, regulation, or interpretation of the various administrative bureaus and agencies of the United States, the word "marriage" means only a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife, and the word "spouse" refers only to a person of the opposite sex who is a husband or a wife. Pub. L. 104-199, sec 1, 100 Stat. 2419 (Sep. 21, 1996) codified at 1 U.S.C. §7 (1997).

All this does is establish a legal definition of the words “marriage” and “spouse” according to their historic, religious interpretations. A union between two men is different between a union between two women, and both are different from a union between a man and a woman—the dynamic implies is something different. “Marriage,” here, is simply being set aside as the word used for a Civil Union that involves one man and one woman, referred to as “spouses.”

Instead of getting caught up on Civil Union being a type of Marriage, we should step back and understand that Marriage is a type of Civil Union. We could even play with the language of the DoMA:

In determining the meaning of any Act of Congress, or of any ruling, regulation, or interpretation of the various administrative bureaus and agencies of the United States, the term "conjugal fraternity" means only a legal union between two men as husbands.

In determining the meaning of any Act of Congress, or of any ruling, regulation, or interpretation of the various administrative bureaus and agencies of the United States, the term "conjugal sorority" means only a legal union between two women as wives.

In determining the meaning of any Act of Congress, or of any ruling, regulation, or interpretation of the various administrative bureaus and agencies of the United States, the word "polygyny" means only a legal union between one man and two or more women as husband and wives, and the word "spouse" refers only to a person of the opposite sex who is a husband or a wife.

In determining the meaning of any Act of Congress, or of any ruling, regulation, or interpretation of the various administrative bureaus and agencies of the United States, the word "polyandry" means only a legal union between one woman and two or more men as wife and husbands, and the word "spouse" refers only to a person of the opposite sex who is a husband or a wife.

The possibilities are endless--and all could include both permanent and temporary options.

If we can recognize that Marriage (and similar unions) is a religious issue, and allow for all other religious and secular unions under a single law, they we can continue into the 21st century as a progressive nation. I believe in the “sanctity” of marriage—that it is something that must be blessed by a priest or minister; and I know there are heterosexual couples who are not interested in marriage, but may still wish to benefit from some sort of legally recognized union. The citizens of this country, in order to be free, must have available all non-destructive options for living—allowing every citizen to apply notions of morality to the own lives according to their own consciences.

1 comment:

Michelle said...

Hi there, nice blog.

I'm reminded of a thread on Slacktivist that somehow veered off from a discussion about genocide to one about polygamy. Some interested comments were made (about the latter, not the former).