Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Yet another blog post from TNC's blog on The Atlantic!

I'm kinda hoping that these guys will come here and remark. I'd love to get this conversation going on a more personal level! Here are the comments that I responded to, one of which was a direct response to my earlier post:

Erika,

I guess it comes down to abolishing something so sacred to many....and just removing the word marriage all together. Of course I am sure some of you guys will still protest about that too...why now? when gays come around you want to change the system huh? Its a religious thing....not personal..

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Very, very rarely do I see anyone point out the most obvious answer to all of this nonsense...remove the word "marriage" from all civil statute/regulation/law verbiage.

Mating pairs predate religion and religion predates nation-state governments. Marriage is a religious ceremony that got absorbed into government, not the other way around.

Take the word "marriage" out of all the laws and statutes and require those that want to gain the legal benefits get both the civil and the religious if they so choose. That pretty much ends the argument in a simple, pragmatic way.

However...there's a simple problem with that. If you're going to open what we now consider as "marriage" to mean more than a man and a woman because of "seperate but legal" or "equal protection" arguments, what do you then say to the woman who wants to marry two men, or the man who wants to marry two men (etc etc)? Why should a threesome "marriage" be any less valid than a twosome? I can think of many reasons why it would be BETTER to pool the resources of three incomes and efforts than it is for two. Why should multiple-partner marriages be valid as well?


@ Hassa:

I really appreciate your response. I don't take anything you said personally, I responded because a lot of people are led to think that the current statuses are equal when in fact they're just not.

A very big thing for me, is that I highly respect people's right to worship as they choose, and I don't want to take anything away from anyone or desecrate something that is sacred to someone's religious beliefs... I just want to make sure that my family is protected *by the government* in a manner that is equal to the protections afforded other families. If they want to call it something else, I don't really care what it is called, they can call it a "big fat gay wedding" or a "totally non-religious government union" or whatever they like as long as everyone has the exact same protections!

There is no way that the government can force a religious organization to perform gay marriages if they are opposed to such a thing, so nobody's altars will have to be stained with the taint of gay-ness if the church so determines. :) At the end of the day, it is enshrined in our Constitution that government doesn't force religions to do things, and it also states that religions (even majority ones) don't inform the policies of government.

I can't speak for what some or all gays would protest, I can simply say what the legal arguments are and how a separate but equal civil status would likely play out in the courts. I personally don't think I would mind too much if I truly had all of the exact same rights, but it seems likely based on legal precedent that it couldn't stay that way for long. State by state progress is definitely encouraging, but it's kind of annoying to think that if my partner and I were married here, our protections would evaporate every time we went on vacation, unless we wanted to vacation in exotic Connecticut. :)

Anyways, I appreciate your honesty. :)


@ Scott:

If civil marriage is separate from religious institutional marriage (which it currently is in most senses), then there should be no need for anyone to receive *government* benefits based on a religious ceremony (which in fact is also the case now - you obtain the legal benefits by virtue of your government marriage certificate, with or without the religious blessing). You couldn't just go into a church, get married by a religious official, and be considered legally married without following up and certifying your civil marriage with the government.

In light of this, it actually makes a great deal of sense to have two different words for the religious ceremony and the legal compact. However, my guess is that many married folk would be annoyed to have their existing marriage somehow "downgraded" to a civil union, probably even more than they are annoyed that gay civil unions might be "upgraded" to marriages. Language matters to us a great deal, doesn't it?

Quite personally, and from a civil-libertarian standpoint, I take no issue with the idea that committed polyamorous people (ha, I almost typed 'couples') should be able to designate the scope of their own families for legal purposes. However, you clearly couldn't call that a marriage! ;)

Just kidding, I was trying to make a point. Call it whatever you want. Maybe that can be a "totally non-religious government union" too. It doesn't matter what I think about other people's lives and relationships, at least not from the standpoint of what the government does or how it acts. Why should it matter what we *personally* feel distasteful about or are religiously opposed to, when what we're talking about here are agreements between individuals and the government?

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Either of you, or anyone else, please feel free to comment on my blog if you want to discuss further, it's certainly not my intent to hijack the page!

PS - BIG thumbs down for ANYONE blaming AAs or some other random group for this electoral outcome. I promise you that this opinion, while it may exist among the ranks of gay people and others, is NOT a representative one, for whatever that matters. Our anger at this outcome would be much better directed at the specific efforts of organized religion, and it would be much better applied as outreach and informative efforts than as hate. How totally counter-productive it is to act hateful towards those who hate us, those kind of actions solve nothing and reap no positives!!!

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