Saturday, August 14, 2010

A modest proposal to resolve the gay marriage debate

--Guest post by Lilac Sunday, who is solely responsible for any annoyance created by the sentiment below

A bill permitting unilateral no-fault divorce has passed the New York state legislature. With Governor David Patterson's signature, the last holdout will fall, and every state will permit no-fault divorce in some form.

And that right there is the heart of the problem with the gay marriage debate. At the hands of straight couples, marriage has already ceased to be the institution that opponents of gay marriage are trying to defend.

Proponents of traditional marriage are fighting an uphill battle against the damage that has already been done to the institution of marriage by 24-hour wedding chapels in Nevada, Liz Taylor and Larry King, the cult of single parenthood, and, most importantly, no-fault divorce. Although there are still (and God bless them) couples who believe the words "until Death us do part" as they utter them, the idea of marriage as an institution is extinguished when one party can end the marriage clinically and without consequence via a stack of documents presented to a judge.

I therefore submit this modest proposal to resolve the gay marriage debate in a manner that preserves the institution of marriage while putting gay couples on parity with straight couples:

The only couples who are "married" are those whose union is performed by a religious institution which does not recognize no-fault divorce, and the state will have no authority to end the marriage by no-fault divorce. Everyone else, gay or straight, whose union can be ended by no-fault divorce, has a civil union. Because, when you get right down to it, an agreement whose conditions and boundaries are determined by legislative and bureaucratic fiat is a government dictat, not an institution.


RightKlik said...

Thanks for the post, LS! I haven't officially waded into the homosexual marriage debate because it's way above my pay grade.

Your point on the decline of marriage and no-fault divorce is very well taken. It can be difficult to defend traditional marriage when so many of the people participating in it are not taking it seriously.

One of my biggest concerns in the debate over homosexual marriage is that proponents of homosexual marriage seem to be unwilling to acknowledge the possibility of unintended consequences. Slippery slope concerns, e.g., polygamy, are dismissed without a lot of serious consideration. But I can think of no argument in favor of homosexual unions that can't just as easily be used in favor of polygamous unions.

Lilac Sunday said...

RK, I'm with you on the slippery slope concerns, *especially* since the Court's decision states that morality can't be a basis for prohibiting gay marriage. I think that reasoning opens the door for just about anything.

And I always laugh when I hear the bit about people having a right to marry the person of their choice; if that were the case, you would be referring to me as Mrs. Russell Crowe.

Just a conservative girl said...

I agree with this sentiment totally. I would rather that the government get out of marriage altogether. I also do believe that divorce has become to easy in this country to the point that people don't take it as the very serious decision that it is.

Anonymous said...

Can a homosexual call himself heterosexual? Would it be considered discriminatory for a homosexual not to be "allowed" to call himself a heterosexual? No, because he's not. Neither is the fact that a woman "can't" call herself a "man".

It's like they say: I have a right to be offensive, but thinking that others have a right to listen to me is the irritating bit. You may have a "right" to steal the definition of a word that is sacred to people, but it's thinking that others have a right to lose what is sacred to them that is irritating. People discriminate against homosexuals because they are not heterosexuals and yet I don't see anyone championing the right to be called "heterosexuals". It's backward logic.

I'm surprised no-one's used this argument but fundamentally we are talking about a change in definition of a word ("marriage") that holds meaning to many people. Why steal it from them? Why bash them over their head about and demand it be changed to accommodate a definition that doesn't apply? Gays and lesbians make up their own words to define themselves and their lifestyles with words that other people don't consider "sacred" – why not just invent a word to mean the same thing (as marriage)? The fact that I cannot enter a woman's washroom because I am a man is not discriminatory to me because I have an equal alternative. Gays and lesbians also have an equal alternative: make up your own damn word!