28 October 2008

California Proposition 8

For those of you living under a rock buried in a dune at the bottom of the ocean, Prop 8 is described quite well by its title "Eliminates Right of Same-Sex Couples to Marry."

Prop 8 is a Big Deal here and, from what I've heard, all over the country. Homosexual people want to get married just like heterosexual people, and conservatives/fundamentalists/people who like to legislate their morality do not want their sacred institution corrupted. With the amount of money both sides have raised, I've been bombarded by quite of few ridiculous arguments, mostly on the Yes! side. Saying that you don't want your church to be forced to marry gays qualifies as ridiculous. Saying that children in public schools will be indoctrinated qualifies as ridiculous. Saying that it does not take away rights when the title starts with "Eliminates Right" extra super qualifies as ridiculous. Saying that marriage is an institution with religious origins and the government should keeps its secular nose out of religious business, well, that got me thinking.

What constitutes a marriage has changed radically over thousands of years. Depending on what society you trace the origins of marriage through, there are different levels of formality and consequences. However, a religious or spiritual component is almost universal. And while it is no longer possible to wed simply by saying, "I marry you," the religious implications have remained an integral part of the ceremony for many Americans.

Now that being publicly gay is not an automatic death sentence, gay people want to get married, but that tends to conflict with the historical religious wedding. In waltzes the civil union, a separate-but-equal attempt at appeasing both sides that is not recognized by the federal government, and forget about other states.

Even though marriage has been redefined as our culture has morphed, perhaps it should be civil union that is redefined. A giant search/replace all on marriage/civil union, if you will. Regardless of any details about the couple, as far as the government is concerned, it is a civil union. Churches, synagogues, and even drive through chapels in Las Vegas could still hold whatever type of ceremony they deem fit. Churches that accept gays could marry gays. Churches that don't would continue not to. But the important thing is that the legal end result is the same for every person.

Back in reality, I'm fully aware that this won't happen any time soon, and probably not ever. Millions of people are too attached to the word marriage and everything it means to them. Not to mention the undertaking necessary to rewrite all the tax code. Personally, I think the word is not nearly as important as the relationship that it signifies, as long as the word is the same for all. I will vote no on Prop 8.

1 comment:

dreamerj25 said...

Yeah, I completely agree with you. And although Angelina Jolie & Brad Pitt have lots of other issues & reasons, they SAY the reason they aren't yet married is that not everyone who wants to .. can .. legally. And I fully support them in that as well. Makes perfect sense to me.

In the end, it doesn't matter what the label is. The relationship between the people, and how they live (together), what they share (bills, property, feelings, children) that's what's really going on. The law should respect it. But it will take a long time.

The ceremony itself to get them there? Some straight people get married in lawyers' offices with only a few people to serve as whitnesses. C'mon, who cares that much on the method? The idea is the same-for-everyone, not 'separate-but-equal.'