Marriage Equality – What century am I in?
As we move into the 21st Century, we must take a look at where we’ve come in terms of equality. How far have we gone? In 1972 we saw the APA de-medicalize homosexuality as a disease or condition to be treated. Throughout the following decades we saw laws and court cases that overturned old, archaic laws banning homosexual behavior as illegal. Yet, our fight is not over. Once we got the right to make love de-criminalized, our efforts then shifted towards full inclusion into society. This inclusion means having the same right and responsibilities as heterosexual couples. The 1990s saw us set back 50 years when our Democratically elected president signed law establishing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT) and the “Defense of Marriage Act” (DOMA). It would be almost 20 years later that DADT was repealed, and in 2012 we are still hoping to repeal DOMA. Several courts have sided with those wishing to repeal and fight DOMA, and other non-equality measures. While we may see our fight be won on the judicial level, our struggle to win the hearts and minds of the general public… it is probably 50/50 depending on where one lives.
At the heart of this matter is marriage. One side feels that marriage is a long sacred institution that our Founding Fathers, God, and Jesus want to preserve as it always has been. The other side feels that marriage has already been redefined, as we give gender equality to women, freedom of choice over their bodies, and the right to divorce.
There is a “compromise class” that would see “same-sex” marriage be called “Civil Unions” while the heterosexual marriages are still given “marriages”. Thankfully, we’ve stopped calling this struggle “Same Sex Marriage” and started calling it “Marriage Equality”.
Let us also point out that in several states marriage equality is currently legal, while some other states have enacted “civil unions” or “partnerships”. Let us also point out that one piece of paper give couples the right to inherit without taxation, the right to property, the right to hospital visits, and the rights and responsibilities of federal benefits.
You see, marriage equality is not a States’ Rights issue, because we are also taxed at the federal level. Much taxation of estates comes at the federal level, so that needs to be fixed, as well as, make states recognize unions between two men or two women, as well as, unions between one many and one woman. AND we are not asking for special rights. We are asking for the same rights as heterosexual couples.
Perhaps the logic is or is not that simple. I’m not sure; however, I do know that we are denying many couples the right to be married, to adopt, to collect survivor benefits, to make decisions on the other’s behalf. Yet what we are allowing to happen is that a partner who has been the soul caretaker, heart and soul of another for many, many years, to be thrown out and forgotten like garbage all in the name of DOMA and States’ Rights.
Let us look at some arguments:
|1. Marriage is for procreation.||1a. If that is so, then should we ban any infertile people, and women past childbearing years from marrying?
1b. Should we invalidate those marriages that are childless? (Maybe set a timeline of how long a couple can/should be married before invalidating their marriage for not fulfilling contractual duties).
1c. Should we invalidate marriages where the partners choose to not have children?
|2. It is against God!||2a Which God? Whose God? While we can acknowledge that religious texts may have been translated to invalidate God’s love if you are homosexual. And that is okay if your belief system puts your in that category that your God cannot love a person because of who they love. You can say it is because God said this or that. But ultimately, you don’t know what he said because he “said” these things to men thousands of years ago, and then the words were oral tradition, then scribed over the course of several translations. So do we really know? Why would God make a person homosexual? And what would the Devil care?
2b Not everyone believes the same. That is just the basis of the matter. In the USA, we allow religious freedom and tolerance. Meaning, you have the freedom to choose a religion or not choose a religion. We have identified religions in this country that are, indeed, in support of marriage equality. They are fully functioning and credited as authorized religions in this country. They are willing and able to perform a marriage ceremony in this country. They do not believe their God would punish two people for loving each other.
2c On the subject of not choosing a religion, this country allows two atheists to get married (without the sanction of a church), and they have full rights and responsibilities that anyone else has.
|3. Churches and clergy should not be forced to marry gay people.||3a Agreed, they should not be forced to marry gay people unless they, themselves are gay and want to marry their gay partner.
3b However, churches and clergy have been marrying gay people for centuries, those individuals were gay, they just weren’t open about it.
3c We only call it marriage. But really everyone signs a piece of paper that is filed at the county courthouse.
State = civil union
Church marriage ceremony = marriage
However, it is all called a marriage.
SOLUTION: Require ALL couples to be married in civil fashion and let the church marriage be optional.
3d Some churches and clergy do sanction and uphold marriage equality.
3e Today, no clergy member or church has ever been forced to marry someone who is not their member or gone through their process to be married. Therefore, no clergy member or church should be forced to marry a gay couple; however, gay couples should not be banned from marriage just because a few clergy won’t do it.
|4. One man, one woman has been good enough through the centuries, and it will ruin the sanctity of marriage.||4a In centuries past women were only property. Property claimed by dynastic or wealth gains. One many occasions those unions became loving. For those not tied to land or dynastic issues, the need for survival (male protection), a homemaker (single man), and child production was the purpose of marriage. The 21st Century does not see people as 5 generations of [insert profession or trade], such as, butcher, baker, or candlestick maker as we saw in past centuries (but sometimes this can happen).
4b Also, one man and one woman may have been the “norm”, but there is a reason that prostitution, as a profession, has also survived through the ages. Let us not deny loving couples their rights out of fear of sanctity being ruins. Seems that was taken long ago.
4c Further, one many and one woman is perceived as the “norm”, but did you know that through the centuries there has been women born who were later found to be infertile, but in actuality, these women had an intersex condition. In some cases, the women were born looking just as females, but had XY chromosomes. Neither the woman’s family nor spouse knew the truth until 21st century medicine could map DNA structures.
So is it the gender that bothers people? The fact that “women” must have certain qualities, “men” must have certain qualities, and “couples” should have certain qualities. Again, if said couple in 4c were to be banned from marriage because they produced no children (see Item 1), then are we upholding marriage as sacred?
The complexities of marriage have existed probably since time began. One may say that “civilized” society brought the rules that exist in marriage. Women were property, marriage was for procreation, marriage was a sacrament, and God only likes/approves of heterosexual marriage.
But do we approve of good marriages? Why do we allow celebrities and non-celebrities the rights to be married for 5 hours or 72 hours before we allow the marriage to be ended? We have provisions for “annulment” and divorce in a society that holds the institution as sacred. So divorce is there for a reason, because some women need to get out of an abusive relationship. Okay, understood and agreed.
But I bet if a calculation of divorce was researched, I am willing to be “irreconcilable differences” would be the number one reason for divorce. That means that it could be from one partner being lazy to one partner not being compatible in bed. This vague term is used to end many a marriage that is deemed sacred.
We see the American public running out to ban marriage equality, just as it was done to interracial couples until 1967. Yet, we don’t see the American public making divorce difficult and hard to obtain. Why is that? I guess the government not supposed to dictate their lives, but it is okay for the government to protect their benefits and ban other marriages.
There are inadequacies in our arguments. There are fallacies in our arguments, yet we allow them to rule us.
At the end of the day, I want the comfort of knowing that my life and my marriage is just as important as my neighbors. I want to know that my marriage (that although only 2 years old, has far outlasted many heterosexual marriages). I want to know that if I were the type of person go out and marry 8 times that I could do that because I live in a country that let’s people do that… just not people wanting to be married to a partner of the same gender or perceived same gender.