Friday, May 19, 2006

On gays settlin' down: Part Two of Two

Okay, so I've laid out my (admittedly armchair) legal opinion on Georgia's gay marriage amendment, but in the interest of full disclosure, I feel that I should clarify my own opinion on the subject of gay marriage.

Straight people, get the hell over yourself.


I covered this back in 2004, back before Amendment One was passed, and I know I haven't been silent about it since. But it's never a bad idea to revisit, to elucidate, to lay things out in easy-to-digest bullet points. So why not?

Straight people are a threat to straight marriage. Kevin Federline is a threat to straight marriage. Angelina Jolie (bless her boobs) is a threat to straight marriage. Elton John? He's a threaten to good fashion sense, sure, but I don't think his union is the one that's crushing America's traditional morality under the wedge heel of his silver-embellished, diamond-encrusted platform boot. Dear friend Evan proposed that the only legislation sure to protect the sanctity of marriage would outlaw celebrity marriage; I have to agree.

Gay people are not a threat to straight marriage. The fact that my dog breathes oxygen is no threat to human respiration. The fact that my fish sits in a lovely bowl on the counter is no threat to our waterways. You know what does threaten human respiration? Pollution. Man-made pollution. If humans are worried about being able to breathe, maybe we need to stop spitting carcinogens into the air, and if we're worried about being married, maybe we need to stop spewing crap into our own marriages.

The government needs to stay the hell out of marriage. Controversial, I know. Here's my take: Most marriages have both a religious and a civil component. First, you go to the courthouse to get your marriage license and prove to the state that you're not trying to marry your sister (not applicable in the state of Kentucky). Then, you go to the church/temple/beach/sylvan glade/Elvis chapel, and the priest/rabbi/minister/moon priestess/King confers the blessings of a given deity on your union.

Some marriages don't both with both components. I could easily find myself a consort and drag him to a Justice of the Peace for a marriage that would be recognized by the state but not (necessarily) the Catholic church. Alternately, I could drag the same poor sclub before my friend Sam, an ordained minister in the Universal Life Church, but without a marriage license, our marriage wouldn't be recognized by the state.

I think that if we want to reform marriage, we need to get the government out of it entirely. Yes, the state does have some interest in civil unions, in terms of taxes and children and partner rights, but that's as far as it needs to go: civil union. The interests of the state hold regardless of the genders of the people being united. If a couple is prepared to live in such a way that those interests are sustained, the state has no reason to approve the union of a man and a woman where a man and a man wouldn't be similarly approved.

After that, the actual issue of marriage is left to the institution that invented the conceit in the first place: churches. Churches can continue to bless those unions that they always have, or expand their repertoire if they choose. Straight people who disagree with gay marriage can find a church that doesn't perform them, and gay people who want to enjoy the same blessings that straight people do need only find a cleric to distribute them. Protection of the sanctity of marriage is thus returned to the only entity actually capable of sanctifying things in the first place: God.

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