Well, I can’t actually believe I feel the need to take space here to write about this, but I do. I came across this article today, read it, and then held my breath to dive into the comments section. Yes, I know it’s the internet, and comment sections on the internet are like the wild west (worse?) from long ago. But this was The Guardian, a paper I like, and one that attracts generally far above average commentators as far as the internet goes. On the whole, I wasn’t disappointed. To me, gay marriage was always a non issue. I was never able to figure out a way to logically argue against it. There were a few comments though that left me head scratching. Was this person for real, or were they just doing their best to rile people up?
Marriage is a right to the extent that it relates to our freedom of association. The ability for us to form relationships with whomever we choose, be they sexual realtionships or not. We used to have laws against adultery and fornication and the like. A person was not legally allowed to form a sexual relationship with somebody they were not married to. These days, those prohibitions are gone. You can screw as much as you like, with or without a marriage certificate. You can also get married by a preacher in a private ceremony, without the need for the civil authorities to recognize it.
The fact is that marriage has always been considered a union between a man and a woman. In olden times it also included polygamous male-female relationships. That was never accepted in this country. When our constitution was formed marriage was an understood right, but it didn’t mean to include polygamy and certainly not gay marriage. So… yes… you have the right to marry, but the definition of marriage is to marry a person of the opposite sex.
If you want to change that – amend the constitution! At the very least get 9 dumbos up on SCOTUS to rule that you are a protected class.
In order for me to maintain my sanity, I have to assume that this person is trolling. I just can’t get my mind around the arguments against it. Even if I switch into religious mode, I still can’t do it. That said, I do have a problem with all this. It’s a problem I’ve never seen raised anywhere else, so I’m going to raise it here.
I have a problem with gay marriage. I have a problem with “straight” marriage. I have a problem with the civil/legal/whatever concept of marriage. I don’t feel that the government should bestow any kinds of benefits or preferential treatment to those who chose to participate in a legal union like marriage. The reason why not is the same reason gay marriage has arisen as a “debatable” issue in the first place. If you want to get married, fine. Marry your girlfriend. Marry your boyfriend. Two men. Two women. Man and toaster. Woman and jet ski. Man and woman and Gelgamek. I do not care. But the instant the government starts offering preferential treatment or benefits (especially financial or tax benefits) to those who marry, it is obligated to provide those same benefits to ANYONE who marries ANYONE or ANYTHING else for ANY reason. It’s only fair.
It’s certainly possible that we collectively decide, hey, this is getting a bit ridiculous. Man and woman, woman and woman, man and man, we could handle that, but we can’t handle man and toaster, or woman and jet ski. If we collectively arrived at that point, that would be fine, but we would have to remove all civil benefits, laws or preferential treatment attached to the concept of marriage. This is actually my preference, and I’ll get to more on that in a second. This wouldn’t mean marriage is meaningless. If a man and woman got married in that world, they could still have a religious or secular ceremony of their choosing. All their friends and family could acknowledge the union. Really very little would change.
Why do I go beyond gay marriage and take it to such an extreme? Because today it’s gay marriage we’re fighting for, but tomorrow who knows what we’ll have to fight for. I’m going to shout out here to asexuals, and the different types of unions we form or don’t form as the case may be. I likely won’t ever get married, for a myriad of reasons, some of which are related to asexual spectrum things. Other asexuals are also aromantic, and may not form any types of unions at all. Hell, there are other regular vanilla heterosexual people who don’t want to get married either. Should we all lose out on benefits of being married? I say no.
There are so many different potential benefits marriage affords those who participate in it. See a list here. Now why shouldn’t say an aromantic person with a queerplatonic partner be allowed those same types of benefits? Because they’re not “married”? Maybe they’ve lived together for 15 years. They do everything together. They rely on each other for companionship, emotional support, financial stability, etc. How is it ok to deny them some or all of the rights that a married couple, who share all the same attributes enjoys? Hint: it’s not ok.
Do you really think with the fight we’ve had to go through, and are still bafflingly going through, regarding gay marriage that solo aromatics or queerplatonic partnerships stand a chance? Pardon the language, but fuck no! Asexuality isn’t even considered a “real” orientation (or even known). That’s the problem. That’s the point I’m trying to make. We have to make this separation between what government and civil benefits people (alone, married, gay, straight, black, blue, white or green) can get and the concept of marriage.
Naturally, the same tired tropes will be trotted out, “You’re cheapening the tradition of marriage!” Believe me, there’s nothing I could do to cheapen the tradition of marriage more than high divorce rates and Kim Kardashian haven’t already done. The thing is, you are still allowed to marry whoever you want, however you want. If that all lines up as a “traditional” marriage, that’s totally cool! I’m not going to give you a hard time about that, and neither will anyone else. The government just doesn’t get to step in and offer some kind of different treatment to you for that. As individuals, you and your spouse can apply for those benefits, but so can all other individuals. If that becomes too complex, or irks you the wrong way that two gay men are getting those same benefits (as individuals), then we can go the easy route and eliminate all those benefits completely. If you can’t play nice, you get nothing at all.
That about wraps up all I have to say about this topic, which again, I cannot believe I even feel I have to write about it. To be perfectly honest, I’m shocked that we as a country are still struggling with this. Exactly how immature, illogical, unreasonable and uncompassionate are we?