Monday, February 15, 2010

A Different Approach to Gay Marriage

So many of my friends recently joined facebook groups advocating that same sex marriage become legal in the US. This really makes me wonder. Why are progressives so eager to allow homosexuals to share in a conservative, religious tradition? We all know the story - marriage is about a man and women becoming one flesh, it is about a couple being open to the gift of life, etc..

I think the answer is just an unfortunate overuse of the term marriage. The fact that you can get wasted run off with a prostitute to a chapel and get 'married' in Vegas is a testament to this blatant overuse of the word.

What frustrates me about conservatives is the lack of outrage over such sham heterosexual marriages. Proposition 8 in California should have addressed all marriages outside of a Church. Instead it was provincial (only concerned with homosexuals) and hypocritical (promising to defend the 'sanctity of marriage' while not addressing the far greater number of sham heterosexual marriages).

The approach that I really hope progressives will take is to abandon the use of the word marriage. With such great outrage across the country, I am amazed they have not yet began using a different word.

The US Government should get out of the marriage business entirely. If someone wants the religious connotation and traditional expectations of a married relationship they can be married in a Church. Every other couple, homosexual or heterosexual, married or unmarried can notify the government of their intent to form a civil-union. All legal matters can depend on the status of a civil union (e.g. healthcare benefits for spouses) to prevent discrimination.

I predict that conservatives would not only tolerate this recognition of civil unions but they would embrace it as it would be a step towards restoring the sanctity of marriage.

3 comments:

Joe said...

Matt,

I agree, to an extent. It's certainly true that the abuse of heterosexual marriage has led at least in part to the homosexual marriage question, but I'm not convinced that redefining our terms is a feasible or desirable solution.

Marriage is a positive good, and marriage with the blessing of the Church even more so. It's natural to want it--and that's what many homosexuals want. Many want "the religious connotation and traditional expectations"--but on their terms, not that of the Church. I wouldn't expect them to start using another word any time soon.

I'd be careful, too, about language on Prop 8. A Catholic who denies gay marriage but allows divorce and remarriage would be a hypocrite--but Catholics don't constitute a voting majority in any state, much less California, and Prop 8 relied on interconfessional support to pass. We're forced to cooperate with those who share some, but not all, of our views on marriage. I don't think working together on a lowest common denominator level makes us hypocrites.

These are mostly tangential quibbles, though. I agree with the main point of your post. "Standing for marriage" should mean more than "denying marriage to homosexuals."

Matthew Cossak said...

Your points are well taken. I do think it is natural to want marriage especially on your own terms.

I don't think it's possible to desire 'the religious connotations and traditional expectation' on your own terms since it has already been defined. If it is 'on your own terms', then it is not 'the tradition' which you desire.

I should have spoken more clearly about why Prop 8 was hypocritical and provincial. I attempted to clarify what I meant via parenthesis in the post.

I still remain perplexed by strong the role government plays in marriage (saying who can and can't be married) while at the same time we aren't allowed to have a statue of the ten commandments outside a courthouse.

Joe said...

Matt,

Objectively, I agree: what homosexuals want is not *really* marriage, or the "the religious connotations and traditional expectations." But I do think they want the blessing of the Church, and to remove any distinction between homosexual and heterosexual unions.

Excellent point about the government's inconsistency re: marriage and other religious issues. I have no idea how to account for it.