A Gay Marriage Solution Whose Time May Soon Be Upon Us

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17 Responses

  1. Avatar Sean Riley says:

    This is actually a familiar argument — Just have the government issue state mandated “civil unions” for everyone and then churches are free to marry if they wish.

    The problem is that people don’t want to be ‘civilly united’, they want to be married, and marriage is a word with power and history behind it. In the end, you’re still denying gay people the one thing they want — The right to be married. It’s not about rights, protections, all of that in the end. It’s about that basic recognition, of that station, and of the power behind that word.

    The abolishment angle is equal, yes, but it achieves it only by making everyone equally unhappy. It’s not a good solution.

    There is a simple, and good solution: Allow gay people to be married. And I still say it’s the only good solution.Report

  2. Avatar Bob says:

    I went to the trouble to look up the definition of sanctity, a word you use many many times – sanctity of marriage.

    1: holiness of life and character : godliness
    2: the quality or state of being holy or sacred: sacred objects, obligations, or rights

    Sounds to me like church business.

    Civil law should content itself with civil matters.

    Religious law should content itself with religious matters.Report

  3. Avatar Kyle E. Moore says:

    I’m not saying that gay people wouldn’t be allowed to get married. Under this argument, they would be, because the government doesn’t decide what marriage is.Report

  4. Avatar Kyle E. Moore says:

    Thank you, Bob, that is the crux of the argument. I don’t think it is the government’s place to decide anything is sacred.Report

  5. Avatar Bob says:

    Exactly Kyle, a point you made well with your question to the Catholic forced to abide Protestant government.Report

  6. Avatar Kyle E. Moore says:

    That’s a sticking point, isn’t it? The thing about the Religious Right is that it doesn’t seem to stop to consider that even if Christianity were to become the official ruling religion, which sect of Christianity would dominate?

    And this reminded me of the Catholic and Protestant street fights that occured at the turn of the twentieth century over which version of the Bible should be read in schools. It’s as though no one stops to think that the way they practice Christianity may not be the way other Christians practice it. With the idea of abolishing marriage as a government sanctioned act, in my mind it kills two birds with one stone. It removes the government from what is effectively a religious endeavor (or decidely non religious endeavor), while at the same time granting homosexuals the exact same rights as non homosexuals. As a further bonus, this allows churches to move at their own speed. Some churches have proven to be very progressive in their acceptance of alternative and minority communities, whilst others tend to not be so quick on the uptake. And if you neither want nor need a church to decide you are married, then you are married.

    Funnily enough, being the liberal that I am this strikes me as a very conservative approach to the problem. My little brother doesn’t need a church or the government to tell him he’s married should he find that someone special. Conversely, I’ve known a few heterosexuals who have gotten married not out of love, but solely for financial benefits–how is that a sanct marriage?Report

  7. Avatar Bob says:

    “Funnily enough, being the liberal that I am this strikes me as a very conservative approach to the problem.”

    I don’t want to go deep into the woods with this, but classical conservative thought has little to do with the truly loathsome conservative impostor parading as the Religious Right.Report

  8. Avatar Sean Riley says:

    To me, it remains a problematic solution.

    For the purists, you’ve just destroyed marriage as they want it.
    For those who want progress, you’ve created a half-way point and not the full article. These people have the right to be _married_. Full stop.

    Taking it out of the state’s hands doesn’t go far enough. Churches may block. Yes, some may marry gay people. Many, probably most, won’t.

    Gay people should have the right to be married and the easy means to do so. The best way to ensure this is to let the government continue to give out marriage certificates and give them to anyone who wants one.Report

  9. Avatar Cascadian says:

    I’d just as soon have a civil union. The term marriage has been kind of overdone and gone through the ringer. I’d say, let anyone that still wants one have it. If you can get the same thing under a different name, sign me up. Look at the marriage rates in Quebec. If people are given options, it’s not a sure thing that marriage would be the choice.

    There are segments in the religious right that very much need everyone else to subscribe to their truth, as they see it from the Amen Pew.Report

  10. So, here’s the thing. You are right, and one thinks instantly that a good compromise is a compromise where both sides walk away unhappy, but as I mention in the post, this is fast tracking the whole process.

    I said I believe that gay marriage will be legalized in full, but it won’t happen now. The political climate simply won’t support it–anti-same sex marriage groups are too politically powerful and clever, pro-same sex marriage groups are not, and the general demographics and polls don’t support it.

    This is a fast track solution because while it may not be happy for the Religious Right, it gives them the ability to protect whatever little corner of anti-gay religiosity they cling to.

    You see, part of this argument developed for me when a friend and I were discussing it. I said, yeah, gay marriage will happen, but it will take time. He said, yeah, he understands, but he could also understand that the perspective from a homosexual may be different. He could understand not being happy with waiting, and that stuck with me.

    My prime political occupation is in observing and analyzing the political climate. That’s my passion. And I know that we’re looking at a minimum of fifteen years before the political climate would support legalized gay marriage, probably thirty if you don’t want to risk a significant and dreadful backlash.

    So this is the compromise. You could wait for the political reality to catch up to moral reality, or you could equality within, I would say, the next five to ten years.Report

  11. Avatar Chad says:

    One of the things you have to realize, Kyle, is that the drive for same-sex marriage isn’t an end in and of itself. For the LGBT community, it is the next waypoint on the path to full acceptance. Many who don’t want full acceptance understand this and that is why they are fighting tooth and nail. Both sides know what the next steps would be.

    Let’s say we take your compromise. What happens to Catholic adoption services? Do they now have to accept same-sex couples as potential parents? What about private companies, like wedding photographers? Is it now discrimination if they refuse to cater to same-sex couples? The LGBT movement sees themselves as being analogous to the civil rights movement, so you can bet their answers to this will be yes. Even getting your compromise would be enough to shift momentum – legally, at least – into their favor and get things rolling to the places they really want to go.

    A caveat that as you mentioned about the abortion debate, these are the (somewhat) extreme ends of both sides fighting. When I talk about the LGBT movement, I do not mean all homosexuals nor do I mean all Christians when I speak of their opponents.Report

  12. Avatar Cascadian says:

    Chad: Can you have an adoption agency that won’t provide service to Catholics?

    Compromise can be a good thing. Without it you may find the tide turns faster against you. There may come a time when the religious are more vulnerable. They may wish to tap into good will that is currently evaporating.Report

  13. Avatar Michael says:

    I agree with you Kyle on the concept of compromise on the LGBT Marriage Issue. There are too many Lgbt’s who cannot, and should not, have to “wait” to live as any other American. I came up with the concept of Lgbt’s being “Civilly-Wed” (www.civillywedd.com) in the year 2000 after losing my former partner and everything that we lived and worked for, without legal protection. The future is now and the younger generations are salient to secure LGBT Marriage without a doubt.Report

  14. Avatar Chad says:

    “Chad: Can you have an adoption agency that won’t provide service to Catholics? ”

    No, you cannot. My point is that the desire of the LGBT community is to be accorded the same rights and protections as a Catholic would have. It doesn’t end with marriage or civil unions. I’m not arguing for one side or the other, I’m pointing out that this isn’t actually a compromise because its actually a battle in a war, not a end in of itself. The arguments you hear about “the sanctity of marriage” is all so much rhetorical parrying to keep from losing this pivotal battle. The overarching goal of the anti-same-sex marriage/civil union side is to keep homosexuality from becoming a fully acceptable way of being in society.Report

  15. Avatar John D says:

    Actually, you can have an adoption agency that won’t provide services to Catholics. These do exist. Of course, they don’t act as state adoption providers.

    Let’s say that a Pastafarian has to give her child up for adoption, but wants her baby raised in a Pastafarian home. She can contact a Pastafarian adoption agency. Unlike Catholic Charities, it won’t be acting as a subcontractor for the state, so it can turn away those who don’t believe in the Flying Spaghetti Monster. Of if they’re a pirate.

    More seriously, we need to get clergy out of the marriage business. We let them fill out some government forms and now they think they own the place. Marriage sanctified? Tell that to a couple of atheists who had a legal marriage by a justice of the peace.

    Marriage is a legal contract that makes family ties. We have a whole body of law set up to solve family problems (hint, it’s called “family law”). Someone said to me recently that the Goodridges are probably sorry they got married. I’m sorry they’re divorcing, but the divorce laws will probably allow them an easier separation than if the law treated them as roommates (as it did when they sued the Commonwealth of Massachusetts).

    I worry that one day I’m going to read that some local clergy is blessing new drivers because then I’m going to have to worry about when they come after my drivers license.

    Marriage is a legal construct. Clergy bless the marriage, but when they sign the license, they are acting as an agent of the state.

    Let’s get the clergy out of the marriage business. That strikes me as a possibly helpful step to resolving the wars over marriage.Report

  16. Avatar hcat says:

    Sir, In 1985 there was no movement to ban homosexual marriage because no one in all human history up to that time had ever suggested such a thing! The asininity of people coming along now and saying all human cultures and religions have been wrong for 50,000 years (and we Christians did not invent the idea that marriage is between a man and a woman, so don’t go blaming us for it); that arrogance is ultimately a far greater sin than sodomy as such.

    That said, I oppose your solution with a lot less vigor than I oppose legal same sex marriage. I’m a good Calvinist Protestant, but one thing the Catholics were more right about than the Protestants was taking a stand on canon law about divorce and remarriage rather than simply ratifying state divorce and remarriage automatically. If marriage is disestablished, the Protestant classical Church will have to face the question of canon law regarding marriage and divorce as well as the sex of two people getting married. So one cheer.Report

  17. Avatar John D says:

    Heat is mistaken. The story of same-sex marriage in America goes back to 1970. No fooling. That’s when Richard Baker and James McConnell tried to get a marriage license. We’re coming up on the fortieth anniversary. By 1985, there were bans on same-sex marriage in several states and the attempt to gain marriage equality went on the back burner for a while.

    As for whether marriage has always been a man and a woman (or even a man and some women), that’s not right either. There are several societies with traditions of same-sex marriages. And there have been people who have done it on the sly (in the court of Louis XIV, his brother lead a group of aristocratic gay men who had clandestine extra-legal male marriage ceremonies where they repudiated their wives as false relationships).

    I was reading recently about some writings from the early Roman empire that seem to indicate that men were joined as married partners in some sort of ceremony.

    So, same-sex marriage might be a bit older (about 40 years? much older?) than you think.

    My proposal wasn’t to prevent clergy from blessing marriages. That’s a religious freedom issue and not mine to touch. It was to separate religion and state and no longer have clergy filling out government documents. Leave the spiritual side to them.

    A legal marriage license is a government document. They file them in government buildings not churches. When you get a marriage license, you could get married on the spot. No clergy required for a legal marriage in the United States.

    My idea was to take a page out of the Massachusetts Bay Colony and say that only government officials could sign a marriage license. Everyone has to go to the town or county offices already. They just wouldn’t be getting clergy to sign that document.

    For the record, I belong to a religious group that supports same-sex marriage. The religious liberties of my denomination are being denied.Report