The other day I was reading a film review and a link on the side bar caught my eye. It was a piece supporting gay marriage, or same-sex marriage. I ventured in and read the comments (though I shouldn’t have) and some interesting positions came up as well as the usual “bigot” name calling.
Statements that are italicized were statements made by a poster playing the “middle ground.” (Which wasn’t me, since these comments were made months ago.)
You seem to be extending legitimacy to strawmen used by gay marriage opponents (like that we’re talking about government promotion of homosexuality, or forced participation by ministers/florists/caterers). And once those are brushed aside the anti-equality argument is invariably reduced to a pseudo-logical knot that can no more be walked through or grappled with than a psychotic delusion. There just very literally is no coherent logic at the core of the argument
What if another kind of marriage comes along that becomes popular?
You’ll be free to try to come up with rational defenses for bigotry then, too. It’ll be great!
People are indeed free to believe what they want. However, the government exists in part to extend and protect basic rights for all citizens. That’s not playing favorites. That’s the function of government.
Because there are plenty of marriages in which neither religion nor child-raising are involved at all. There are even marriages that don’t involve sex. The issue is not whether marriage is society’s mechanism for promoting religious belief or producing kids or knocking boots in a sanctified fashion. The issue is whether or not the government should discriminate between groups of people in allowing them to enter into specific legal partnerships with major financial and personal ramifications, especially when no rational basis has been made to date for that discrimination.
Right now, Western society’s primary reason for marriage as an institution is to allow two people who want to spend their lives together the opportunity to do so in an organized, efficient, legal, and widely-recognized fashion, with a truckload of benefits from taxes to health insurance to proud looks in public. If religious groups place additional importance on either the ceremony or the partnership, that’s fine, and they’re welcome to do so within the confines of their faith. Likewise, if two people get hitched because they want to have kids together, that’s fine too, but it’s personal and specific to them.
The government’s job insofar as marriage is concerned is to 1) certify it, 2) keep a record of it, and 3) allocate a variety of other useful functions on its basis. That’s it. Sex, kids, faith, access to the other party’s DVD collection, that’s all personal.
I don’t want a civil partnership. I want to be married. I want all of the social benefits that go along with marriage, and I don’t want a separate-but-equal arrangement, because it isn’t. That just codifies the discrimination and ignores the very real significance that we as a society place on marriage. The kids in big hats do not have dibs on the institution, no matter how much they whine about having to share it.
The whole point of marriage is that it doesn’t matter what my definition is. What matters is society’s definition. That’s what allows me to visit my husband in the hospital, inherit property without tax complications, and make my mom and MIL happy. That’s why it’s a big deal. It’s not about relativism or ignoring existing definitions of words that have enormous meaning to everyone who uses them.
Instead of trying to come up with a parallel institution that still isn’t quite as good, we could just acknowledge that the only category is marriage and anyone who doesn’t like it can either come up with a logical reason why or deal. Which is the direction most civilized societies are rapidly moving in.
It isn’t just a “sense” of belonging and acceptance, it IS belonging and acceptance. It’s saying that my marriage is as good as yours, which in turn means that the federal government and the state have confirmed that my marriage is as good as yours, which means that my husband and I are no different than you in the eyes of the government. There is absolutely nothing arbitrary about it.
there are inevitably those alienated outside the norm.
Yes. And if they can’t come up with a good reason to explain why they feel alienated and also persist in ignoring how other people have been unrightfully alienated, they are bigots.
How do I answer these positions? (Poster II has a lot to think over and to counter.)
Come to think of it, my topic may be best suited for the “Social Justice” forum. My apology.