Gays(homosexuals)- I’m using the word throughout this piece not to be offensive or insensitive but purely because its a shorter word.
But it’s the word marriage that seems to be the biggest contention of this subject. For gays, I suppose, it’s a statement of equality and acceptance. They almost insist that their union be legally called a marriage. As for the hets, mostly of varying religious backgrounds, they are adamant in that marriage refers exclusively to a union between a biological man and woman. So clearly this makes for some difficult decision making for our law makers.
Many have complained that the government doesn’t have any right on what people see as a religious subject. This would be true if it were only a religious issue, but it is also a legal issue. Opinions aside, lets look at a simple illustration for perspective. Two people live together committed to each other, they have worked, saved, cared for each other and spent 20 years of their lives building a life together, doing all those things that couples conceivably do. Then one dies, and all that they have together is now held up by numerous legal red tape because they weren’t married. Not because they didn’t want to be married but because they weren’t allowed to be married. A legal and financial nightmare, compounded by frustration and grief from the loss of someone you love.
Now you may not agree with the gay lifestyle but does the above scenario sound even remotely fair? Rhetorical question because I’m not actually interested in an answer because ultimately there will always be one who will never consider someone else’s view if it is contrary to theirs.
This is not to say that I am for gay marriage because as I stated that is a touchy name, I do however support a gay union. But I know that label will not fly with many gays because it still differentiates their union from a hets marriage. That is where I propose that from a purely legal and governmental stand all marriages that want to benefit from any type of financial or legal gain be renamed to “spousal union”. There will be no differentiating from a legal view whether a couple is gay or het, since that seems to be the direction our country is going in anyway.
A “marriage certificate” however would be issued by religious organizations, similar to a hospitals birth announcement, a church’s baptismal certificate, a temple’s bar mitzvah, etc… It has some legal uses but it’s not the “official” document. The person performing the “marriage” would still have to file the paperwork that is currently required by the individual states, each state has its own guidelines on who has the authority to perform a “marriage”. Again the legal name of marriage would need to be changed to “spousal union” almost as to imply a contract of sorts.
My hope is that by making this issue more of a legal issue rather than a religious issue some type of mutual agreement can be made, that would be widely accepted and understood. Another reason that I would like some closure, is because of the looming threat to religious organizations of having their nonprofit statuses revoked because they refuse to “marry” gays. So if we remove the religious aspect from the equation these institutions hopefully would not be under scrutiny.
Meaning that a church as an example could now refuse to perform a religious ceremony on a couple seeking a legal spousal union. Though the pastor is legally allowed to perform a spousal union he has no obligation to do so. Just as a cop has the authority to give you a ticket he also has the right to excuse you from receiving a citation with a verbal warning. It is within his right to carry out the law as he deems appropriate at that time. Same with a judge, a judge is not beholden to accept a verdict and though it is rare can override a jury’s verdict. And likewise with many other religious ceremonies, eg; bar mitzvah, confirmation, holy communion, bris, just because the rabbi or priest can perform them doesn’t mean he has to. So his refusal is based on his religion not on disregarding the law.
So what is your reason for wanting to get married? I’m sure it’s for love, and with that it is only right that you should get the legal benefits, obviously. And if it’s for love does the name of the legal document really matter? I ask because if you want so desperately to have a “marriage” as a sign of equality of your love and to have the same social acceptance as a het marriage you are deluding yourselves. I’m not trying to be harsh or mean, but religious folk are just as stubborn in their views as y’all are in yours. Unless we can reach some middle ground things will not end nicely for one side or the other, someone will not be equal.
In summation, while marriage is typically a union of a man and a woman it is not always religious in origin. Christians however will never give on marriage and I don’t blame them, it is our religious right. But a “spousal union” could/would be a legal governmental contractual union void of religious overtones or connotations. And a religious couple could still have a religious marriage and sign two documents, a “marriage certificate” that would be on file with the church, temple, etc and a “spousal union license” that would be on state record. Problem solved!