2004.02.12

Marriage and Civil Union

It seems like all I’m hearing lately is that the Massachusetts Supreme Court has said that homosexuals have as much a right to marry as anyone else. It is food for thought that in a country that espouses Equal Rights, which we still do not have under the Constitution, we would openly shut down a minority instead of trying to integrate them. It is not as if the homosexual population of America are not Citizens, pay taxes, vote, and contribute to society in culture, science, economy and politics.

What is the problem? The problem is that marriage is defined in two ways. One is the secular legal definition and the other is the religious definition. While they are similar, they are not the same. Legally it is a union of a man and woman in which certain rights are conferred to the couple from the perspective of the Civic Authority (the state or government). By religious standards, it is the union of a man and a woman that is blessed by God and is representative of the connection between God and his people.

The two definitions overlap, it is true, but one is dynamic, changing with times to adapt to the culture it represents. As culture changes so, too, does its laws. The religious definition is static. There is no reinterpretation of the Bible or the many other religious books. It will remain the same as long as the religion exists. The problem is that the word “marriage” is used generically for both definitions by most everyone. The difficulty is that no one wants to give up the generic use of the term for both definitions. The irony is that everyone is convinced legislation will fix the problem. It will, but not the legislation that is being attempted.

Currently there is an attempt to add an Amendment to the Massachusetts State Constitution which would define marriage as the union of a man and a woman exclusively. Many other states are attempting to preempt the situation Massachusetts is dealing with by passing similar amendments before they are faced with the same difficulties. Some are also considering wording to say that Civil Unions will be honored equally as the current usage of Marriage. President Bush has said he would also consider starting a Constitutional Amendment process to this effect protecting marriage.

This wordage is rightly considered a legitimization of inequality. Straight people can be married, but gay people can only have civil unions. The solution is quite simple: to make marriage a subset of civil union and that civil unions can be between a man and a woman, a man and a man, or a woman and a woman. Further define it to include monogamy (though eventually this might be challenged, even: Utah) and give it a certain age (you must be 18). Finally, and only because people are stupid, make it crystal clear that marriage is a religious definition, but that it is NOT illegal to use it in the generic sense. The exact wording I couldn’t tell you; this is for the legislators to detirmine. However, this would allow anyone who wished to be joined from the eyes of the state.

And now, completely seperately from everything I’ve just written, here (if the link continues to work) is an article discussing homosexuality in the animal kingdom. I can hear the Creationists moaning in their sleep at the blasphemy.

3 Comments Categorized: political  rights  thoughts

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3 Responses to “Marriage and Civil Union”

  1. Sean says  (January 1st, 1970 at 08:00:00 )

    Pretty much, yeah. That would just about set things straight, er, I mean right.

    The link to the NY times is great, BTW. Gotta love the gay penguins. No wonder nuns dress like that.

  2. dugh says  (January 1st, 1970 at 08:00:00 )

    here’s another way of saying it
    the basic premise is to only allow civil unions. afterwards if a couple wants they can goto a church and get married. “marriage” is a religious term, not secular, and that’s where the confusion and controversy lie. most churches do not and will not allow marriage between homosexuals and you know what? that’s fine. however, if one particular church -say the unitarians- want to let a gay couple marry in their church then that’s fine, too. it is, from perspective of the state, the civil union that allows for certain rights to be given to a couple, not the religious definition of marriage. by the same token a man and a woman can marry in a church but without the civil union they should not have any special rights or priviledges from the state.

    (excerpt from an email to skooz)

    and yes, you gotta love the gay penguins!

  3. Roy says  (January 1st, 1970 at 08:00:00 )

    Gay Penguin
    That paragraph above says it nicely (and succinctly), I think.