I see that California passed Proposition 8, joining a growing list of states that have banned gay marriage. I have never understood all the fear and loathing going around about gay marriage. If two gay men or two lesbians want to make that kind of commitment to each other and give it a legal status, more power to them. If they want equal rights and protection under the law or file a joint tax return, that’s fine with me. Gay marriage doesn’t threaten my marriage nor does it take anything away from it. Gays getting married doesn’t affect my marriage at all.
Marriage is essentially a legal status, an almost unenforceable contract between two people.The status of being married has a number of rights and benefits attached to it and granting this legal status to same-sex couples does not diminish these rights and benefits for anyone else. You have to go to a county office to get a marriage license and the person officiating the ceremony, whether clergy or civil authority, must be duly licensed by the state. To dissolve the marriage, you have to go through the courts. Attributes such as religion, children, love, fidelity, etc. are brought into it by the couple, not the law.
Bringing religious beliefs or doctrine into the argument is irrelevant because of the supposed separation of church and state. Saying that marriage is for raising children and promoting family values is also irrelevant. Many, many children are successfully raised with appropriate values by single parents and unwed couples. Virtually any argument by opponents to gay marriage are straw arguments that can be easily and rationally countered.
The neo-puritans are continually wringing their hands about the sanctity of marriage. What sanctifies a marriage anyway? And just how sacred is that venerable institution anyway when at least fifty percent of heterosexual marriages in the U.S. don’t last?
My marriage is technically a legal contract. The document even says “Marriage Contract” at the top. We’ve been “legally” married for nearly 33 years without the blessing of any church. Statistically, the odds have been against our marriage lasting this long but it has survived cultural and religious differences, long separations due to military duties, numerous moves around the world, raising children, and various crises, both major and minor. To us, our marriage is much more than a legal contract but we, not the state or the church, make it work, make it sacred, and sanctified it. No one defined our marriage for us or dictated to us what it should be. We, my wife and I, have defined our marriage, nurtured it, and kept it going. What we have defined for ourselves may not apply to anyone else.