I'm pretty late on this bandwagon, but I'll throw in my two cents into the same-sex marriage foray.

Let me first establish that marriages as a whole are declining in our world. There were some studies done in a Scandianavian country (Sweden, I believe) that showed that the number of heterosexual marriages dropped once same-sex marriages were legalized. (Can anyone provide the link? I remember scanning it on CNN)

This report was criticized because many pointed out that the years of pushing women into the workforce had actually had a greater effect on pushing the marriage rate lower. And if you think about it, any Western industrial country has been going through lower marriage (and as a corollary, the birth rate) since allowing women into the work force.

Furthermore, the Scandinavian countries have one of the "best" welfare systems in the world; the state pretty much can support each citizen with good health care and education (and even unemployment, although the govt does most of the employment). Because of this, it's not too difficult to divorce in these countries and live comfortably. Although the point of this entry is not to explore the lowering marriage phenomenom in the Scandinavian countries, I simply wish to point that there is no empirical evidence that conclusively links the allowing same-sex marriages with lower heterosexual.

Now, let's look at why I think the Christian Right opposes gay marriage while the gays want marriage. You may disagree with my reasons, but my belief of the system will lead to a conclusion (and possible solution).

The Christian Right opposes marriages for one of two reasons:

1.) The Biblical "definition" of marriage defines marriage as a union of a man and woman. This argument boils down to simple semantics. The Christian Right believes the government is subverting the Bible by changing the definition (as Canada did) to something that be along the lines of "a voluntary union between two individuals for life."

2.) Homophobia. This is a cultural issue that I'm not going to get into. Some Christians believe homosexuality is morally reprehensible. I'm not going to delve deeper into this specific topic, since I'm simply focusing on the concept of marriage. Each generation is becoming more accepting of homosexuals, and I think that in time homophobia won't be as predominant in our culture.

From my understanding, the gays want marriage for one of two reasons:

1.) Tax and legal benefits. The United States does grant great tax and legal benefits for couples defined as being "married." Gays want to be able to take advantage of the same benefits that heterosexuals gain. And it makes sense. Why should a union (notice: NOT MARRIAGE) between two couples, whether it be man and woman or man and man or woman and woman, be treated any differently because of the sexes of the people involved? If the union was conceived in love and the two people involved trust and love each other enough, then why should it matter LEGALLY what the sexes are?

If a man wants to make a decision for another man when he is critically ill or be able to make decisions regarding mortages and whatnot when the other is critically ill, is anyone going to object?

2.) They want it so they can proclaim their love for one another. Although it doesn't seem this way with our skyrocketing divorce rate, the union between man and wife was once seen as a way of saying "Hey, I love you, and I want to spend the rest of my life with you." Avoiding the semantics of the Biblical meaning of marriage, are we to deny two people (disregarding the sex of the two people) the ability to take that step to declare their commitment to each other?

Remember it was only until the 1970s or so that interracial marriages were even allowed. In all honesty, I think that the problem here lies in the semantics. The religious right believes that you cannot go against the Bible and call the union of two men "marriage." And maybe they're right. But not "legal" marriage.

The United States was built upon the idea that state and religion should be separated (as taught to you in the first grade). Because of this, I think the religious right should accept the fact that what may be defined as the legal definition of marriage does not suborn the concept of marriage OR the Bible; in the end, it's all semantics.

So what's my solution? I honestly believe the United States government should change the word "marriage" to something else ("a legal union"). Gays should be allowed to join these legal unions (so essentially legally they become the exact same things as heterosexual marriages). They should grant all economic and legal benefits gained from marriage to these legal unions.

At the same time, I think that the gays should respect the Bible and try not to claim what they have is a "marriage." It's semantics ... the Christian Right believes "marriage" is defined by God to be between woman and man ... don't contest that. Accept the government's legal definition of marriage but respect the religious' definition of marriage as well.

So basically this solution walks between the lines: gays get the legal and economic benefits of the legal definition of marriage and can take that step forward by making a life commitment to someone ... and the religious right still are upholding the Biblical definition of marriage.

Posted by roy on March 24, 2004 at 02:00 AM in Ramblings | 4 Comments

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Comment posted on March 25th, 2004 at 12:56 AM
entirely agreed. don\'t forget, our country was founded by christian people with christian beliefs.

PM5K (guest)

Comment posted on March 24th, 2004 at 09:32 PM
I don\'t particularly like your idea because it still undermines the core problem with the entire issue which is equality.....
Comment posted on March 24th, 2004 at 05:33 PM
i have to disagree, and i will offer no rebuttal
Comment posted on March 24th, 2004 at 04:00 PM
i like it :) and totally agree!

they should totally let same-sex couples be \"married\" or just create a differen\'t term for their union and give them the same legal rights, in policies and documents as hetorsexual couples receieve :) but i like how you phrase it all together, it should make everyone happy xD \"should\"

*nod nod*