Friday, September 16, 2011

The Great Marriage Debate

As most readers of this blog already know, the NC General Assembly has placed a referendum on the ballot at the upcoming Republican primary election to add a state constitutional amendment to define marriage as being between one man and one woman. This would simply be a stronger position supporting the state law that already says the same thing, and would certainly make it harder to change that law in the future.

This has caused a lot of backlash, most notably with this def shephard blog post that's been making the rounds. It's good reading, even if you disagree with the stance. I have a much different take, however.

To me, this boils down to an argument between those who prefer marriage to be defined as a union between one man and one woman and those who want it defined as a union between any two people.

But why? There are lots of reasons that the LGBT community wants legal marriage status, but the only ones that really matter are the ones that are government influenced (as far as this discussion is concerned, anyway). Things like tax breaks for married couples, insurance issues, etc. Otherwise, it's really just about "recognition." Now, I think the folks who want this change are attacking it from the wrong angle. I'd personally rather see, and would support, changes that take the government out of marriage entirely. No tax breaks for simply being married, no link between insurance and marriage, etc. No laws whatsoever governing "marriage." It would simply be something that churches or other entities can recognize. Why does it need to be anything more?

The ultra-conservatives would say that taking away this government recognized system is further eroding some sort of moral fiber. I say hogwash. People already do what people want to do, and the fact that we have gay couples living together in NC and ready at the instant the law is changed to become married (or those going to other states to do it), is proof of that. Just because the government stops telling people NOT to do something does not mean the government suddenly supports DOING it. It simply means the government doesn't have any interest in it, and in this case, I don't see why the government needs to have that interest.

The last question is fairly simple...for those who believe allowing the LGBT community to marry, why draw the line there? Why is polygamy illegal? What's so special about the number "two"? I don't personally care about polygamy, but it is just another line in the sand...


Street said...

I agree with you 100%. well said. i don't know why this argument doesn't come up more often in public discourse.

yeliaB said...

An interesting and thought-provoking take on this unfortunately divisive subject.

While the removal of things like tax breaks seems like it would be pretty straightforward to implement, I am not so sure this approach would be as clear-cut when it comes to things like determining who gets insurance benefits, who gets to have "next of kin" status when it comes to medical and estate issues, and the like.

I have a hard time understanding how these kinds of situations could be resolved in ways that did *not* include some level of legislation.

Note that I'm not saying I think the government should be involved in all the minutiae of the lives of the citizenry, or that I agree (or, for that matter, disagree) with your point of view. I'm just saying I don't think I have a feel for how this approach would work in practice...

Donnie Barnes said...

Come on, the nuts and bolts are pretty easy. If you get married by some entity, you simply file something somewhere that states who your new heir is. Or write a will and file *that*. As for insurance, it's not as clean but with this push toward government run healthcare, it shouldn't be hard to solve. I mean the bill is already 16,000 pages, what's a few more thousand?

Seriously, I think these details could be worked out a LOT easier than all the time we're wasting having legislators debating these social issues. It's GOT to be.

Mike Wangsmo said...

I used to have really strong opinions on topics like this (folks that have known me can attest to that) but in later years, I've really gotten to the point of not caring a whole lot about what other people do as long as doesn't interfere with people around them. This is yet another example of that same issue. People that are homosexual aren't criminals (except in those states that still have antiquated sodomy laws), just let them have the same legal rights as everyone else. No law is going to force the Catholic church (or any other church) recognize these marriages or unions or whatever you want to call them.

Does having laws that prevent legal status to these conditions that exist already (and aren't illegal) really accomplish anything? Do people really think that if you legalize same sex unions that there will suddenly develop a large population of people that say "hey, its legal to get hitched, lets be gay and try it out"?

These goofy laws are absolutely no different than the old segregation laws that didn't recognize the humanity of blacks. People made the exact same arguments back then that the moral fiber of society would somehow be degraded if legal status was given to blacks. That was pretty dumb too.

My $0.02 worth.

Bob Zinn said...

Well said Donnie. Just another example of gov't where it does not need to be. We (myself included) elected republicans on a platform of less gov't and this is one of the most important things they have? As long as ones actions don't infringe on another's there is no reason to legislate it.