Rants and Raves

Opinion, commentary, reviews of books, movies, cultural trends, and raising kids in this day and age.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Gay Marriage - the biggest non-issue today

I see that the California appeals court has upheld a ban on gay marriage and the sky is falling.

On this issue I'm tempted to echo the comedian who remarked, "And this affects me, how?"

Proponents of gay marriage say that all our liberties are trampled on by denying this right (which has never been recognized as a right by any country that I know of, but never mind). Opponents say that they are trying to destroy civilization. Cynics say, let them be miserable like everybody else.

I say, "Permission to divide the question."

The chair recognizes the Honorable Blogger.

Honorable members of the tin-foil-hat parliament. Marriage, as recognized by society and the law, is two things, sacred and profane. On the one hand, it is a sacrament of the church under which two parties swear an oath before God to live together and observe certain obligations towards each other. Including obligations which are not part of the law and cannot be enforced as such. Such as to love, honor and cherish.

On the other hand marriage is a legal contract which confers certain rights to act on another's behalf, make decisions for another in extremis, and entails obligations of support.

Is there anything gender-specific about the second? I'm actually not sure. How is it different, for example, from a legal adoption?

Don't we have something called "separation of church and state" that the Left is always harping on in this country? The way a priest explained it to me, is that every priest/ minister who performs marriages is basically employed as a clerk of the state he lives in, and is empowered to register marriages, for which he gets a quarter or something. I.e. he wears two hats, sacred and secular.

Legal companionate contracts are now legal in a few states, so what's the problem? You want to get married in church? So find one that will do it. You can't? So start your own, it's the American way! (Or at least the California way.)

You want to be recognized by society as a married couple? Sorry guys and gals, that's out of our control. Maybe it'll happen and maybe it won't. I don't personally have a problem with it, but how seriously I'm going to take it depends on how seriously you take your obligations and responsibilities. Is this something you really want or is this just in-your-face-notice-me-dammit! attitude?


  • At 11:57 AM, Blogger tcobb said…

    The whole thing is stupid, especially from a tactical viewpoint. Personally I don't have anything against gays and I wouldn't mind having some sort of legal mechanism for giving them the same rights and legal privileges that a husband and wife have under the law. But why in Hell do they insist upon calling it marriage? The term "marriage" does have a traditional and well understood meaning. Insisting that the word should encompass something which it was never ever did just alienates people who might otherwise be allies or otherwise neutral on the subject.

    I do not like the Orwellian tactic of insisting that a word which has certain good or bad emotional connations should be distorted to express concepts which it never traditionaly had. Its kind of like a professor I had once that insisted that the failure of a South American government to educate its citizens was "violence." And of course, who could ever be against stomping out "violence?" Failing to provide an education to your citizens is not a good thing, but by no stretch of the imagination does it fit into the category of "violence."

    The whole concept of "gay marriage" is nothing more than a manifestation of the same process, which is contemptible. I don't care if gay couples are afforded the same legal rights that a husband and wife currently have, but just don't call it marriage.

  • At 1:19 PM, Blogger Brian said…

    I’m not certain a religion can perform marriages without state approval. When I was married in the autumn of 2000, the Anglican priestess who officiated the religious ceremony was quite insistent that we secure the legal licenses beforehand. Not only did her signature finalize the deal, but as I understand it, she would have faced severe legal punishment for performing the religious ceremony if we hadn’t had the government documents in hand. In short, our church required written permission from the secular government before they could perform the rites of matrimony.

    The separation liberals love to harp on is an illusion. It’s more like that old Reese’s peanut butter cups commercial: yes, there’s some of my church in their state, but they also got their state in my church. I’m tempted to believe that this is a more dangerous state of affairs for my church than it is for my state.

    - Brian

  • At 3:18 PM, Blogger Mollie said…

    The part you miss when describing 'marriage' includes - for most people, parents or not - CHILDREN. And "Children" implies an interest in the future, as well as the past.

    Insisting that gay couples are as interested in 'Children' as are men and women is just not true. In fact, heterosexual couples are like homosexual couples: great markets for expensive toys (art stuff, etc) to dress up your apartment and impress your childless friends.

    Anyway, "marriage" means "Children" and therefore "heterosexual couples".

    This period of childlessness is a temporary glitch in our world. The future lies with "the children."

    All Andrew Sullivan wants is for the Pope to say what he does in the bedroom with his boyfriend is OK, he's just as OK as a heterosexual person. The Pope, being a Christian, is not going to do that, ever. Andrew Sullivan's selfishness has made him into a fool.

  • At 3:20 PM, Blogger Mollie said…

    sorry, I meant heterosexual "Childless" couples are like homosexual couples - interested in the here and now and all the toys thereto.

    (Once upon a time, I owned a gift shop, and I know whereof I speak.)

  • At 3:46 PM, Blogger Bill said…

    Well since I'm a liberal I guess it's not a surprise I think gay marriage should be legal. However, I'm more inclined to agree with Brian on the association of church and state in the issuance of marriage licenses. As far as the OP goes. What are marriage licenses for in the state, if not for granting privileges of relationship and family? When a person decides to call someone else part of their family, then with it should come the privileges the government grants to such people. The Federal Marriage Amendment proposal did not simply define marriage as between a man and a woman, it denied the ability to create same-sex unions with equal legal rights. While to most people I don't think it is an issue to gay people it understably is an issue. But, gay people will always remain a small minority, but a minority presence nonetheless. So they will never have the political power to bring about change themselves. Activism and education are the only methods they have to use. Also in relation to your previous post about living in Saudi Arabia. Was there a gay community there? I would presume it is a very silent community if indeed there is one.

  • At 10:46 AM, Blogger Steve Browne said…


    There were gay expat teachers in the Kingdom, and they tended to pair with gay Filipinos. Haven't the foggiest reason why, unless maybe the Phillippines is so inhospitable to gays that they prefer to live and work somewhere else.

    As for the Saudis themselves, there were lots of rumors which I just can't vouch for. We had so little contact with the private lives of Saudis that virtually everything we thought we knew was sheer speculation.

    A big taboo among expats was against any gays pairing with Saudis.

  • At 3:10 PM, Blogger Exador said…


    I've been married for 11 years to a wonderful woman. As I recall, my church ceremony vows said a lot about "binding this man to this woman". I don't recall children being mentioned. You may define marriage as being synonymous with children, but I do not.

    While I think that marriage is essential for child-rearing, it's false logic to reverse it, and say that child-rearing is essential for marriage. That's like saying that love is blind and Ray Charles is blind; therefore, Ray Charles is love.
    Narrow minded idiots give convervatism a bad name.

  • At 12:15 AM, Blogger georgesdelatour said…

    Hi from London.

    We now have something called "civil partnerships" for gays in the UK. They give gays all the same legal rights as married heterosexuals, but the word "marriage" is avoided so as not to upset the religious. It seems to be working out okay so far.

    I've yet to hear of a "gay divorce" under the new legislation. No doubt that will come.

  • At 4:10 PM, Blogger John A said…

    Marriage is a religious term, but used for centuries by various States whose law-makers could/would imagine no other status. The State's involvement came from a brilliant bureaucrat of the Roman Republic (long before the Empire). Marriages had long been a part of society, conducted by various religions/sects. But without State recording/recognition, persons who died without a will (the majority, then as now - it costs money) left their estates open to frivilous lawsuits, which had become so numerous as to clog the courts. The unsung bueaucrat proposed that marriages be recorded by the State for a modest fee (far less than making a will), and if a person died intestate but with a recorded marriage, the State would undertake to distribute the estate according to formal rules/laws. Those allowed to record the marriages would themselves be licensed and overseen to cut down on fraud. It worked pretty well.

    Since then, the State has expanded what it will do and the privileges it will allow those who hold its license. But it is not actually a license to marry, it is a license recognizing a formal relationship (analogy - adoption papers).

    = = = =
    Brian said...
    "I’m not certain a religion can perform marriages without state approval."
    Yes, they can - but the State will not extend the privileges accorded those who have a State license. In my State, for instance, the only non-government persons who can sign the license are leaders of some six religions. A Shinto priest can perform a Shinto marriage, but cannot sign the State license: if the things available to licensed persons (eg, potential access to a hospital ICU) are desired, a Judge or the Clerk of Courts must sign.


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