I’m sick of it. I’m absolutely fed up. This asinine argument has gone on far too long and I’m just done. Forget full faith & credit. Forget ‘the cornerstone of our society.’ Forget denying rights to Queers and definitely forget what it’s going to do to the children. So much bullshit has been foisted on the world in the name of defending the children that I sometimes wonder if we’re better off eating the children than making them into adults.
I’m always inclined to think that, once an issue becomes truly intractable, as gay marriage or right to wed, depending on which spin you follow, has, then you’ve reached the point at which people have stopped examining the issue and started rooting for a team. That’s usually when it’s good to start looking at other approaches, no matter how ludicrous they might at first seem. So here’s my suggestion for this obstinate issue.
Let’s do away with marriage altogether.
I imagine most people seize up in the gut at that statement, so let me clarify. I’m not suggesting that people shouldn’t love one another and go through life as a unit if they choose to do so. I’m not saying that people shouldn’t have weddings or wear rings or call each other husband and wife or husband and husband or wife and wife or spouse and spouse or whatever they want to call each other. I’m not saying people shouldn’t form family units. In fact, I am advocating no fundamental change in how our society operates. What I am saying is, take the government out of the equation.
Most of the legal ramifications regarding marriage have to do with tax law, property dispensation, insurance rights and decision making in catastrophic situations. Virtually all of these have reasonable, and often simpler, analogs through contract, medical or business law. In a legal sense, that’s all a marriage is, a business arrangement, a sharing of property, responsibility and decision making authority. Let’s treat it like what it is.
In fact, I can think of a number of benefits to such an arrangement.
* Those under 18 can’t enter into legal agreements so state to state disparities regarding the legal age of marriage become irrelevant.
* Arranged marriage, as it is practiced by some groups, would become illegal as a form of coersion.
* Financial arrangements between married couples would have a new range of flexibility and prenuptial agreements would become nearly mandatory, perhaps cutting down on much of the bad blood that comes from divorce related haggling.
* Fraud and tax evasion through spousal property laws would be eliminated.
* Spousal privilege, the inability of the state to compel a person to incriminate their spouse in court, would be eliminated. (One can argue whether this is in fact a benefit but I’m going on the assumption that more transparency in justice is a good thing.)
* The automatic medical authority given to spouses would have to be replaced by an explicit chain of authority as defined by the patient, probably in the form of a declaration made to a doctor or codified on insurance policies. This could sidestep the possibility of legal quagmires like the Schivo case.
These are all practical benefits of getting the government out of our married lives. This issue goes far beyond the practical. This is largely a gut argument and the argument is primarily over the word “marriage.” Opponents of the right to wed consistently say, as I believe Karl did in a previous comment, that they are not opposed to homosexual couples living whatever lifestyle they choose nor are they opposed to those couples receiving the same legal benefits and privileges granted to heterosexual couples. They just don’t want to call it “marriage.” Fine, let’s not call any of it marriage, not on any legal document, anyway.
The government does not get to decide who our friends are. The government does not get to decide how we run our families. The government does not get to define love. The sanctity of two people’s love is not dependant on a license. If we’re going to argue like this over the word, let’s take the word out of it and let each family define it as they see fit.