I probably will not win any fans from my more religiously conservative readers with this post, but if you will persevere and hear me out you may be able to formulate a new opinion on this issue. The more I read, and study, and think about these issues the more Libertarian I become.
Let me start at the beginning. When a couple gets married there are usually two things that actually happen, but frequently we only recognize that one thing happened. Harry meets Sally, Harry and Sally fall in love, Harry spends a ridiculous amount of money on Sally a ring, they set a date, find someone to officiate (usually some flavor of preacher), go to the courthouse and get a marriage license…wait, do you see what just happened?
When you get “Married” what most of us think about are white dresses and churches. We are joining together in Holy Matrimony, professing our love in front of God and our families. Why does the Government need involved in that? Because of the second thing that happens after the “I do’s”. Someone pulls out a marriage license and the happy couple and their witnesses and official sign it. Now it is “legal”. I even have a cute little funny picture somewhere of my (ex) wife holding the marriage license while we hug and she winks for the camera behind my back. Sort of a , ‘I got him now’, picture. (I didn't realize it was a catch and release program, but that is another topic)
Our government gives tax breaks and all sorts of goodies to people when they get married. After thinking about it the reason is obvious: It is part of the social contract with the citizenry for procreating and contributing to the future of society. We give you tax breaks, and ‘married-only’ deals on government loans and all kinds of things because you are assumed to be on the road to making babies. So what happens if Harry and Sally decide never to have kids? I think they should be in breach of contract.
Meanwhile, what does the Deity care if you have a legal document? I believe Jesus said ‘render unto Caesar that which is Caesar's’. I have not yet heard of anyone’s faith not recognizing the marriage vows based on whether it was duly recognized by the State. What does God care? God’s laws are not man’s laws.
So two things happen… Church, and State. Well I thought that the Liberals among us were dead set against Church and State collaborating on anything…
Now really, and this is key, I am for Individual and States rights, and if I say that is what I am for I should be willing to put up or shut up. If Tom and Jerry want to get married it does not hurt me in the least. Really it doesn’t; I don’t have to like it, or agree, or anything, it simply doesn’t harm me at all.
I am not currently married, and I am certainly not gay. But what if I didn’t have any family, would I not want to be able to designate a caregiver, a beneficiary, an executor, etc as whoever I wanted it to be? Isn’t it ridiculous to give tax breaks (even though I am against having an IRS anyway) to people just because they cohabitate no matter what their sexual practices? If you have kids, you and whoever else is raising them should be able after proof of dependency to get whatever tax credit you are eligible for. I half raise a kid that isn’t mine, I spend tons of cash on her and provide her a place to live at least 50% of the time, what makes me less of a parent than if I had married her Mother (yuck) or her (*gag*) Dad (gross double yuck) but I love the little stinker and her Dad needs help raising her so I do. Think Uncle Joey from Full House and you get the picture.
Over half of all marriages end in divorce anyway. Look at all the step parents and single or unwed parents. Think how much simpler it would be if it worked another way. Maybe this way:
You can marry whoever your preacher and congregation will allow, and let God be the judge if it works for Him or not. Neither forcing a congregation or preacher to marry any two people. And really, who would want to force a preacher and congregation to marry them if they were not wanted in the church? Church is not a place you can frequent very easily if you are completely at odds with everyone who attends.
Then, you go to the courthouse and sign a declaration listing emergency contacts, executors, transfer on deaths, caregivers, who gets all your stuff when the relationship splits, whatever. That takes care of all our emergency and end of life needs, no matter what your status with a Church is.
Then if you end up raising kids: yours, theirs, or someone else’s, you get tax breaks and whatever else you have coming. If no kids are involved, why have a special status?
It really is, and should be, Separate.
One last item, no sane person on the “Gay Rights” side is going to argue with the definition of as being between “two people of legal age”. If they do then we just have to write them off as ridiculous. That prevents Triads (which are already legal or ignored many places), bestiality (I think every sane person agrees this is gross), Underage Marriage (which happens already with guardian consent at ages I am not comfortable with), and all other ridiculous notions. If this solution was offered and not acceptable, then that would tell me that the issue was not one of being treated equally, but one of trying to change someone’s religious views and force acceptance of the way you live your life on someone else, which is Statism at its’ absolute worst.
There simply is no other way to give both sides what they want, and what they deserve. Unless we remove emotions and look at things rationally, i.e. Civil Rights vs. Religious Freedom, we will never solve this issue. I am for both Civil Rights, and Religious Freedom. We cannot take away one group’s (or everyone’s) Religious Freedom, in order to guarantee some other group’s civil rights, and we do not have to. The problem with Civil Unions as they have been discussed in the past is that they did not go far enough. Remember there are two things that happen when you have a “wedding”. Let’s keep them separate and make it equal for everyone.
p.s. I cannot finish this post without stating that I am in no way agreeing that the Prop8 Protestors are correct. A constitutionally mandated process was done as per the fervent wish of those seeking to redefine someone else’s religious beliefs, and they lost. That is democracy, isn’t that what the left always wants?