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Sunday, November 27, 2011

The second draft

 Mirage of Marriage
There is no reason why Gays, or Lesbians should not be able to marry. It is a basic civil liberty that we as a people have the right to pursue happiness. It is guaranteed in the Constitution. Civil Unions are the alternative poised by the opposition, which falls under the principles of separate but equal. We know how that turned out. Separate is never equal. You may object to the premise behind a man expressing love for another man, but outside of religious text, give me one good reason that they can not share the bonds of matrimony? "And if that is right, it is problematic treating like cases differently, “separate but equal,”discrimination for the law to recognize homosexual and infertile heterosexual couples differently, even if, as under a civil union regime, the difference is only of name" (Steorts 2011) People clamor about the sanctity of marriage when there are more divorces in our country then ever before. The Kardashians made a mockery of marriage by televising a multimillion ceremony that ended hours after the last check was cashed.

In 2004, President George W. Bush said: "If courts create their own arbitrary definition of marriage as a mere legal contract and cut marriage off from its cultural, religious, and natural roots, then the meaning of marriage is lost and the institution is weakened." He offered no support for the cultural history of marriage and obviously failed to review that portion of history. The natural roots of marriage are in fact a legal contract to provide clear succession of title and wealth for the spouse and any children that could have come from the union. "Marriage reform, and the discussions that it provoked, raised questions not simply about love and personal happiness, but also matters of prime importance to the State: issues about the nature of equality and individual liberty; the role of the State or Church (and their institutions of administration, judicature and governance) in personal comportment and affiliation; the nature of the household and of property transfer; duties of individuals to each other; citizenship rights; population increase; the meaning of care and obedience." (Achinstein 2010) Achinstien goes on further to break down the legal and contractual issues of marriage in her paper.  While the 1600's might not be a huge account throughout history, it shows a precedence that is a mere four hundred years old.

In addition the reference to the sanctity of marriage brings up yet another point of the contract issues of marriage. Sanctity by definition is a holy word, it has religious connotation rather then a legal ramification. "I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should 'make no law respecting an establishment of religion, prohibiting the free exercise thereof,' thus building a wall of separation between church and State." (Thomas Jefferson) If a founding father felt that the intrusion of of the church in affairs of the business of government was of such great importance, I am sure there was a damn good reason. So let us get to the real issue here, as to how a another couple getting married reflects on our own views of marriage, or what does the married couple get out of it. There are of course tax breaks, immigration issues, and without citing the variety of issues that come with those fiscal benefits, tell me how a homosexual couple would violate those privileges any different then a heterosexual couple would?

The modern perception of marriage is not based on these fiscal or parental needs anymore. When you think marriage you think love, not coitus resulting in the production of offspring. It is not permissible to divorce your spouse on the simple basis that they failed to provide you with children. I am sure you can use that as a basis of an argument, and even in that it is easier to get divorced then it is to get married in our country. Divorce laws support something as simple as irreconcilable differences can result in the termination on the marriage contract. Yet to get married you have to submit to the license acquisition process, pay several fees, and many times receive consoling from a member of the church you wish to be married in. You have to get married by an official invested with the legal power to oversee the ceremonial union. In some states you merely need to share cohabitation with an eligible person for a set period of time to be presented as a married couple though. With such paradoxical restrictions on the terms of what is legally marriage though, I find it hard to defend the idea of the sanctity of marriage being protected for any other reason then enforced religious discrimination.

Modern marriage has an affiliation of a more emotional regard. The accepted norm is that two people fall in love, if that love last they celebrate it with a union. That union is refereed to legally as marriage. Part of the magic of love is that you do not get to pick with whom you fall in love with, and that is not a quantifiable aspect that government has the right to judge or rate. It is an emotional counterbalance that needs to be separated from the state as the church, and for the same reasons. Logic and civil expectations are not welcome in the emotional acceptation of religious ideology. To do so opens more doors to disrupt the civil liberties of others that do not happen to agree with the religious views of those in power. I cite Afghanistan or Iran as a prime examples of the dangers of a theocracy. It is an understanding of the definition of marriage that we have to tread carefully in order to support our rights and freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution. In that assumption of the freedom of religion also implies the freedom from religion. Laws should enforce the social morality without regard to the emotional affairs of the citizenry of the country. In essence laws should not impede upon happiness, but rather protect the pursuit thereof.

In establishing this as a civil right one might argue that being homosexual is a choice, and therefore does not warrant the protections under law of racial views or cultural behavior. A person does not choose to be black, or white, they are simply born that way. Some might say that you have a choice in sexual preference, while the jury is out on that, it would be moot to use that as a basis of argument. Choice is the essence of freedom, and choosing to be or not to be something does not alter the validity of that behavior or need to be affiliated with a set group. If so then persons of any religious perspective could be questioned on their right to practice their faith based on it being a choice. However we have laws established to protect homosexuals from hate crimes, and those of all religious views. To me that establishes a precedence that regardless if it is a choice or not, it is still subject of discrimination. So either being homosexual is a civil liberty regardless of it being a choice, or religious views are not a protected civil right because they are a choice as well.

Many years ago it was taboo to marry across racial boundaries. In the sixties it was frowned upon for a black person to marry a white person. The same issues of bigotry where used to support the defense of marriage. While many arguments were presented about the disregard of the cultural beliefs and history of marriage, laws were in enacted to preserve and protect the right of mixed race couples to marry. No church or social group was allowed to force their beliefs on another for such simple racist or bigoted beliefs. It in no way harmed the value of the marriage of those preaching about racial purity. On that basis what reflection would two women being married reflect any different on the marriage of a heterosexual couple? We have to ask ourselves did that Black man, who married his White lover really harm our own relationships or concept of marriage? Or perhaps we are just no ready to accept the happiness of others when we ourselves struggle to be happy, and have trouble living up to outdated concepts of social constraints?
So as a straight traditionally married man, I offer this as something to ponder. If you allow others to be tread upon, how long before your own ideology is tread upon. What makes this country great is its ability to adjust and adapt to do what is right for all. Doing the right thing does not always mean doing the right thing for you, it means doing the right thing. In order to enjoy your freedom, you must respect the freedoms of all people. You must defend them as you would defend your own, or you will find yourself reflecting on the work of Martin Niemöller, "First they came for.." and standing alone with no one else to help protect your rights as well.

Works Cited
Steorts, Jason Lee "Two Views of Marriage" National Review; 2/7/2011, Vol. 63 Issue 2, p39-42, 4p .Academic Search Premier. Web. 25 Nov. 2011.
Achinstein, Sharon. "Saints Or Citizens? Ideas Of Marriage In Seventeenth-Century English Republicanism."Seventeenth Century" 25.2 (2010): 240-264.Academic Search Premier. Web. 23 Nov. 2011.

1 comment:

  1. So this is the next draft, and the one I intend to turn in as my rough draft for this final paper for my English course. So feel free to pick it apart and offer some peer review. I think I addressed all the of the other issues people presented.