Look, I’m not married. I’ve never been married. I never wanted to be married — okay, maybe when I was five I played house or something, but once I was out of early childhood, I always knew I would never get married.
No, my parents weren’t divorced, married for over 60 years.
In a way, I was a feminist before I even knew there was such a thing. I rejected marriage before I knew I was gay, before I got overtly political, before I finally called myself an atheist. As a feminist, I think marriage is an archaic institution, and contemporary divorce statistics prove my point while those entering both conditions, serially, nonetheless disagree with my analysis.
I look at marriage as a social contract that was designed to control women and insure paternity of children. It’s the 21st Century, let’s just throw the whole thing out. However, mine is clearly a minority view. Despite the cognitive dissonance, marriage doesn’t seem to be going anywhere. Folks just seem to like it (again and again!). I’ve come to tolerate this strange need to get state sanction of relationships. )And unlike some, I don’t feel the need to force my opinion and practice on everyone else.)
In the gay community, the marriage equality movement has been around for quite a while. Lots of gay people would like to get officially married to their beloved, and not just for those rather important legal perks like hospital visitation. It means something to them, just as it does to the serially married heterosexuals. Most gay and lesbian citizens are really more like the Nelsons, the Cleavers or the Huxtables than they are like me. That is the great irony of this whole brouhaha.
So what to do? I think some language adjustments would be helpful. Gays (the lucky ones in progressive states) have been thrown the “civil union” bone as a separate but unequal alternative. In most cases, as I understand it, this takes care of most of the legal ramifications of partnerships in our society. But, in order that some paranoid so-called religious nutcases don’t get their panties in a twist, there have to be two forms available from the state, one for straight couples, one for gays and lesbians. One labeled “marriage certificate” and one labeled “civil union.”
Of course the distinction is ridiculous. Where are those fiscally responsible, small-government conservatives when you need them?
Just have the state — and here I mean government, in every fucking state of the U.S. — provide civil unions for consenting adults, which are easy to get and easy to abolish. It’s a legal and social contract and has nothing to do with anyone’s god or any church dogma.
Frankly, I think it should be available to partnerships of two or more. What’s it to ya? Throughout human history, societies have formed different kinds of affinity groups, and yes, the sacred task of raising children might have been performed by entities other than just the biological mother and father. In fact, I got news for Focus on the Family: the latter system, the “nuclear family,” is NOT the norm, not even close. Somehow, despite this crazy behavior of social elasticity and community building, culture has progressed even to the zenith of producing James Dobson.
With this arrangement, religious groups can then choose to provide an additional imprimatur to the partnerships that fit whatever little corner of humanity they approve of. No one forces them to do anything they don’t want to do. Give these neanderthals the legal exclusions for their cultdoms so they won’t have to employ or give communion to someone that makes them feel icky (or involuntarily and inexplicably horny). Let’s see how that works out for them in the long run. Not well, I suspect. With affirming alternatives, sane people will gravitate away from hate and toward love naturally.