So, it’s Valentine’s Day, a celebration of love, romance and all those “feelings” we as Americans seem to suck at. America loves its huge gestures, hell in the last ten years we have had at least two shows about grand ways to ask someone to marry you, or to ask someone to prom. Let’s put on a production in a public venue, involving thirty some odd people, to ask a question that you are absolutely going to feel massive amounts of pressure to say yes to after a five-minute song and dance routine and sixty people (including your family) watching. It’s no surprise that love stories involving huge sinking ships or meeting at the top of the Empire State Building are our favorites. Well since we love grand gestures so much, I’m going to gift to you all my opinion on the grandest gesture of love: Marriage. Specifically, the subject of same-sex marriage.
Let me start right off by saying there are two separate issues here, but it seems that our lobbyist and politicians can’t seem to separate the two. There is legal marriage and there is religious marriage and yes Virginia there is a Santa Clause, errr I mean they are separate issues. Last I knew, despite our President’s comments at the National Prayer Breakfast last week, we try to have a separation of Church and State in our country. If we can wrap our Idiot minds around that, let’s discuss legal marriage first.
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” Thomas Jefferson used this iconic phrase to help explain to Britain why we needed to break up and it has been used in almost every anti-discrimination argument since then, with very good reason. We have expanded the meaning of “men” in that sentence to legally include all US citizens and that they should all be afforded that same rights under the law. Marriage in legal terms is a contract that, in it’s basic form, binds two adults into one entity under the law. You count as one household for taxes, loans, insurance, paying for your kid’s sports banquets, etc. Depending on local laws you must go to the courthouse or city hall to get a marriage license, you need to have witness signatures on your marriage document, and you need to have someone officiate. It’s the last bit that starts to muddy the waters a bit. In most places in the US a marriage can be officiated by a Judge, Justice of the Peace (a legal position that doesn’t have all the powers of a Judge but can perform some legal actions, like a marriage), a Captain at Sea, or an Ordained Officer of a Church. The clergy position is of course the one used in every sitcom when a friend goes online and gets ordained for $24.99 just so they can officiate a wedding. To me what this boils down to is this, marriage is a legal contract, we aren’t supposed to discriminate between consenting adults based on race, gender, disability, or SEXUAL PREFERANCE, why the hell is this still an issue? Every single consenting adult of legal age should be allowed to get a legal marriage and suffer just as much as I do! (Shhhh, my wife doesn’t read this blog so I’m safe.)
On to religious marriage. This is actually a lot less murky then legal marriage. Though a lot of marriage ceremonies are similar, each religion has its own requirements and processes to go though to have a ceremony and have the blessings of their respective deity conferred. These stipulations are set by the organization’s governing body, H.M.F.I.C. (Head Mother-Fracker In Charge), or whomever runs a website that will ordain you for $24.99. (A running gag, I’m on a ROLL today!) What all these institutions have in common is that the Federal, State, and Local governments CAN NOT tell them how to marry someone, or who they can or can not let marry. As long as an organization’s practices do not cause harm to people or break any public decency laws (No public nudity in a non-nudity area, no underage marriages, no ritual sacrifices, that kind of thing) our governments are required on a Constitutional level (Number 1! Number 1!) to keep their collective noses out of it. Summary? Each religion needs to make up its separate minds about whether to perform a same-sex ceremony or not, and the government needs to keep out of it. And do not drone on about the sanctification of marriage. According to the American Psychological Association, 40 to 50 percent of first marriages end in divorce, is marriage in this country was held on such a high pedestal, idiots would be making more thought out decisions. I should know, I’m on my second marriage and I make no qualms about being an idiot.
So, let’s bring what I am saying together here. Legal marriage should be available for all consenting adults of legal age. This makes sense under that whole “Equal in the eyes of the law” thing we love to talk about. There should be no legal reason why Adam and Steve, or Andrea and Eve can’t go done to the Courthouse with a few friends, sign some paperwork, pay the licensing fees (Government has got to get paid Yo!), and have the Judge marry them. The local church however has to make its own decision on if it would be willing to perform the ceremony, and the Government can’t influence that choice. Yes, this does mean that two very religious individuals might be legally married but still living in sin in the eyes of whatever powers they worship, but that would have to be a choice made up by each individual.
Alright so now we have the issue of “my religion does not allow me to do part of my job like issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples” or “my religious views do not let me make a cake for a same-sex wedding.” Again, two separate issues. The first is dealing with a government office. If you have a job upholding the laws of your city, county, state, or federal government you are signing up to put the law over your personal opinion. If you agree to do a job and for whatever reason can’t do part of it, you should make arrangements to see that the law is fulfilled or step down. Government positions, like the government itself, have to be impartial to personal feeling so that everyone is treated equally under the law. Now private businesses are different. A private business can refuse service to anyone for any reason. It’s their right. Now their reason might be a crappy one, maybe even discriminatory, in which case let’s use word of mouth to run that business down. We live in an age where any Idiot can rant on the internet, (Hi, there!) so spread the word that you where refused for whatever reason, if enough people agree with you that it was a crappy move on the businesses part, they lose money for their choice.
We all like to say we are decent human beings, so my question to you is simple: When it comes to the differences that really mean nothing (Race, Gender, Choice of Sexual Partners, Whether you’re a Ginger), are we really decent human beings? Or is it just lip service? I don’t know, I’m just an Idiot.