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Sunday, March 20, 2005

Gay marriage

First, I would like to open this by saying a bit about myself. I'm a straight male, and I'm very comfortable with that fact. As long as an activity is occurring between/among consenting, non-related adults in the privacy of their own bedrooms, in some seedy motel room, or other private venue, I feel that's their business. That being said, I don't understand why Christian conservatives are so adamant about claiming that gay marriage is an assault on the institution of marriage. To me, that displays a truly mind-boggling level of self-involvement and poor reasoning.

Let's look at that argument from two different angles. First, I honestly don't see how people who would in no way be inclined to marry someone of the opposite gender could possibly threaten traditional marriage. How could they threaten something in which they would never engage? Second, aren't there greater threats to traditional marriage than a very small segment of the populace? Wake up and smell the divorce rate. Take a good look at the Montel show, Dr. Phil, or any of dozens of other television shock jocks. While what they show are extremes, but they are a good window on the whole. How many people do you know who are single parents, or have been divorced, or engage in marital infidelity? Look at how many people fall into one or more of those categories, compare that to the number of gay people, and tell me which is the more credible threat to traditional marriage.

So, of course, I'm opposed to a national constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage, but not for the reason you may think. In the last 227 years, the U.S. Constitution has only been amended 27 times, the first 10 times (the Bill of Rights) being so that the rest of the Constitution could pass. With the exception of the 27th Amendment which simply bans any pay increases for Congress from taking effect until the next session of Congress, these amendments have been over weighty issues. In the modern era, the amendments have had a 7 year time limit for ratification. The only ones that have passed since then are the 26th Amendment (18 year olds voting) and the 27th Amendment, which was proposed at the time the Bill of Rights was proposed and was not subject to that time restriction, though that did have to take a trip through the courts to verify that. The Constitution dictates that any power not expressly given to the federal government be devolved to the state or local governments, or to the people themselves. Since it is, with extremely rare exceptions, the states and municipalities that handle marriages, this is most properly their bailiwick, and the decisions on that matter be left to the several states. The states will figure out what's right for themselves, and in my opinion, no state should be forced to recognize a union that takes place in another state.

As for me, I think gay couples should be privy to the same benefits and responsibilities as straight couples. They want to get married? Fine. That's another group for divorce attorneys to have as their clientele. They want to adopt children? As long as it's a loving, safe environment, a child that's adopted is going to have a better life than one who is stuck in foster care or orphanages. And I certainly feel that a person should be able to name whomever they wish as their beneficiary/spousal equivalent for life insurance, medical insurance, Social Security, etc. If a person cares that deeply for another person, then they should be able to name who is the beneficiary if something were to happen to them. I'd even go so far as to say that, for example, a widowed parent be able to name one of their children as a spousal equivalent to make medical and other decisions for them should that parent be afflicted with Alzheimer's or another degenerative disease, and so that that grown child can place that disabled parent on their workplace's medical insurance plan.

Well, that's all I have to say on that topic, for now.

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