Saturday, August 07, 2010

Same-Sex Marriage

Earlier this week I talked about same-sex marriage, and it seems that the internet is all abuzz about the federal judge in California who declared that Proposition 8 is unconstitutional.

Here we have a Catch 22. Basically, the opponents of same-sex marriage declare that the federal government has no interest in defining marriage and should leave it to the states. But, when a state attempts to define marriage, they run the risk of being sued in federal court. Whereas the proponents of same-sex marriage seem to pursue their claims in the federal courts, and the Congress has no intention of getting involved in this quagmire.

The latest CBS poll that I've found says that most Americans are opposed to same sex marriage, but a plurality thinks that civil unions might the the way to go.

I don't care. I don't believe that same-sex marriage will be the downfall of our civilization. I'm becoming more and more convinced that the state, whether of the local political jurisdiction that we Americans know as states, nor the greater state that is defined as the Federal Government, has any business trying to define interpersonal relationships, except as it involves contractual relationships.

If I enter into a contract with a person, that's not the business of the government. If we fulfill the contract, that's also not the business of the government. If one party claims a default on the contract, that may or may not come to the attention of the government, purely through the civil courts.

It turns out that others are agreeing with me, and making the argument more cogently than I might make it.
Imagine if government had no interest in the definition of marriage. Individuals could commit to each other, head to the local priest or rabbi or shaman — or no one at all — and enter into contractual agreements, call their blissful union whatever they felt it should be called and go about the business of their lives.

I certainly don't believe that gay marriage will trigger societal instability or undermine traditional marriage — we already have that covered — but mostly I believe your private relationships are none of my business. And without any government role in the institution, it wouldn't be the business of the 9th Circuit Court, either.

As the debate stands now, we've got two groups trying to make their case, one through public opinion and one through the Courts. If marriage were not the province of the state, then the state wouldn't care who married who, and we wouldn't be having this debate.

Don't misunderstand. I consider marriage to be the most basic of human contracts, and when I married my wife, I made vows that I intend to keep for all time. I'm certainly not trying to make light of the marital contract. I just don't believe that it's any of the state's business.


Rivrdog said...

Your understanding of the status quo, and the status quo ante, of the institution of marriage brings a conundrum to you and I, PawPaw.

If marriage is to be debased to a level where it essentially means nothing to either the States or the Federal Government, then what becomes of the existing marriages, made in an earlier time, when the institution of marriage DID mean something? Are they to be debased as well, or will there be a "grace period" allowed for us to all die off within?

Legally, if marriage is to be debased thusly, what becomes of all the institutions and custom built upon it?

Finally, if the various churches in the Christian and Jewish sphere of religion fail to defend this cornerstone of their preachments, what becomes of the churches? Note that marriage means essentially NOTHING in the Muslim faith, where the contract may be broken at will by the male, but the female may be killed out of hand for breaking it.

We are getting dangerously closer to the Muslim sense of marriage as meaning nothing in a person's life.

Is THAT good or bad?

I believe that we're tempted to stand back and do nothing to save the institution of marriage from this ruling that defines it to DEATH because we have gotten a belly full of the Western Civ haters who want to kill off the traditional view of marriage, but we have seen what they do to those who oppose them, so we just turn away from the fight. We are moral cowards, shirking from this fight.

Marriages were originally "blessed" by the governments for the only reason that marriage is a civilizing institution among men, and the governments did all they could to promote civilization amongst men. As the governments now get out of the civilizing game by allowing the definition of marriage to become so debased from the original idea of it, they have given a signal to the world that they don't care if we're civilized or not.

You and I may take that signal and just make a note of it, but there are those who will take that signal and use it as a clarion call to mobilize and destroy even more of Western civilization.

If we say, "I've got no dog in this hunt", PawPaw, we have become THEM.

J said...

Rivrdog, the sky won't fall if the government allows same sex marriages. In my opinion, who gives a shiite? I don't and it shouldn't cost you a second of sleep. Homosexuality is as common as dirt. My last ex-wife once had a turkey gobbler who only wanted sex with a lard can. Was that turkey doomed to hell?

Rivrdog said...

Yes, the turkey was doomed. I presume it graced someone's table with it's afore-mentioned useless parts high in the air and roasted to a nice turn.

Pawpaw said...

I think you've misunderstood my premise, Rivrdog, although maybe you understand and simply disagree. That's okay too.

My premise is that marriage, as recognized by the state, is a relatively new phenomena. Before the 1500s in Europe, and before 1753 in England, there was no requirement that a marriage be recognized by registration with the government. Indeed, in our own United States, there are many records of people simply finding a preacher and getting married.

The requirement to get a license is a modern one.

Indeed, prior to those times, there was no requirement to register a marriage. Two people simply became married and that was enough for the law.

Some states still recognize "common-law" marriages, where a man and a woman begin cohabiting and become recognized as married by the community.

I believe that marriage is a sanctified relationship that forms the basis for modern civilization. I don't think it requires a license from the state.

Termite said...

Pawpaw said: "I believe that marriage is a sanctified relationship that forms the basis for modern civilization. I don't think it requires a license from the state."
I agree with you. Both the Roman-Catholic Church and the traditional Protestant Churches call it a sacrament.

The "war" on "traditional" marriage is one brought by those who seem to hate western civilization in general, and Judeo-Christianity in particular.

The homosexual marriage issue seems to be pushed more by lesbians than by gay men, because lesbians generally are more commited to monogamous relationships, and often want children.

Gee, homosexual women act like heterosexual women in some ways. Who would have thunk it....LOL.

Rivrdog said...

Historically, the registrations of marriage go way back, at least with the Catholic church. Such records are available for at least 1500 years in parts of Eastern Europe.

Our Government was formed by pious men who must have had some idea of what they were doing when they authorized the VERY limited government of the time to record marriages. As a point of personal guidance, I generally go along with everything the Founders wanted government to do, and I am suspicious of what they didn't have government do then, but we have government doing today.

"Common Law" marriage, as I understand the concept, came about so that folks who had made a family unit without benefit of preacher, government or whatever else could be recognized as having the same privileges that society conferred on married folks. Don't forget that until about 3 generations ago, cohabitating without benefit of clergy or government license was frowned upon by all concerned.

What I fail to "get" with this entire brouhaha is why the gays and lesbians even think that they NEED the institution of marriage. It makes no sense to me, if they are going against not only nature but convention with their mating, that they would want to go as far as they could from the heterosexual society's rules. Instead, they want to "move in" with the hetero society and adopt it's rules.

Makes no sense, but then un-natural things make little sense to me, anyway.

Rivrdog said...

I guess I could have boiled all this down to four words, made more sense, and still had my say.

I should have said, "Same-sex marriage, isn't"

James Nelson said...

The Catholic Church didn't make marriage a sacrament for about 1000 years and when they did it was to create a revenue stream. Marriage until recently was primarily to join families, which is why most were arranged marriages. Among the moneyed classes, including peasants with property, marriage was for the consolidation of wealth and political alliances. Romantic love was not considered a necessary part of a marriage.
In some cultures, it still isn't.
I agree with Pawpaw and the poster that he quoted. The less the state has to do with us, the better.
If you consider marriage to be a holy Sacramento, then treat it as such in the context of your religious beliefs. If you look at the state of marriage in society you'd have to notice that most citizens don't, regardless what they may tell pollsters.
The essence of liberty is leaving others to do as they see fit, as long as they don't harm you. Harm in this case meaning actual physical harm, not merely offending your sensibilities.

Termite said...

River Dog said: ""Common Law" marriage, as I understand the concept, came about so that folks who had made a family unit without benefit of preacher, government or whatever else could be recognized as having the same privileges that society conferred on married folks. Don't forget that until about 3 generations ago, cohabitating without benefit of clergy or government license was frowned upon by all concerned."
Not exactly; at least in America.
During the early frontier days of America, clergy wasn't always available when a young man and young woman wished to be married. The young man would discuss the issue with the girl's parents. With their blessing, the couple would exchange public vows in front of friends & neighbors. The event was recorded, usually in a family Bible, or other record book. They were then considered married. If clergy later became available, the couple might or might not have another ceremony repeating the event.

I don't have a problem with true common law marriage. In fact, "Shacking up" periodically with different partners of the opposite sex isn't common law marriage. There are some requirements for most common law states to recognise the marriage, and it's more than simply living together. In fact, in Texas, if a man and woman have a common law marriage that is recognised by the state, a judge is required for a divorce.
I don't have a problem with the state recognizing/registering marriages, particularly for custody and probate purposes. I DO have a problem with the State requiring a license that is sold by the State. In fact, I make it a point to use my certificate of marriage, which was issued by the officiating PASTOR(not the State), when asked for proof of marriage.
In fact, if I had it to do over again, I would not apply for a marriage license. I would simply have the ceremony performed by a pastor/priest, and file a certificate of marriage. If the State of Louisiana refused to recognise it, I would do a common law marriage in Texas, and file it there.