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Arguments about Prop 8: "special" rights

How do gay marriages take away the rights of straights?? They don't. They aren't "special", they are equal!

You don't have to approve of someone's marriage to allow it - I certainly have not approved of some of the straight marriages I've seen. It still is none of my business.

The reason that gay people want the same rights as straights is because of the financial and legal advantages of "marriage": hospital visitation, joint tax filing, social security survivor benefits, right to adopt a spouse's children, etc.

The fact that religious institutions have claimed domain over these civil benefits is what makes this whole thing a mess. I would be perfectly happy to have all civil (legal, financial) benefits of "marriage" eliminated for everyone. Then the state would be out of the picture of marriage. All of the former benefits of civil marriage would then transfer to civil unions, for everyone, as those would be civil contracts between two individuals, with no religious involvement.

Separate out the religious and the civil matters, and the problem disappears.

This means, of course, that all marriages would be voided in a civil context. Anyone "married" in a church would need to go down to the courthouse, fill out the civil union paperwork, and have it witnessed and notarized. The tax code would also need to be changed, because giving special tax benefits to people based on a religious ceremony would be against the 1st Amendment - "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;..."

This "solution" lets everyone who wants the religious definitions of marriage within their creed to stand valid for their creed, but without denying civil benefits to anyone who does not share their creed.

Let "marriage" be religious, and then keep the state/government entirely out of it.


( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Nov. 6th, 2008 05:00 am (UTC)
Interesting discussion on this very subject here.

Keep me apprised of the lawsuits that spring up, because this is going to get very good.
Nov. 6th, 2008 06:43 am (UTC)
It was pointed out on one blog (Making Light, I believe) that there's a perfectly good word for the religious aspect of marriage: matrimony. Marriage is a civil affair. Matrimony, like baptism, is a matter for churches.

But it's possible the CA Supreme Court will rule that the only way to fulfil both CA's "equal protection" rule and the new "only man & woman marriage" rule is to not recognize any marriages.

I'm somewhat hoping that, if the final tally shows 8 winning, San Francisco stops issuing marriage licenses altogether, insisting that it cannot discriminate on the basis of gender or orientation, and since it can't issue licenses to some, it dare not issue them to anyone.
Nov. 6th, 2008 10:08 am (UTC)
This is actually the law in Germany -- to be married, you HAVE to have a civil union. That document, signed and witnessed by two people in front of a registrar at city hall (or a location approved of by the registrar's department) is the only LEGAL thing that says you're married and entitles you to all the benefits.

Any religious ceremony is a bonus (or icing on the cake) and entirely optional. Even the Catholic church doesn't object to divorce if there has never been a church ceremony; in that case, there's no official annulment needed if one of the divorcees wants a leter church wedding.

We've had civil unions for same-sex couples for several years now, and society as a whole has yet to collapse. :) However, there's still a limit to the benefits -- not all things are extended equally to straight and same-sex couples. Yet. (I have no doubt that it's only a matter of time until the tax benefits, for example, will be valid for everybody.)
Nov. 6th, 2008 07:33 pm (UTC)
You have done a great job articulating my own thoughts about marriage. I've always thought that the double- standard of religious vs. civil was a little odd- and why would religious people care about civil marriage?

It's simple- they want to insert their beliefs into civil law and government. It isn't about gays- it's about control.

I'm with you on the elimination of the civil marriage- it would definitely level the playing field. Make it more like incorporating- and leave the ceremonial fooferah to the churches.

I've never been a fan of marriage- I guess I've seen too many bad ones to see any advantage to it. And I also got my paws on some feminist books that argued against marriage when I was at an impressionable age. Between the witnessing of my mother's misery, and the stuff I read, I decided that marriage was not for me.

Oddly enough, I obtained a ULC ministerial license about 10 years ago, and have used it exactly once- to marry two very good friends of mine. I signed the civil paperwork. They're still married. But I turned down a request by another acquaintance to officiate (and sign the legal documents) at her wedding, because it was a callous changing of spouses for economical advantage. I did not want to have anything to do with it.

If you really think about it, civil marriage is discriminatory in that it imparts 1040 legal rights to the people involved that they do not otherwise get.

I agree- the state should not be involved.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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