Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Gay Marriage

Let's be honest about gay marriage - both sides have valid points. I will start with the opponents.

The big argument against gay marriage is that once the one man/one woman definition is abandoned it is impossible to draw the line. As Rick Santorum pointed out, polygamy and adultery are sure to follow. Others have taken a softer stance but even in President Obama's "evolved" view, marriage should be reserved for one man/one woman unions with civil partnerships for other relationships.

They are absolutely right. Once you change the definition of marriage once there is no reason not to do so again.

But here's the counter-argument - these unions already exist so why not recognize them? My daughter is in a civil partnership and I know people in a polygamous relationship. This is the pro-gay marriage argument and it is hard to refute.

The other argument against redefining marriage is "What bout the sanctity of marriage?" Won't this hurt it? This one used to bother me. Traditional marriage is in trouble. Wouldn't a redefinition of what marriage is destroy it completely?

The reason that this no longer bothers me is that the sanctity of marriage no longer exists. In my lifetime, two presidents (JFK and Clinton) have had affairs in the White House. At least one vice-president (Gore) and an almost vice-president (Edwards) have also had affairs. Plus the former Speaker of the House (Gingrich) and the governors of multiple states (Schwarzenegger is just the most recent). If our elected officials don't recognize the sanctity of marriage then why should the rest of us?

In fact, the rest of the country does not care much about marriage. For the first time ever, the census reports that more couples are living together than are married. The number of women having children out of wedlock, and to multiple fathers, keeps increasing. Many poor women see marriage as something to aspire to in the future.

The one thing that might save, or at least strengthen, marriage would be an influx of committed couples who want to be married. In the short run, at least, gay marriage is likely to strengthen the institution rather than weaken it.

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