The Jury Talks Back

11/21/2008

Thinking About Marriage

Filed under: California Politics — Fritz @ 9:33 pm

Keith Burgess-Jackson, a philosophy professor and lawyer, writes about marriage:

Marriage (the legal institution, not the moral or religious institution) is a bundle of legal rights and responsibilities. Some of these rights and responsibilities should, arguably, be available to homosexual couples. Many of them already are. For example, it is available to anyone, in or out of a relationship, to execute a durable power of attorney, which designates another person to make medical, financial, or other decisions in one’s behalf. Homosexual couples don’t need to be married to do this…

One of the silliest things I’ve heard during the past few years is that homosexual couples want, and deserve to have, weddings. Listen up: Nothing has ever stopped you from having a wedding! Rent a church or a hall. Invite your friends, relatives, neighbors, and colleagues. Cater it. Order a big keg of beer. Hire a band to play your favorite music. Heck, have a wedding for yourself and your dog if you want. Have one for yourself and your three dearest friends. Have one for yourself and your imaginary friend. A wedding is a ceremony. You can have a ceremony for anything you please.

Another mistake is thinking that marriage is merely a legal institution. There are moral marriages and religious (spiritual) marriages as well. Two individuals have always had the power to commit to one another, and therefore the power to commit to one another for life (“through thick and thin, for better or worse,” &c). You don’t need the law to approve or enforce your commitments. If you can find a minister to marry you, have at it. You will be bound to your beloved in the eyes of your god.

That homosexuals feel degraded, demeaned, or diminished by civil unions (as some states allow) shows that their real goal is not the bundle of legal rights and responsibilites possessed by married couples, but affirmation of their relationship. Why they expect people to affirm something that many of them believe to be perverse or sinful is beyond me. There is no right, legal or otherwise, to have one’s relationship with another person affirmed by the state. Had homosexuals sought civil unions instead of demanding a redefinition of “marriage,” and had they pursued legislation (the realm of policy) rather than judicial decree (the realm of principle), they may have achieved more success. They got greedy. They demanded everything and ended up, in states like Arizona and Florida, with nothing.

7 Comments

  1. That homosexuals feel degraded, demeaned, or diminished by civil unions (as some states allow) shows that their real goal is not the bundle of legal rights and responsibilites possessed by married couples, but affirmation of their relationship.

    I agree. When I point out that California allows civil unions the response I receive is “separate but equal” is segregation and tantamount to the segregation that blacks suffered at the hands of whites.

    That has to be an insult to any African Americans that really suffered racial segregation in school and on the bus and when out shopping ect…

    I don’t see any evidence that states that allow civil unions are also allowing sexual segregation on the bus or at the lunch counters or at school.

    Comment by ML — 11/22/2008 @ 9:09 am

  2. Nothing has ever stopped you from having a wedding! Rent a church or a hall. Invite your friends, relatives, neighbors, and colleagues. Cater it. Order a big keg of beer. Hire a band to play your favorite music. Heck, have a wedding for yourself and your dog if you want.

    This is what my husband and I did. As I said in the other thread: the state has no power to say that I am, or am not, married. It merely has the power to say whether it recognizes that marriage or not. :)

    Why they expect people to affirm something that many of them believe to be perverse or sinful is beyond me

    I don’t care whether individuals affirm my marriage; I care whether the state treats my marriage the same way it treats the marriages of other citizens. That may be a fine distinction, but it’s a distinction nonetheless.

    Had homosexuals sought civil unions instead of demanding a redefinition of “marriage,” and had they pursued legislation (the realm of policy) rather than judicial decree (the realm of principle), they may have achieved more success

    In California, we have “domestic partnerships”, which are civil unions that are very close to marriages; and the legislature twice passed a gay marriage bill only to have the governor veto it with the argument that the courts should decide. It rankles a bit when we then get castigated for going to the courts.

    Comment by aphrael — 11/22/2008 @ 11:45 am

  3. I agree with you previous comments and would go on tp say I believe the answer to this whole issue is actually quite simple. All “marriages”(homosexual,heterosexual, polygamist,etc,etc) would be seen as a civil union by the government, and between the two parties and their spiritual enitity (church,synagogue,mosque,etc.) would be seen as a marriage. Being someone who has been married for 15 years I find that I don’t need the state to be involved in my holy sacrament of marriage but as a person who is in a “civil union”, the rights recognized by the state are inherent. I’m pretty sure this would be considered controversial by all sides but let’s face it the I went to a church to receive the sacrament of marriage and look to the government to only recognize the rights that my wife and I have bestowed upon each other.

    Comment by scott — 11/22/2008 @ 11:55 am

  4. But damnit, aphrael, how can I be a better person than you if not because I am married to a woman and you are married to a man?

    Comment by nk — 11/22/2008 @ 2:20 pm

  5. aphrael – It [the State] merely has the power to say whether it recognizes that marriage or not.

    Not entirely. What I believe was asked here was not just ‘recognition’ by the state, but the enforcement of ‘recognition’ by the state on all subjects of the state. This is the problem I have with the idea. As I’ve said before the election, I don’t believe the state should possess the power to grant anything larger than contractual relationships. And yes, that includes defining ‘marriage’. Similarly, I don’t want the state to define and then enforce bestiality or polygamy.

    Hugh Hefner has practiced what amounts to polygamy for most of his life, and there are no outcries about his methods taking over society. When such arrangements are limited to contractual agreements only rather than divinely intimated unions, the breakup of such agreements, as has recently happened, is not seen as a violation of a sacrament. Thus, his women have ‘moved on’ rather than ‘cheated’ on him. He now has two 19 year old girlfriends. He is in his eighties. Where is the mob with their torches?

    The state cannot make you love or respect your partner. That decision is personal, and should remain personal. The state should reserve for itself the fair adjudication of disputes between contracted parties.

    Comment by Apogee — 11/22/2008 @ 6:32 pm

  6. Where is the mob with their torches?

    Wishing to god they were him… Why do you ask? :)

    Comment by Scott Jacobs — 11/22/2008 @ 7:30 pm

  7. Maybe it’s me, but why do I see this as an issue over the use of the term “marriage” when describing a relationship between two people of the same sex? How is this like segregation back in the 50’s?

    If a state recognizes a civil union between two homosexual people, and they have the same rights a heterosexual couple, then why the uproar over a single word?

    Scott Jacobs – I’d be a happy man if I was 80 years old with two 19 year old girlfriends…now my wife would probably be just a little upset about it…

    Comment by fmfnavydoc — 11/22/2008 @ 10:11 pm

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.


Powered by WordPress.