A Little Sobriety for the Drunken Rogue -- Sobriety here means Seriousness

Generally, I don't talk about my religious beliefs in this blog. That is mostly due to the fact that I have never felt led to be a proselytizer. I serve my God the best way I know how. By respecting others, treating them the way I'd like to be treated, honoring God in my own personal ways, and trying to show others the peace and happiness that this lifestyle brings me. I don't tell you what to do, and would strongly appreciate you not telling me what to do. If everybody did this, I think we'd be a lot better off as a species.

I am (as you could tell if you read my political posts on Apathy as Activism) a little conservative politically. I like the idea of Libertarianism though, as it appeals to the above mentioned idea of leaving each other alone. Today my sister-in-law, Tara, posted a blog that mentioned the question of gay marriage. Now Tara's post was well thought out and well presented, and gay marriage was not in anyway the central theme of the post. The real idea of the post was to realize we are all in the same boat, no matter what particular sin or failing we have, and we should respect each other accordingly. Check that post out here if you'd like.

Reading that blog made me think of a conversation I had recently with Erin (my other brother-in-law's lady friend). We were discussing gay rights, and I articulated a position I have had for some time, but had never fully put into words. I thought I'd make it official here today.

I don't think that the government should have the ability to grant "marriage" to anyone. Marriage, as an institution, has very little to do with the state or it's interests. It is however, in the interest of the state to supervise and acknowledge long-term associations of people to preserve their legal rights, as to property, medical decisions etc. That's where the idea of civil unions comes in. In other cultures the marriage ceremony and the government's recognition of the legal joining of a couple are two distinctly separate things. Why is that idea so ridiculous here? Marriage (as I, and a great many other Americans perceive it) is an institution of God's creation, not man's. I don't go to church to get a driver's license, and it's never made sense why we go to the state to get a marriage license.

The process (under this new, separate system) would be slightly more laborious for your average couple it's true. There would be the church service where they acknowledge their dedication to each other in front of God and their assembled guests, and there would also be a bit of paperwork (perhaps even a truncated ceremony of some kind) in front of a government official, in which they declared their legal union and decision to join their assets/debts and fortunes. A couple who had been granted a civil union could then enjoy all the legal rights currently enjoyed by "married" couples, hospital visitation, division of assets upon death, tax breaks etc. These civil unions (because they are granted by the state, irrespective of religious beliefs) could allow people the protections and rights granted to them by the 14th Amendment, while not infringing on the "sanctity of marriage".

Now, this all works in my head, but I know that getting me to buy into it (and possibly some of you) doesn't make it work for society at large. But I think about all the marriages that end in divorce (or worse) limp lifelessly and lovelessly along. These broken marriages are often used as an example by those that would allow gay marriage. So many hetero marriages are messed up, why would we keep two committed, mature, responsible people from being joined? The problem (as I see it) is that the institution (marriage) is abused. It is far too easy to get one, and far too easy to end one. If anyone could get a civil union, but only those that were willing to at least be interviewed and counseled by their clergy could receive a "marriage," I think there would be far fewer broken marriages.

How does this affect the ability of gay couples to adopt? Would religious groups feel their idea of "marriage" is still under assault? Would they feel marginalized? Would homosexuals feel they were still segregated, and separate? I don't know. I don't profess to have all the answers. This is something (marriage, I mean) that I feel very strongly about, and I thought I'd share those feelings. Please feel free to comment (both positively and negatively) below. I appreciate your responses, even when you call me a crazy person. Thanks for listening.