Since this is topical once again, I moved it forward from its original April 30th publication and added an addendum to the end discussing current events. If I had perfect knowledge of future events before they happened, like a god, I would have held off posting this and Homophobia in Denial until now.
On The Other Hand, If god is really what people say he is, he could have fixed this problem as well as the slavery problem in advance by giving detailed instructions to the people who wrote his books; rather than letting them write down their own customs and fears as if they were instructions from him. But then I was going to leave that specific discussion to Jim over at Stonekettle Station. Trying to stick to the legality issue here.
It slipped my mind that I was actually being topical with my piece Homophobia in Denial;
that the SCOTUS was going to be debating the legality of marriage being broadened to include two people of the same sex. Given the contents of that piece, it should be pretty obvious that I have no problem with two people of the same sex getting married.
I actually go a bit farther than just not having a problem with that. I really don’t see the point in marriage in the first place, as far as being separated from other business contracts.
I know, I know, I’m a soulless bastard that has no emotions. Trust me, I’ve heard that a few times. Still, I have to wonder why marriage is different than any other joint partnership? Why are there special rules for this business arrangement that are completely different from all the others?
The Wife and I have a prenuptial agreement that involves a rather grisly death if either of us strays, sexually. I know that I wouldn’t have to make that deal with a business partner. But I also know that we are complete weirdos and discuss every point of an agreement before we enter into them. This is true with everything we purchase, not just with the agreement that started our relationship.
Most people don’t even know what their partner wants in the case of medical incapacity. We’ve discussed so many different scenarios that I’d be hard pressed to name an event we haven’t discussed and what her wishes would be. Without that level of discussion, marriage is just a business arrangement, with no more emotional investment than the subject of which TV to buy. Fully half of the people who get married will stay married less than 5 years. The first TV they buy as a couple will still be working when the divorce is settled.
That is not a sacrament, that is an agreement made on an emotional whim. A moment of sexual lust, lost as soon as the dopamine receptors become habituated to the reward.
Given that marriage is expected before sexual gratification is achieved because of religious teachings, who is to blame for its being entered into so lightly? Not the government, which is tasked with simply keeping track of the business agreements made in its jurisdiction. That blame rests solely on the shoulders of religious leaders who push the agenda of sexual abstinence (which is in reality a perversion) onto our unsuspecting children. The selfsame leaders who are now leading the charge against so-called gay marriage.
I’d like to offer the counter-argument that gay marriage is actually better than heterosexual marriage. How is that possible, you ask? Because homosexuals who want to get married have at least thought about what marriage means. Have at least talked to their partner about future plans. Want to tie each other together in a binding relationship that means more than a few months of hot sex. They at least understand that marriage should be a lifetime commitment, not something entered into because they have to do it before sexual gratification occurs.
The real sacrament, if there is one at all, is the gay marriage; because they’re making a pledge with the full knowledge of what that pledge means, not blinded by the passion of unfulfilled lust.
As for how to address those naysayers out there who think that marriage is some holy union too good for homosexuals to share in, I’ll leave that to Jim over at Stonekettle Station. He does a much better job of taking them apart than I ever could;
You are the very absolutists, the very religious fanatics, this country was designed to protect its citizens from. — Jim Wright, Stonekettle Station
The NYT article that debunks the 50% divorce rate myth
(yes, it is a myth) has a lot of good information in it on the subject of marriage and divorce.
About 70 percent of marriages that began in the 1990s reached their 15th anniversary (excluding those in which a spouse died), up from about 65 percent of those that began in the 1970s and 1980s. Those who married in the 2000s are so far divorcing at even lower rates. If current trends continue, nearly two-thirds of marriages will never involve a divorce, according to data from Justin Wolfers, a University of Michigan economist
Among the many facts in the article is the notation that the less educated, more traditionalist male-lead households still suffer from divorce rates at the previous high levels. So it is a myth for every group outside of traditional christian households lead by a male breadwinner.
It is also worth noting that the progressive changes of the 70’s persist today. The feminist revolution, the achievement of reproductive rights for women, and the more relaxed attitudes towards living together before marriage have lead to reduced rates of divorce, with women holding an equal place in modern society alongside men. This comes as no surprise to me, that women being formally allowed to now pick their mates instead of being prizes handed out by their fathers has lead to fewer bad marriages.
Fewer people marry these days. That statistic has also lead to a reduction in divorce. Can’t get divorced if you never marry.
The point that is made statistically in the article is synonymous with the point I made in this blog post; that marriage has already changed and will continue to change. That escaping from the confines of christian dogma has been a positive change in US society. That testing a relationship with co-habitation before actually getting married is a very good idea.
The Wife hates that I compare marriage to a business arrangement. She has always hated that comparison when I have made it. I’m sure most romantics of both sexes hate the very notion that marriage is anything like a business deal. Their rejection of this observation doesn’t actually change the reality of the situation. That there are financial concerns that have to be addressed when contemplating any union. That marriage is desirable to homosexuals because it fixes problems with custody of children, inheritance and survivor’s benefits. These are largely financial calculations, and marriage exists to address them. Not because of love. The notion of romantic marriage was an unrealized ideal before the 1970’s. That is the hard-nosed fact about marriage that romantics ignore.
When seen in that light as opposed to the notion of fee for sex being the business arrangement (you dirty-minded people. I wasn’t even thinking of it that way) it becomes understandable that the largest concerns in any marriage are financial. If you fail to discuss these issues before tying the knot, you will regret it later.
The SCOTUS did render the correct decision
and not force the people at large to add marriage equality to the long list of changes we’re going to have to make when the Constitutional Convention is called to reverse Citizens United
. It would have been nice if the court had made its decision based on the unconstitutional sexual discrimination which all the objections to same-sex marriage exhibit, as discussed in this article on Salon
The Supreme Court has long held that laws that discriminate based on sex must be presumed unconstitutional and invalidated unless the government can prove that they can pass rigorous, heightened judicial scrutiny. Relying on that doctrine would answer the crucial question why the Court was deciding the same-sex marriage question at all. The sex discrimination shifts the burden of proof to the state, and the state hasn’t met that burden. The argument is clear and based on decades-old precedent. An amicus brief I coauthored developed this claim, and Chief Justice Roberts raised it when the case was argued.
But any vehicle that gets you where you want to go is better than no vehicle at all.
No need to repeal DOMA now. That act has been rendered invalid with the decision handed down last week. We still need to repeal RFRA and apologize to religious minorities and the non-religious for ever passing it in the first place. Still hoping for a congress that is more useful and less obstructionist than it has been for as long as I can remember now.
One way to get that might be to hold certain attorneys feet to the fire. Attorneys like Greg Abbott and Ted Cruz who have violated the ethical rules for their profession;
The American Bar Association designed the Model Rules of Professional Conduct to define ethical duties of attorneys. State Supreme Courts have adopted versions of the Model Rules as binding upon attorneys who practice law in their jurisdictions. Attorneys are not free to ignore them–compliance is conditioned upon being licensed to practice law–and failure to obey could result in disbarment.
Disbarring them for ethical violations (Cruz’s behavior on several subject warrants this, not just this one) would be a supreme irony, considering the arguments that they are making.