Thursday, March 27, 2008

Is gay marriage the beginning of a slippery slope?

Florida is currently caught up in the currently popular hysteria over gay marriage. Apparently concerned that the prospect of two men or two women saying "I do" no longer excites the same fear among the public that it once did, John Stemberger of the Florida Coalition to Protect Marriage is now warning that if same-sex couples are accorded the same consideration traditionally given to heterosexual couples, the door could be open to all sorts of crazy relationships, like even group marriage.

"These are not crazies," he told a meeting of the Capital Tiger Bay Club. "These folks are where homosexual activists were 25 years ago. The problem is, when you unlock that door, there's really no end to the argument of where we're going to define marriage."

Uh huh. And so the hell what?

Stemberger is right that opening the door to same-sex marriage will probably lead to recognizing other consensual arrangements among adults, but it's hard to understand what all the fuss is about. Will the world really come to an end if the folks entitled to make decisions for an accident victim include three wives and two husbands, or if the mommy who picks a kid up from school isn't the same one who dropped him off in the morning? It's not as if extra uninvited brides and grooms are going to start popping from the woodwork at everybody's nuptials; nobody has to take a the-more-the-merrier approach.

Oddly enough, plural marriage is a fairly common topic of conversation in my part of the world. That's largely because of the unfortunate influence of the exceptionally creepy Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS) in its strongholds along the Arizona-Utah border. Polygamy as practiced by the FLDS is largely a means for enabling dirty old men to build harems of teenage girls who have yet to reach the age of consent. Not surprisingly, the practice is not entirely popular outside of FLDS circles.

But the FLDS no more represents the totality of plural marriage than NAMBLA represents gay relationships or Mary Kay Letourneau serves as a spokeswoman for traditional one-guy/one-girl marriage. In all cases, the real deals involve consenting adults.

So why does it matter, so long as we're talking about adults, if gays, lesbians, conservative Christians and pansexual pagans have different ideas about who and how many ought to be involved in domestic arrangements?

Defenders of one-man/one-woman marriage argue that they don't want the state endorsing immoral or damaging "social experiments," and that they want to defend tradition. They may have an argument to make about the experimental nature of some arrangements -- heterosexual marriage as we know it is pretty well time-tested -- but that doesn't mean that other arrangement are unknown in history or that people are wrong to experiment. As for tradition ... well, it turns out that state-licensed marriage is a pretty newfangled innovation itself, with its dominance dating only to the 19th century.

Writing in the New York Times last November, Stephanie Coontz, a professor of history at Evergreen State College, said:

WHY do people — gay or straight — need the state’s permission to marry? For most of Western history, they didn’t, because marriage was a private contract between two families. The parents’ agreement to the match, not the approval of church or state, was what confirmed its validity. ...

Not until the 16th century did European states begin to require that marriages be performed under legal auspices. In part, this was an attempt to prevent unions between young adults whose parents opposed their match.

The American colonies officially required marriages to be registered, but until the mid-19th century, state supreme courts routinely ruled that public cohabitation was sufficient evidence of a valid marriage. By the later part of that century, however, the United States began to nullify common-law marriages and exert more control over who was allowed to marry.

Eliminating the government's involvement in marriage would get rid of the notion that the state is sanctioning any sort of relationship and would return domestic arrangements to their long-standing, grassroots origins.

If John Stemberger and company really want to defend traditional marriage, they should work to just get the government entirely out of the matter.

Labels: ,


Blogger BobG said...

I think one of the main reasons marriage came into the notice of the state is because of inheritance squabbles, and inheritance taxes. When the government has a chance to take a bite out of someone's estate, you can bet they will try to regulate it.

March 27, 2008 4:44 PM  
Anonymous Ravenhawk said...

I've always found the idea of the state deciding marriages to be somewhat ridiculous. I couldn't care less what other people are doing in their private lives and marriage isn't really something the government needs to be interested in.
As bobg said, the only reason government would have any need into marriage is wanting to tax the dead.

March 28, 2008 4:34 PM  
Blogger Charlotte said...

Marriage is a basic civil right that should be attainable by all Americans if they choose. For the truth about gay marriage check out our trailer. Produced to educate & defuse the controversy it has a way of opening closed minds & provides some sanity on the issue:

March 30, 2008 8:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

^^ nice blog!! ^@^

徵信, 徵信網, 徵信社, 徵信社, 徵信社, 徵信社, 感情挽回, 婚姻挽回, 挽回婚姻, 挽回感情, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信, 捉姦, 徵信公司, 通姦, 通姦罪, 抓姦, 抓猴, 捉猴, 捉姦, 監聽, 調查跟蹤, 反跟蹤, 外遇問題, 徵信, 捉姦, 女人徵信, 女子徵信, 外遇問題, 女子徵信, 徵信社, 外遇, 徵信公司, 徵信網, 外遇蒐證, 抓姦, 抓猴, 捉猴, 調查跟蹤, 反跟蹤, 感情挽回, 挽回感情, 婚姻挽回, 挽回婚姻, 外遇沖開, 抓姦, 女子徵信, 外遇蒐證, 外遇, 通姦, 通姦罪, 贍養費, 徵信, 徵信社, 抓姦, 徵信, 徵信公司, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信公司, 徵信社, 徵信公司, 女人徵信, 外遇

徵信, 徵信網, 徵信社, 徵信網, 外遇, 徵信, 徵信社, 抓姦, 徵信, 女人徵信, 徵信社, 女人徵信社, 外遇, 抓姦, 徵信公司, 徵信社, 徵信社, 徵信社, 徵信社, 徵信社, 女人徵信社, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信, 女子徵信社, 女子徵信社, 女子徵信社, 女子徵信社, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信,

徵信, 徵信社,徵信, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信社, 外遇, 抓姦, 離婚, 外遇,離婚,

外遇, 離婚, 外遇, 抓姦, 徵信, 外遇, 徵信,外遇, 抓姦, 征信, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信,徵信社, 徵信社, 徵信, 外遇, 抓姦, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信社, 徵信社, 徵信社,

March 19, 2009 12:09 AM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home