I know, I know. The blue smoke and smell of burning silicon gave it away. I apologize if anyone thought that their computer blew up because the hamster-wheels in my brain were working overtime.
Anyway, long ago I ranted long and hard about the whole gay marriage thing
, mostly sparked by Orson Scott Card's (in my opinion appalling) treatise on how the whole notion threatens "traditional" families and all of that.
I just re-read it. It is well written and has some good points. On the whole, though, it still scares the daylights out of me.
But, that's not where I was going with this.
I've been thinking about Mr. Card's statement that:So if my friends insist on calling what they do "marriage," they are not turning their relationship into what my wife and I have created, because no court has the power to change what their relationship actually is.
Instead they are attempting to strike a death blow against the well-earned protected status of our, and every other, real marriage.
They steal from me what I treasure most, and gain for themselves nothing at all. They won't be married. They'll just be playing dress-up in their parents' clothes.
This bothers me for a lot of reasons. First and foremost, of course, because I disagree with him on numerous points about what marriage is supposed to be. If we want to get technical about it, it's about handing over property with the side-benefit of potential children. If that's what he wants, why don't we go back to arranged marriages? You know, the ones where neither spouse might have had a say in the matter. After all, the only thing that matters is reproduction.
On a side note, I wonder if his wife knows that he only married her for her uterus? But then, by these lights, she only married him for his testicles, so I suppose they're even.
In any case, as I was driving to work the other day something fairly horrible occurred to me. In Mr. Card's arguments (and some I've seen or heard elsewhere) the emotional factors of a homosexual couple are either not addressed -- or considered invalid or evil.
The emotions themselves. Mr. Card does not come out and say
this, although I think his words are telling:They won't be married. They'll just be playing dress-up in their parents' clothes.
As if the feelings gay couples have for one another, their commitment to one another is somehow an act or a falsity?
Does he really believe this?
Does the conservative Christian front truly believe that somehow their love is more true? More real? More valid? Their kind of love is better than anyone elses because they say so?
Do they just think that gays are faking it?
Once one sets aside the whole religious issue -- is that what we're really talking about?
Let's take a look at marriage, shall we? Dictionary.com defines marriage as:
mar·riage ( P ) Pronunciation Key (mrj)
1. The legal union of a man and woman as husband and wife.
2. The state of being married; wedlock.
3. A common-law marriage.
4. A union between two persons having the customary but usually not the legal force of marriage: a same-sex marriage.
Okay, I've already talked about the first one
. And I was glad to see #4.
(Y'know, the whole thing is hideously self-referential, as though marriage is one of those Platonic Ideas that doesn't really have to be explained.)
Poking around a bit more gets you to:
mar·ried ( P ) Pronunciation Key (mrd)
1. a) Having a spouse: a married woman; a married man.
b) United in matrimony: a married couple.
2. a) Of or relating to the state of marriage: married bliss.
b) Acquired through marriage: her married name.
3. Closely connected; united.
When it comes down to it, when we talk about marriage, whether it's between people or herbs, we're talking about 3. Closely connected; united.
You'll note that this doesn't have a thing to do with children, as claimed by Mr. Card.
Note also that the traditional wedding vows
also have naught to do with the conception or raising of children, either.Marriage is the union of husband and wife in heart, body and mind. It is intended for their mutual joy – and for the help and comfort given on another in prosperity and adversity. But more importantly – it is a means through which a stable and loving environment may be attained.
Other than the bit about husband and wife, what here could not be applied to a homosexual couple?
Or, perhaps:This is a beginning and a continuation of their growth as individuals. With mutual care, respect, responsibility and knowledge comes the affirmation of each one’s own life happiness, growth and freedom. With respect for individual boundaries comes the freedom to love unconditionally. Within the emotional safety of a loving relationship – the knowledge self-offered one another becomes the fertile soil for continued growth. With care and responsibility towards self and one another comes the potential for full and happy lives.
The growth of people who may or may not have children.
Or:Do you GROOM'S NAME take BRIDE'S NAME to be your wife – to live together after God’s ordinance – in the holy estate of matrimony? Will you love her, comfort her, honor and keep her, in sickness and in health, for richer, for poorer, for better, for worse, in sadness and in joy, to cherish and continually bestow upon her your heart’s deepest devotion, forsaking all others, keep yourself only unto her as long as you both shall live?
The commitment of people to one another, through adversity and good times.
And:May this/these ring(s) be blessed as the symbol of this affectionate unity. These two lives are now joined in one unbroken circle. Wherever they go – may they always return to one another. May these two find in each other the love for which all men and women year. May they grow in understanding and in compassion. May the home which they establish together be such a place that many will find there a friend. May this/these ring(s) on her/their finger(s) symbolize the touch of the spirit of love in their hearts.
Thus, I'd have to argue that marriage, at least as it is held in the common view, is about the commitment of two people to one another. Not reproduction. Not children.
It's about people and about love.
And love, in my belief system, knows no boundaries or genders. The love a person feels is always valid. It's sometimes foolish but it is always