“What!?” you say. “Bleeding-heart left-winger Purple Wyrm doesn’t support gay marriage!? Has the world gone mad!?” well, read on and I’ll explain.
I don’t support gay marriage, because I don’t support straight marriage.
Let me clarify.
What is marriage? Fundamentally marriage is a religious or cultural institution. It has acquired a legal status because, historically, governments haven’t been able to keep their hands out of religious issues. Nowdays, in an increasingly secular and multicultural/multi-religious society, governments are moving to shed themselves of religious trappings so as to accurately represent all of their constituents. And in my view governmentally sanctioned marriage is one of those trappings and should be done away with post haste.
I don’t mean that people won’t be able to get married. I’m not advocating some kind of storm troopers breaking up weddings and hauling priests and celebrants off to re-education camps. What I’m talking about is divorcing (haha! see what I did there?) the cultural and religious ceremony and sacrament of marriage from the legal definition of two people pooling their resources and assets. A legal contract that binds two people together and gives them certain governmentally recognised rights should have nothing to do with a guy (or gal) saying words in a church, any more than you need a Shinto Priest to authorise the taking of your passport photos.
If you want to get married in a ceremony and have a religious official presiding – fantastic! Do it! Have a fantastic day and be happy in the knowledge that you’re legitimately joined in the eyes of your deity and culture. But you should get no rights or privileges from the government until you fill out the appropriate paperwork – the same paperwork as everyone else. And if you don’t want a big ceremony (or you can’t get it because the religion or culture in question won’t recognise your union as a valid one) then just fill out the paperwork and get exactly the same rights and recognition as every other civilly united couple.
Religions can continue to offer the ceremony and social/theological concept of ‘marriage’ to whoever they want – subject to the wishes of their congregants. Government won’t deal with ‘marriage’ at all, just civil unions. The ‘sanctity of marriage’ will no longer be threatened by ‘teh geyz’ because it will have been handed back to the religions to look after for themselves, and everyone gets the same rights
That’s the way I reckon it should be. Civil unions for everyone who wants them, and miniature national flags for everyone else! 🙂