Equal Marriage?

There is a lot of debate about legalizing gay marriage right now. The only argument against it is religious. I find it extremely interesting that equal rights are being thwarted by the church. Personally, I am in a committed hetero-sexual relationship. I refuse to get married for several reasons. To begin with, marriage has a very jaded past. Throughout history in many cultures women were treated as property. Dowries were a means of selling women into marriage–or basically slavery. Many cultures did not (do not) recognize a woman’s rights or wishes apart from her husband’s. Until 1920 here in the US, a woman was considered to have the same political opinion as her husband. His vote was meant to be a vote from the household. Women’s opinions were disregarded.

Another reason that I am against marriage is the concept of other people forcing their way into my relationship. By signing a certificate for marriage I agree to the government’s intervention in my relationship. If there is a religion or church that performs the ceremony, I also agree to let them into my relationship. In the end, there are a lot of people crowding their way into a relationship meant for two. No wonder the divorce rate is so high in the US. I’m sure the divorce rate would be just as high in other highly religious areas if divorce were an option.

Divorce is another reason that I’m against marriage. Since the deck is stacked against you to begin with, you have a crowd of people bustling through your once tranquil relationship, and all these forces are working to drive you apart from your spouse, eventually divorce is inevitable. What happens then? Usually the person who makes more money gets screwed. That person gets saddled with alimony and possible child support, while the other one simply collects the cash. How fair is that? Not very.

I think that there is a much better way to handle things. Marriage should have nothing to do with the government at all. Marriage ceremonies performed through churches, in Vegas or even in your own back yard should have no legal effects whatsoever. If someone wants a legally binding union that gives them tax breaks and what have you, that’s what civil unions are for. That should be across the board. Everyone should not have to get married or have to be civilly united. It should be a choice.

As far as your significant other is concerned, people should have to abide by your wishes, regardless of whether or not you’re married. Whoever you list as a durable power of attorney (the person who makes life and death decisions for you if you can’t) should have full access to you if you are incapacitated. There should be no law that can prevent that. If YOU made that person capable of deciding whether you live or die, that person obviously knows you well enough to visit you in the ICU.

People should have to respect the lives of others, plain simple.Every religious person I’ve spoken to claims that it is not their place to judge, it’s God’s, yet judge they do. Through proselytizing, pushing for laws that prohibit certain behavior, picketing funerals and much more these people judge on a daily basis. Every time someone says, “It’s not my place to judge,” the judgement has already been made. It’s time to stop judging and step back. Your yardstick is not the only measuring utensil out there. A person’s character is not defined by their religion, their political stance, their profession…or their sexuality. Move on. Live your own life, and let everyone else live theirs.

You know, I’ve often thought about having a ceremony. Though I will never be legally binded, the concept of walking down the isle and professing my love is appealing to me. As long as I don’t have to legally allow anyone else into my relationship to do so, I’m good.


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