As a little Christmas present for you, I’ll wrap this up!
So. We’ve seen a few of the religious arguments against gay marriage, and the counterpoints. Ultimately though, what should we do? Like I said when I started this, legally there’s no reason to bar gay marriage. That right there makes it necessary to… legalize it? No, not really. What it does make necessary is equalizing the unions between heterosexuals and homosexuals.
The government should no longer recongize or regulate marriage.
Marriage is a religious construct. It should remain such; let the churches marry whoever they want to whoever they want, as often as they want. Let the government – the civil authority – establish civil unions for everybody. If a civil union is really equal to marriage, this shouldn’t be a problem, right?
You qualify for whatever economic benefits you might get today for being married by showing proof that you’ve got a licensure of civil union from the government. You don’t get any benefit for just being married beyond that offered by your church and the people around you. Anybody who’s already married gets grandfathered in, of course – their marriage license qualifies as a civil union license, no problems there. A civil union can be broken through the divorce courts, or based on whatever you came up with in your contract when you signed up (a basic pre-nup), and a marriage can be broken through whatever methods your religion allows/endorses.
What does this fix? Pretty much everything. Gay marriage becomes a purely reglious question, as it should be. Het marriage becomes a purely religious question… as it should be. Civil unions, as recognized by the government, become truly equal, inasmuch as the law can make anything equal. The separation between church and state becomes stronger, sealing up one of the cracks that’s always existed in it.
There are other benefits too, perhaps the most obvious one being that it allows polyamorous people to have unions with their secondaries, and has the potential to make divorces less excruciating, assuming that contracts begin to become the norm. Variant religions are free to engage in whatever marriage ceremonies they might want, since they’ve got no legal consequence.
Are there some potential problems with this? Of course, though some of them are easy to overcome (for example, a lot of places already have you sign your marriage license as part of the cceremony – something similar could be done going forward, meaning you just need to take your paperwork in – or that you could have the priest mail it in for you – to get the civil license.) The biggest problem is harder to overcome. I, for one, don’t think that this idea is about to take off with most people, and whoever proposed it would see his political career shrivel and die before his eyes, so it’s just not going to happen any time soon.
But it’s still good to start considering the option. If you’re going to insist on one group of people sticking for civil unions, everybody should have to. If you’re not going to force everybody to go with civil unions… then let everybody get hitched.
Either way, you’ve got to go for the fullest equality you can.