Thursday, May 28, 2009

The Marriage Debate: A Proposal To End It Altogether

Just as the Civil Rights movement before them, the Gay Rights movement has been dealt a severe legal blow. Just months after Proposition 8 was passed outlawing gay marriage, the California Supreme Court has voted unanimously to uphold the constitutionality of the amendment citing a wacky "will of the people" clause in the state constitution.

It is now time to make a decision.

The obvious choice is to continue the fight and keep going back and forth with the state constitution while fighting for a federal amendment guaranteeing all the benefits of marriage for same-sex couples. This is the most likely course and is one that has been undertaken by such historic figures as Martin Luther King Jr., Mahatma Ghandi, Cesar Chavez and Rosa Parks. But the question remains; Is this a battle that can be won with so many social conservatives out there?

There is one more interesting course of action - my course of action - eliminating marriage altogether. Now i'm not talking about some hedonistic vision of "Brave New World", but more of a fair and equal rendering of justice. The government is not involved in 99% of religious ceremonies and rituals, yet they insist upon issuing a marriage license and extending benefits to married couples from tax breaks to beneficiary information. But let's say for a second that they don't issue marriage licenses. In order to get married you have to go to your church, mosque, or synagogue. What you get from the Registrar's office is a piece of paper that validates your domestic partnership. The partnership ensures all the same rights, privileges and benefits that the archaic marriage license would, but without the label.

It seems only logical that this would be the next step. You don't need a license for a bar mitzvah or a holy communion, so why should you need one for a religious marriage ceremony. If you want the government benefits of a marriage, straight or gay couples, register for a domestic partnership. If you decide you also want the ceremony and religious aspect, go to a church that will agree to do it. It's that simple.

The main argument against same sex marriage is a religious one, so lets take the religion out of it. If the opponents are still opponents, it's safe to say that these were the same people who opposed civil rights, equal gender pay, and basically anything else that goes against their bigoted view of the world.

Jesus said, "Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's." (Mark 12:17) If this isn't a call, straight from Jesus' mouth, for separation of church and state, I don't know what is. Why not lead by his example and grant equality based on the fact that we are all the same species, instead of pointing out the most miniscule differences between us in order to exploit them. Human rights are not bound by religion, but by our own petty squabbles and insecurities. It's time to end the oppression of our homosexual brothers and sisters.

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