Nor is the debate, at least currently, about the civil aspects of marriage: we are moving toward a consensus that same-sex couples and opposite-sex couples ought to enjoy equal civil rights.The leaders of both major political parties appeared to endorse this position during the 2008 presidential campaign, although only a handful of states have legalized civil unions with material privileges equivalent to those of marriage.
Nor is the debate, at least currently, about the civil aspects of marriage: we are moving toward a consensus that same-sex couples and opposite-sex couples ought to enjoy equal civil rights.The leaders of both major political parties appeared to endorse this position during the 2008 presidential campaign, although only a handful of states have legalized civil unions with material privileges equivalent to those of marriage.Tags: Personal Statement For Scholarship EssayFinancial Plan For Small BusinessBless Me Ultima Compare And Contrast EssaysAlec Couros DissertationAlcoholism Thesis PaperGoi International EssayEssays On StressAgainst Euthanasia EssayRole Of Media In Australia Essay
To get this privileged treatment under law people do not have to show that they are good people.
Convicted felons, divorced parents who fail to pay child support, people with a record of domestic violence or emotional abuse, delinquent taxpayers, drug abusers, rapists, murderers, racists, anti-Semites, other bigots, all can marry if they choose, and indeed are held to have a fundamental constitutional right to do so—so long as they want to marry someone of the opposite sex.
Analyzing this issue will help us understand what is happening in our country, and where we might go from here.
Before we approach the issue of same-sex marriage, we must define marriage.
The keys to the kingdom of the married might have been held only by private citizens—religious bodies and their leaders, families, other parts of civil society.
So it has been in many societies throughout history.Although some religions urge premarital counseling and refuse to marry people who seem ill-prepared for marriage, the state does not turn such people away.The most casual whim may become a marriage with no impediment but for the time it takes to get a license.But much of the officially sanctioned marrying currently done in the United States is done on religious premises by religious personnel.What they are solemnizing (when there is a license granted by the state) is, however, not only a religious ritual, but also a public rite of passage, the entry into a privileged civic status.But marriage, it soon becomes evident, is no single thing. The institution of marriage houses and supports several distinct aspects of human life: sexual relations, friendship and companionship, love, conversation, procreation and child-rearing, mutual responsibility. (We have always granted marriage licenses to sterile people, people too old to have children, irresponsible people, and people incapable of love and friendship.Impotence, lack of interest in sex, and refusal to allow intercourse may count as grounds for divorce, but they don’t preclude marriage.) Marriages can exist even in cases where none of these is present, though such marriages are probably unhappy.This result has been seen by the same-sex community as deeply degrading.More recently, Iowa and Vermont have legalized same-sex marriage, the former through judicial interpretation of the state constitution, the latter through legislation. All across our country, in every region, every social class, every race and ethnicity, every religion or non-religion, people get married.For many if not most people, moreover, marriage is not a trivial matter.