Friday, June 20, 2008

Marriage

“Mawage. Mawage is wot bwings us togeder tooday. Mawage, that bwessed awangment, that dweam wifin a dweam...

“And wuv, tru wuv, will fowow you foweva... So tweasure your wuv. . . ”

~ The Impressive Clergyman, The Princess Bride (1997)

One of the best scenes in the whole movie, the Princess Bride was a well written screen play. Lately, a lot of attention has been pressed toward marriage. Seriously, heterosexuals haven't done a superior job of holding this sacred rite very sacred. What is the statistic now? Something like 50% of all marriages end in divorce, the rest in death?

OK, here's an actual statistic. It depends on to whom you speak or more appropriately which study you decide to read. 50% percent of first, 67% of second and 74% of third marriages end in divorce, according to one study done by Forest Institute of Professional Psychology in Springfield, Missouri. This might be high. I have a tendency to want to believe their numbers aren't exactly right. That is just me. Looking at these numbers, you'd have to believe that divorce is not the taboo subject it used to be. I do not agree with anyone who would judge someone for getting divorced. Luckily, or by design, I have not had to deal directly with divorce. I have friends, however, that have.

The religious right holds marriage to be a sacred partnership between a man and a woman. I believe much the same way. As I consider these things, I am morally opposed to changing what marriage is. Politics aside and without any consideration to what the government should or should not do, that is how I feel.

The liberals, as I understand it, have been going down a road of secularism that would never find a problem with personal choices such as abortion, marriage, gay rights, etc. As I consider these things, I am politically opposed to the government deciding for me what is moral and what is immoral. The conservatives do not hold a monopoly on attempts to put such legislation through, where the government is given moral responsibilities. liberal and conservative alike have their pet morality issues.

So, I have a significant problem on my hands. My moral beliefs conflict with my political conscience. This is not new. Abortion, to me, is abhorrent in most cases; however, how can I charge the government with deciding what is and what is not acceptable since there are no real guidelines that will make it clearly decipherable.

I believe in free agency. There is no such thing as unfettered free agency - there is always forces that influence the decision making process. I also, however, believe in responsibility and consequences. Our decisions will have consequences, good or bad. These consequences should not be mitigated through legislation, which is why I am perplexed by certain law makers who want to provide special help to those who are being hurt by the mortgage crisis. The only people who are in this situation are there because of financial decisions they should have reconsidered.

Marriage between a man and a man. Marriage between a woman and a woman. Morally, I am opposed because morally I am opposed to the relationship in the first place. Conversely, I have to wonder if it is right for the state to impose my morals on other people. I am very sensitive to others pushing their beliefs on me. Where does this leave me? If it is OK for me to impose my morality on others, then it becomes OK for others to do the same to me...

Should the State be responsible for enforcing moral values? What values are we enforcing? All laws are based in some way or another on moral values. There is no exceptions.

What is the purpose of Marriage? Does that purpose translate into the relationship a same-sex couple would have? You see, I think this is probably where the lines blur. The purposes of marriage are varied depending on who you ask. According to some, the purpose of marriage is merely a state sanctioned promise of commitment and companionship. If this is what a marriage is, then it is certainly something a same-sex couple might want. The state provides certain benefits to those who are married. I'm not going to list those benefits as I do not have space for them here. According to a report given to the Office of the General Counsel of the U.S. General Accounting Office, here are a few of the 1,138 benefits the United States government provides to legally married couples. Is the purpose of being married to gain access to these benefits? Again, if this is the case, same-sex couples could conceivably achieve this end.

What is the purpose of Marriage? “[The purpose of marriage] is to bear children and rear a family (Gospel Ideals (1953), 466–67).” If this is the purpose of marriage, the only purpose of marriage, it leaves out those who cannot bear children, which includes same-sex couples.

What is the purpose of Marriage?

I am glad that I do not have to decide this for anyone but myself. Come November, however, there is going to be a proposition on the California ballot. I will not take this lightly but I have a lot of thinking to do before I place my vote on the ballot and slip the ballot into a box on my way out of the polling station.
Post a Comment