Democrat and Independent Thinker..."The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself." -Nietzsche

Commenting on many things, including..."A government more dangerous to our liberty, than is the enemy it claims to protect us from." - Keith Olbermann

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Cultural Custom

I recently saw an ad attacking Jeannette Jamison (D-GA) stating she voted "against traditional marriage" by voting for gay marriage. Pray tell, how is a vote for gay marriage a vote against traditional marriage?

Will all the marriages between men and women be instantly nullified or require divorce? Will passing legislation to allow life partners to inherit joint property when their partners die, or even make medical decisions if they become incapacitated, or be notified as next of kin, immediately and irrevocably mean that straight men will no longer be sexually attracted to females and want to form a permanent union and vice versa? No. The legalization of gay marriage or legal unions will not affect one single, solitary straight marriage in this country, nor even the world, as the world knows since most industrialized nations already allow it, in one form or another. One more thing Republican domination of Congress has made us fall behind in: basic human rights.

The only possible argument against legal unions of non-heterosexuals is that some heterosexuals find it offensive. Some blame the Bible in a futile attempt to disguise their homophobia.

Well, guess what? There are a lot of things in life that are offensive. I'm offended when I'm at a restaurant or movie and a child starts screaming and his parents do nothing to quiet him. I want the police to come and take the child away from them and give them to a couple who will make him behave. Let's legislate that. I'm offended when I'm standing in line behind someone with body odor. Let's make a law and lock him up. Shall we abolish all freedoms?

If we legislate on the federal level for every thing any group finds offensive, we will have a enormous government far beyond our wildest imaginings. We’ll all have to go to work for the government. We will be living in Terry Gilliam’s “Brazil”. China will have to completely fund us so that we will be free to legislate one another’s every move.

That is what conservatives stand for, right? Giant government and fiscal irresponsibility must be their campaign slogans, otherwise, how would they explain the Homeland Security Department, and the gi-normous federal deficit?

The truth is that marriage is and always has been a custom. Unlike today, many, many, many centuries ago, before people were able to even write, people did have sense. Actually, common sense. If people said they were married, and kept saying they were married, society accepted them as legally married. Period.

Although most Christians began marrying in ceremony in church around 500AD, the Roman Catholics didn’t define it as a sacrament until the 12th century, and circa 1560 at the Council of Trent, required Catholic marriages to be witnessed by a priest. Everyone else continued to marry however they chose, whether in church or not. The Marriage Act of 1753 in Britain didn’t even apply to Colonial America.

By not challenging common-law marriages in the 11 states where it is still permitted in the United States, the federal government passively acknowledges that marriage is a cultural custom, and as such, the Supreme Court should have no comment on the matter. Marriage laws are entirely within the purview of the states. If common-law marriages are legal, even if the couple relocates to one of the other 39 states, then every state in the union in effect recognizes marriage as a cultural custom.

The fact that so many states are scrambling around trying to make marriage only between a man and a woman legal, it goes to show that the laws, as written, do not define it as such. Therefore, as I see it, an argument could certainly be made that marriage is a cultural custom and the laws concerning marriage do not specify the sex of the parties, therefore, gay marriage is already legal.

I think gay and lesbian couples ought to be presenting themselves as married couples in common law states, and/or being married in front of witnesses in whatever way they choose. When their unions are not acknowledged by other legal entities, then they should challenge them as violating their civil rights and/or legal unions as defined by state laws. And keep doing so, over and over and over.

When it is established within our culture that there exists a custom for homosexuals to marry, then overwhelming public opinion will require legislation to support it. It’s up to the gay community to normalize gay marriage so that the rest of society will accept it as normal and customary.

However, by that time, marriage itself may no longer be so common as to be a cultural custom, if it keeps declining. Cal Thomas attributes the falling number of people who are married to the media. Yes, the media.

No comments: