Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Marriage II

I'm not interested in getting into a long political argument, but I would like to answer the following assertion left in a comment to my last post:
"Prop 8 is all about denying the equal right to marry to gay Americans. It has nothing to do with straight Americans."
We need to remember here that California law already recognizes civil unions between partners, regardless of sex, and extends to those unions all the rights and obligations of marriage. Proposition 8 does not change that. Those who favor same-sex marriage are not trying to gain legal equality--they already have legal equality in the eyes of the State. They are trying to change the very definition of marriage in our society.
With regards to the argument that the government should not be in the business of defining marriage, I agree wholheartedly. That is what Proposition 8 is all about. This past may, the Government of California, represented by the judicial branch, took it upon itself to change the definition of marriage for the people of California. Proposition 8 is the people's response, in the form of a constitutional amendment, preserving for ourselve the traditional definition of marriage. The constitution, remember, is not an instrument of the government; it is an instrument of the people, through which our government is organized and restrained. Government is necessary, but it is to be the servant of the people.
Think about it. Before all of the political debate in the past few years, if you went up to any person on the street and asked them to define the word marriage, what answer do you think you would have received? Wouldn't it have been something along the lines of "A union between a man and a woman that establishes a new family unit." Isn't that still the way most of us think of marriage? Is it really reasonable to think that a small minority who want the term marriage to mean something different should be able to change that definition for everyone?
But why does it matter? Look around you. American marriages are suffering, American families are suffering, from a trend that, for several decades, has weakened marriage. Quick and easy divorce, increasing cohabitation, a rate of births to unwed mothers approaching 40% (and much higher than that in some segments of society), increasing numbers of children growing up fatherless--don't these impact our society? We should be doing everything we can to encourage strong marriages among those who are bringing into the world and rearing our next generation of children. The traditional concept of marriage, as the union between a man and a woman who will be father and mother working jointly for the good of the family, needs to be maintained and strengthened. We cannot dilute it by widening the definition of marriage to include any and all relationships consenting adults might feel fit to enter into.
OK, stepping down off my soap box and no offense intended to anyone with differing opinions...

1 comment:

Kelley said...

I don't think it's about offense or anything else except that marriage and family is the most basic, fundamental unit of society. How can we hope to continue having a strong society if we do not protect the most basic part of it?