The Gay Marriage Battle
I have been absorbed by the blog world. In particular the Ex-Mormon blog world. One of the blogs I have come to enjoy is Irresistible (Dis)Grace. I have found the author, Andrew, to be intelligent, respectful and eloquent. I agree with so much of what he writes and I enjoy his command for words; words that hold power and respect in balance. He has a protagonist named Seth who writes in opposition of whatever Andrew says. I don't ever agree with Seth but he is also respectful and intelligent.
Recently Andrew wrote about 'Gay Marriage'. I have some interest in this subject because I am gay and I have been in a committed relationship since 1997. I also know a thing or two about Mormonism and where many of the Mormon community are coming from. The string of comments on this post was interesting and it prompted me to write a comment as well.
Another blogger I enjoy is 'A Post-Mormon Life'. Post Mormon Girl has also recently posted about Gay Marriage. Thanks PMG :O).
I wish this battle would end (and by end I mean gays achieve the right to marry at a federal level and this arduous process of each state duking it out ceases). I look forward to the day, and I believe this day will come, when sexual orientation isn't an issue and there is no question of equality.
Below is the comment I wrote on Andrew's post:
IMO the gay marriage battle continues because some people believe being gay is wrong and others don't. The battle is primarily waged from these two camps. I have had numerous discussions with friends and spent countless hours trying to reason with those in the 'gay is bad camp' with no success. Their belief is so entrenched that the best I get is 'I love you but...' and eventually; I find myself grateful for that and I move on. I'm sure those friends feel the same way about me.
My thoughts, though not unique or new, are that we need to separate church from state. (Sound familiar?) Civil rights belong to the state and the definition of marriage belongs to church. Mind you church has a broad and very diverse definition in this country.
What if the civil rights and protections, that are now connected to marriage, were connected ONLY to civil unions and church/religion had absolutely nothing to do with the civil ceremony. What if there were no civil rights connected to the institution of marriage at all; what if marriage was an optional ceremony. Everyone wishing to be in a committed relationship and enjoy the many civil rights now afforded to marriage would have to have a civil union. The government would govern civil ceremonies/unions.
Everyone wishing to have a marriage could choose to do so in whatever church/temple/beach/vineyard they wanted. It wouldn't matter to some because there would be no rights or protections with marriage. Marriage would still carry special, and important, meaning to others based on individual beliefs. Churches would continue to choose who they will 'allow' to marry in their institutions and any couple desiring to get married could find a religion or secular venue that suits their belief system. Some people would choose not to marry at all because what is important to them is the commitment and the civil rights and privileges.
The legal requirement for civil rights would be shifted from religion to government and the spiritual and religious importance of marriage would be shifted from government to religion and individual belief.
What business does religion have in dolling out civil liberties and what business does government have in determining the meaning and importance of marriage?