Today kicks off Freedom to Marry Week a subject close to my heart.
I am a licensed minister, which means by the powers vested in me by the state of California, once I mutter some mumbo jumbo/hocus pocus over a two people of the opposite sex and sign their license, they are entitled to 400 civil rights in California and an additional 1,100-plus federal rights.
It doesn’t matter really who says those words–me, the Pope or Pastor Rick. What matters is that the piece of paper is filled out correctly and mailed in to the county within 90 days so it can be registered and recorded, and that certified copies are available to mail to whomever, whenever required for insurance benefits and fishing licenses. That piece of paper is only a civil contract.
While in Washington DC I got taken to tea by a religion professor who told me that the purpose of marriage was to insure reproduction. Wow, last I checked you could in fact get pregnant without a marriage license. Just look at Nadya Suleman. The purpose of a marriage license is to control who is allowed to get married and to insure the orderly, state sanctioned transfer of property between individuals.
Even Sarah Palin admitted that marriage is a business contract.
[T]here are definitely gonna be tough parts in marriage. You have to look at those tough times and remember that you have essentially a business contract with this person. You’ve signed an agreement: You’re going to be together. And you look at it that way as you work through the tough times, because I guarantee the better time is there on the other side. That’s how we’ve looked at it.
Mmmm..I’m kinda not seeing the part about "only between a man and woman" that anti-marriage rights advocates toss around like a sacred pigskin. And since when can only one set of people enter into a business contract? To not allow certain classes or sets of people the right to enter into business relationships is discriminatory.
Years ago I had a discussion with a dear friend. I was working at a record company job with excellent insurance, and though he had insurance at his job, the cost of his HIV meds was still really high. Additionally, he had created a number of controversial art works and intellectual properties and was worried that if he suddenly took ill and died, his ultra-conservative family would burn decades of his creations. We bandied about the idea of a quickie wedding to deal with the medical costs and to help secure his creations until he could set up a will and a trust, but abandoned it since I got laid off just a couple weeks later and an attorney offered to help him pro-bono. I would have done it, even though it would have made seriously dating anyone less bohemian a bit complicated ("Well, I’m married, my husband lives about three miles away–it’s in name only and I am looking for a committed monogamous relationship…."), but then I have never seen the legal concept of marriage as anything more than a simple business transaction.
The spiritual aspect of marriage is a far different beast, full of magic and mystery. Part of that magic and mystery is how to maintain the magic and mystery through dirty socks on the floor, undone dishes, disapproving relatives, illnesses–all of life’s rich tapesty of play, pain, passion, and pleasure. No mere license grants that.
It’s time those opposed to same-sex marriage drop their precious word association and realize that there should be one piece of paper that grants the same rights across the board to all adults. And leave the magic and mystery to participants.