Sunday, July 29, 2012

Rights vs. Semantics

I probably should keep my mouth shut, but when has that ever been my MO? I have been very stressed and upset over some of the issues out there, and have been pondering this for some time. I’m not gay, so I’ve probably got this wrong, but it seems to me my gay friends are upset over rights and discrimination. And the “traditionalists” are upset over a definition. I won’t even discuss the right or wrong of homosexuality – because that is not the issue.

The reason they end up on opposite sides is because the government has bestowed rights and created different rules based on their own granting of a status called “married”. Two adults who are not related can get this status by purchasing a license from the government and having it signed off on by someone licensed to do so. This marriage license then gets filed with the government and is the basis for tax breaks, insurance discounts, social security benefits, and other rights afforded to what normally would go to only close relatives (basically being married makes these two people legally related as the closest possible “next of kin”). Currently this status is reserved for an adult couple made up of a man and a woman. It’s assumed that these two people are committing to a lifelong relationship and that they love each other – although that is not required.

This is a bogus enterprise by the government. Any two adults should be allowed to “adopt” each other legally. It should have nothing to do with gender or even love. It doesn’t even have to be a “consummated” relationship. I think the only restriction would be that you can only be in one of these type relationships at any given time.

The problem traditionalists have with this is using the term “marriage”, which for most is a sacred institution – the term itself specifically used to describe the joining of a man and woman in a covenant relationship before God, with all kinds of Biblical references, etc. Unfortunately, marriage as a sacred institution is practically dead already – the “sanctity of marriage” has become a joke – and I think this is what the real outcry is about. The last shred of that meaning would be completely and finally lost.

Again, it’s the confusion between the “sacred marriage” and the “legal marriage” that is the problem. The legal government issued status should be renamed and redefined. I should be able to have the person I want to have at my bedside in the ICU – but if it has to be “legally” family, then give me the hoops to jump through to make it legal and call it whatever you want.

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