A Proposition

To solve the great debate over marriage rights for gay people, I have a proposition.

There has been much discussion about marriage being a religious sacrament. For those raised in the Catholic faith, like my partner, that rings true. However, not everyone, whether heterosexual or homosexual, views marriage this way.

My proposition is that to allow marriage to continue to be viewed as a religious sacrament; however, that requires that any couple united by a church officiant is considered married by law. Note that MANY faiths are beginning to recognize, acknowledge, and provide the sacrament of marriage to gay couples. Therefore, these gay couples would be legally recognized as married.

For those who don't want to be united by the church, these couples, both heterosexual and homosexual, would have basically what we would call a civil marriage or civil union (to appease all palates). However, whether it is called a civil union or marriage is purely a technicality and a reference to the environment in which the union was performed, because both would carry the same benefits.

Is this a reasonable solution? What are your thoughts?


At 08:58, Blogger kb1381 said...

It has some appeal to me because it respects everyone's deeply held convictions. But the problem is, social conservatives will never go for it. They will assert that if 'any' gay marriage is legal in this country, then religions and denominations will eventually be forced to marry gay people, and sanction gay marriages, even when their basic doctrinal tenets are opposed to such. And because of the way the constitution and the legal system work, they may have a point.

What do you think of getting the government out of marriage entirely as this fellow suggests?
I think this might be the best way to go, to keep everyone happy (or at least keep everyone from being too unhappy). What do you think?

For what it's worth, I believe gay marriage is coming relatively soon, one way or an other. The culture is trending towards it. It seems so to this straight guy anyway (but I must admit I've just talked to a few gay people, monitored pop culture here and there, and watched half an episode of Will and Grace, so I may not know what the hell I'm talking about).

At 12:40, Blogger Grog said...

I see two significant issues with this type of model:

1) Unless you explicitly remove the government from recognition of religious marriage in any form, you create an environment where privilege can be conferred based on whether a priest married someone or a public notary. (In other words, you must explicitly DENY government the right to legislate with respect to the word "marriage")

2) While I agree that a distinction between the legal notion of marriage and the spiritual notion is legitimate, I worry a little that this kind of separation of construct creates a massive problem with existing law, which is riddled with the word "marriage" all over the place, and would have to be correctly amended. This could create a serious logistical nightmare for lawyers - especially in the United States where the body of law is highly fragmented from locality to locality.

At 17:33, Blogger Jerry Maneker said...

Hi Callie: I think, rather than change age-old definitions of "marriage," it's not only easier, but better for the acquisition of full and equal civil and sacramental rights for lesbians and gay men that the term "marriage" be used when a same-sex couple decides to make a lifetime commitment to each other. To do otherwise, still puts same-sex love in a place that's viewed as "inferior," and "different" than love between heterosexuals. Also, I truly believe that once marriage rights are won, all other civil and sacramental rights will be won, as "marriage" is the gateway civil and sacramental right that will carry all the other rights along with it. The bottom line is that LGBT people are to be treated just as heterosexual people are treated, with no distinctions.

At 22:04, Blogger Justin Case said...

Nice post. I wrote about this today in my own blog... and then I went looking to see what others think. And wound up here.

Basically, I think the problem is that America is stuck in a circular debate where the two sides are arguing different things. The gay mariage supporters are talking about LEGAL marriage... and the anti-gay marriage folks are talking about SOCIAL marriage.

As long as they are arguing about two different points, they will never reach the logical middle ground.

Marriage needs to be a legal right for ALL Americans. To not do so is outright discrimination. But hey... if some want to look down their noses at gay marriage, that is their right too, socially.


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