America was created for one reason: personal liberty. One jewel; many facets. This has been our mantra since the beginning. It is our rock and our foundation. With this, Americans have proven again and again that there is nothing we cannot do, both individually and collectively.
Since our beginning, there have been those who’ve attempted to muddy the waters of liberty for their own benefit; to get the currents to flow stronger in the direction of their preference, which invariably leaves others in stagnant water. Our focus and efforts should be upon ensuring that the waters remain clear; that since every man (and woman) is indeed created equal, he should have the very same rights as every other.
Unfortunately, this has run into a bit of a snag as it relates to matrimony. Surely, the government has historically provided incentive (tax breaks, inheritance of property, etc) for citizens to create households and families, which help to create social order. But now, society is in a position to call linto question the fairness of such an act and to find a solution in which homosexuals, too, can enjoy the same status as married couples, as it pertains to those tax breaks, inheritance rights, beneifts, insurance, etc.
Great debate has ensued; it’s everywhere you look in the media. The religious hold tight to the traditional definition of marriage – that of a man and a woman. In fact, the term matrimony itself is derived from latin, meaning “Mother”, “in the manner of”. In other words, it is by definition centered around producing a family. While that may have been the original purpose of matrimony, many today get married without having children, for many reasons.
Marriage predates religion as we know it: it has always been and it has always held procreation and property inheritance rights as its chief purpose. It is a societal, social contract, which not until later did organized religion begin to sanctify; to confirm and bless. Still later, governments, in order to keep track of their citizens (name changes, etc) began to license (or tax) marriages, as from that day forward, the couple would be legally one unit and at least one name would be legally changed. The government needed to register and track these changes for legal purposes. Still later, the above-mentioned tax breaks, benefits, insurance breaks, etc came to be for married couples. This brings us to where we are today.
As you can see, marriage does not truly belong to the government, nor does it truly belong to the church; the government may license it and the church may bless it, but marriage itself actually belongs to the couple; it is a contract between one another and with society.
Why, then, do religion and government argue about which of them holds dominion over the right to enter into these contracts? Here in America, of all places, they both claim the right to dictate who may or may not be married? What ever happened to liberty? They don’t own that right; we do!
Obviously, the gay community feels its rights are being trampled upon – this goes without saying – but even they may be missing the mark regarding marriage, for they’re thinking only of themselves and their desires, rather than society as a whole. Ironically, thinking of the big picture could get them what they’re after by default.
The Government: while it should retain the right to license these civil unions, should not – cannot – be allowed a position where it can dictate who may or may not enter into them.
The Church: while it should retain the right to choose which unions it will or will not sanctify, should not – cannot – be allowed a position where it can dictate who may or may not enter into these unions.
The Final Solution: Civil Unions for All
In America, we are certain that we are all created equal. Thus, if any one adult may enjoy the benefits of a civil union (legal union with another adult), then all adults, legally, must be allowed to do the same:
- Heterosexual couples
- Homosexual couples
- Heterosexual same-sex partners (widows/widowers, confirmed bachelors/spinsters)
- Homosexual opposite-sex partners
- Best friends, platonic or otherwise
In other words, ANY two consenting adults should, by our American philosophy of personal liberty and fairness, be allowed to enter into legal, civil(state) union(legal partnership) and enjoy the legal and societal benefits of same. The government should license it and register ALL unions between any two consenting adults as civil unions. The churches, of course, may opt whether or not to sanctify/bless them at their own discretion, which it has a right to do.
Like any historical civil union, once legally entered into, it must be legally respected and, should one decide to dissolve it, they must legally divorce. The game doesn’t change; the only difference is that now everyone is equally allowed to play.
This is, ultimately, the only way to ensure that ALL American men and women – who indeed are created equally – actually get treated equally. Heterosexual couples have their rights; gay couples have theirs, and everyone else gets theirs, too.
As for “marriage” itself… well, last time I looked, it wasn’t copyrighted. Everyone’s legally allowed to refer to their own civil union as a marriage if they see fit. After all, it’s the couple who actually makes a marriage, anyway.