Here are my thoughts on gay marriage published in TODAY February, 2004. I am soooo far ahead of the curve on this one! (Ouch! I dislocated my shoulder trying to pat myself on the back!) Plus, the idea of an expiring/renewable marriage license is nothing short of brilliant!
What is a marriage?
In the eyes of the law, marriage is a union between a man and a woman. But in San Francisco, that law has changed. Newly elected Mayor Gavin Newsom recently lifted a ban on gay marriages. So far more than 3,000 same-sex couples have legally tied the knot.
But gay marriages in San Francisco may not be allowed for much longer. Several conservative groups have filed suit against the city, and the State of California is also trying to re-enforce the ban on gay marriages. “The Governator” is against it. San Francisco’s city elders have filed a counter-suit claiming that the government is violating the civil rights of its gay citizens.
The question here isn’t one of should gays be allowed to marry. It should be a question of why aren’t they allowed already. Our Constitution promises every citizen the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. A certain segment of our citizenry is homosexual – it always has been and it always will be. Some people are just…gay. Yet the powers behind most government and religious institutions still refuse to recognize these citizens as equals.
Committed gay couples are entitled to the same legal benefits as married heteros; namely, some tax breaks for maintaining a home together, additional breaks if you have kids. That’s only fair – anybody who helps raise a child or maintain a piece of property in this country deserves those benefits, be they married or single, gay or straight. The Constitution also states “all men are created equal” yet they are rarely treated that way in America.
1,2,3 … What Are We Fightin’ For?
That being said, what is it the gay community really fighting for? The right to further complicate their already complex relationships by legally binding themselves to one another? How long after we hear about the first gay marriage will we hear about the first gay divorce? How will this impact our already-overwhelmed family courts?
Several years ago I wrote a column suggesting that we could reduce our nation’s high divorce rate by having marriage licenses expire after five years. A marriage would continue only upon the mutual agreement of both partners. Now, after examining the issues raised by gay marriage, I’d like to take that idea a step further – abolish marriage licenses all together. I’m not comfortable with the idea of any politician deciding who can get married and who can’t. The government shouldn’t sanction who people love. It’s not what we elected these people to do, and it’s not what the Constitution of this country intended.
Gays are fighting hard to have their relationships legally validated. Their efforts would be better spent trying to reform tax and insurance laws that would benefit any couple with a home and family. If a couple of single moms decide to buy a house together, they should get the same tax breaks as any man/woman couple who are homeowners and parents. Who cares what goes on in the bedrooms of these people? Nobody should question or pass judgement on anyone else’s sexual preference in this, “the land of the free.” Yet our nation’s leaders do it routinely. That’s why the government should get out of the marriage business.
And the gay community should realize that a marriage has very little to do with the documents that make it official or declare it null and void.
Originally published Wayne TODAY, February 2004