Yeah, I know, clickbait title.
I was at work today, and ended up filling in for someone where I could see the newspapers. Apparently the big topic on Tuesday (or weds in the paper) was the Supreme Court reviewing the cases involving Gay Marriage. So I might be a bit late with all this, but I wanted to write some thoughts down.
Two of the issues were the fact that the definition of marriage has been universally between a man and a woman (even with polygamy or polyandry, it’s still the case) for thousands of years. The other issue seems to be if marriage is in fact a civil right, or just a social practice.
I’m going to start with the second one first.
If you’d asked me ten years ago if I thought Gay marriage was a good idea, I’d have said no. Ask me two years ago, and I’d have said yes. Now, though, while I still think gay marriages are fine…I’m not sure if I’d call it a civil right they deserve. Mostly because after the whole RFRA thing where the GLBT community largely threw all their minority religious brethren under the bus, I’m reevaluating things. And I am a religious person, and both the religions I work with had a pretty traditional view of marriage, even if Rome had a very open mind about homosexual practices.
When it comes to the USA, we have Civil Rights and everyone is equally entitled to these civil rights. However, if you look at those civil rights, they are all based around the Individual. Marriage, however…isn’t an individual thing. We, as a society, have never said that an individual has the right to be married. We have said they have the legal frame work to get married. We have even said that it is illegal to not let mixed race couples marry. We have said it’s okay for a consenting man and a consenting woman to get married.
But is Marriage truly a civil right, because after all we do not say an individual has the right to be married.
For those thinking I’m splitting hairs and being childish, let me illustrate.
Let’s take a man (we’ll call him Steve). Let’s say that Steve meets a woman (called Kate). Steve proposes to Kate, but Kate says no (let’s say because she’s Catholic and Steve is an atheist). Now, we have laws that state one cannot discriminate based on religion…so ask yourself, should a court hear a case stating that Kate violated Steve’s civil rights by discriminating against him because of his religion by refusing to marry him?
Let’s take it further, let’s say that Kate thought Steve was an asshole, or in a different scenario that Kate was a lesbian. In either of those situation, has Kate violated Steve’s civil rights?
If we say that marriage is in fact a civil right, then we go from a situation in which people can chose to get married if they want, to a situation where (like speaking their mind or owning a gun) an individual now has the right to be married. And there’s a difference between saying someone can get married and someone is owed a marriage. Because that’s what a civil right is, it is something you are owed because you are a citizen of the USA, like the ability to freely speak your mind, own a weapon, or not be searched and seized unreasonably.
See, the argument has been that heterosexual people have a civil right in the form of marriage. But no heterosexual person has the right to force another to marry them. There are heterosexual people who never get married for that reason. So clearly, it’s hard to argue from that vantage point that heterosexual people have a civil right in marriage…if they cannot enforce that right.
If there is any civil right in the realm of marriage, it seems to be the civil right of divorce, come to think of it. In fact, the fact that the right to leave a marriage is pretty much a civil right kind of makes it such that marriage is not in fact a civil right because if you have the right to be married…then your partner leaving you would violate your civil rights. Since clearly such has never entered legal precedent to my knowledge, or has and has been quickly struck down, I can safely say that marriage is not in fact a civil right for heterosexual people.
So then, let’s say that the Supreme Court legalizes Gay Marriage, they would then make marriage a civil right.
At which point, Steve could sue Kate for discrimination.
Think about that.
One person could then essentially force another person to marry them because upon refusal they could lose everything in the ensuing court battle. After all, being single isn’t a civil right. One could say that the ability to not be forced into a marriage is a right we recognize…but that’s because an individuals right to self determination means one cannot be forced into contracts against one’s will. That’s pretty much the entire argument against forced marriages. But if you make marriage a civil right, you severely weaken, if not outright destroy, that argument.
And you do it, entirely because of the GLBT community.
Who have argued that an individuals objections to religious ceremonies they do not agree with is no excuse not to be forced into those ceremonies. You see, just because a Christian baker doesn’t support gay marriage is no excuse for him not to be forced to engage and support a Gay couple/individuals civil right to marriage. Any attempt to protect said baker has been maligned as homophobic and discriminatory. They’ve been working to make it such so that there are no legal protections to avoiding religious ceremonies you object too.
It’s hardly a step to then use the same argument on an individual who doesn’t want to get married to another. After all, the person they’re objecting too has the civil right to be married. Marriage is a religious ceremony. And since people are not allowed to discriminate in a way that violates the civil rights of another…you remove the word No from the vocabulary when it comes to marriage proposals. And arguing that “hey, i can’t be forced to perform in a religious ceremony I disagree with,” is out, so….
So, you can understand, this concerns me with claiming Marriage a civil right, or at least changing the present definition of marriage in terms of civil rights. Because as one of the Justices said (I think it was Kennedy) we are talking about changing a millennia old idea.
To make it even worse (or at least assholish) the Gay Marriage advocate lawyer (when asked about how changing the definition might lead to polygamy or other marriages being acceptable) the GLBT lawyer flat out stated “we don’t want those/recognize those forms of marriage.”
So, you know, fuck bi-people.
I’ll probably ramble on this more later