Saturday, April 6, 2013

Gay Marriage

I've put a lot of thought into the question of gay marriage over the years, and the recent Supreme Court hearings have brought it into the public spotlight once again. I doubt anyone cares to hear my opinion, but I'm going to give it anyway.

First off, go read this post about the difference between Traditional and Emerging marriage. This effectively sets the stage for my arguments, and it helps. If you are too lazy, he basically argues that Traditionalists see marriage as permanent, family oriented, gender driven, committed relationships, while Reformers see marriage as personal commitments of love which are about the individuals. His explanation is better, but he clearly favors one side, and his bias shows in his explanation of Emerging marriage. He also fails to include the observation that Traditional marriage, over the course of history, has often failed to taken the wife's needs into consideration, to the point where in many relationships in many cultures women are or were treated as little more than property and had little say in their own lifetime commitments to men.

Personally, I find that most people are looking for some combination of the two: social stability, personal happiness, long term commitment, and love. We want it all. I think this is inherently difficult, and should be. A great marriage should be something worth striving for, something that all of us can work toward achieving each day.

Statistically, homosexual relationships last for a shorter period of time than heterosexual ones. I suspect this has to do with the lack of formal marriage available to them. Additionally, I find the push toward marriage in their culture to be a subtle recognition that their emerging marriage culture is missing something, and that they have something to learn from the Traditionalists.

While Homosexual marriage is at a clear disadvantage with society and stability, their advantage in gender equality is even clearer. There are no traditional roles they can cling to or fight against. Each couple must instead define their own rules, custom designed for the individuals involved. This should be how heterosexual couples behave as well; a recent study demonstrates that many women would rather get a divorce than be a housewife under the constructed gender norms of our grandparents. Ultimately each couple should be finding a balance that works for them, as every couple is different and demonstrates love, affection, and need in different ways.

So, to return to the original question, what do I think about Gay Marriage?

I think it is an intense question, and impossible to see the precise societal outcomes which will stem from the Supreme Court decision, whatever it ends up being. I think that the cultural push toward the allowance of Gay Marriage is actually a push in the direction of Traditional Marriage, rather than toward Emerging Marriage, and that many of these couples have individually recognized the need for more stable relationship forms than they currently have available. I think that drawing legal distinctions based on sexual proclivities and religious ideology is dangerous and shameful. I think that just as they have something to learn about Marriage from the couples celebrating their 50th anniversaries, so to do we have something to learn about marriage from the couples who are willing to fight tooth and nail for the chance to legally sanction their marriage in the eyes of the law. I think we need to open our minds to new ideas, open our hearts to embrace others, and open our mouths to speak out for what we believe.

It isn't easy, but it really isn't complicated.

1 comment:

  1. If Facebook is any indication, a followup to this post is needed. I will be doing that soon.