Tuesday, November 18, 2008

More on the idea of legally abolishing "marriage"

Or, "How to Content a Bigot"....


(Comment: "A secular marriage ceremony followed by a religious one, if desired, would not upset me. However, it should be called "marriage" regardless of the gender of the partners. [...]")

Date: November 17th, 2008 09:58 pm (local)

Thank you. I am so bloody tired of people thinking that all the problems of this area will be solved by removing the word "marriage" from civil law and leaving it to the churches -- we have civil marriage as an option anyhow, and it is currently under no religion's dictates just because it uses the word "marriage."

There's apparently a lot of people who don't understand the distinction between "secular" and "religious"....that in itself could use a good deal more public clarification.

(Comment from OP of entry (not same as above): "You'd be surprised. In discussion, I have found some hard core bigots to be quite content with this solution. I've also found zealots to be happy, too. I am not saying their reaction is typical because I haven't talked to enough of them but don't assume.")

Date: November 18th, 2008 07:20 am (local)

In which case they're content because they're still keeping "marriage" publically away from somebody else -- afterall, they can still use the term among themselves as much as they want, since they get both levels according to both (their) church and state. Not that I care overly to please them, of course, when they're not even an injured/oppressed party in the least.

The only way in which default civil unions could ever work out as an equitable solution is if enough openminded faiths and philosophical denominations (of all kinds, especially non-traditional and pagan and even atheist) got into the "marriage business" enough to make the distinction a moot point (as it really should be) so far as social interaction -- thereby reinstating the understanding of civil marriage by default, and taking away the assumed superiority of the religious interpretation. But then, why take so long to arrive at the same place in terms of implicit communication?

As I've said, most heterosexual people (and people in general) just understand "marriage" as being exactly what it looks like, and "gay marriage" as being the logical expansion of "(regular) marriage." They may have a problem with that or not, but I'm pretty sure that they would have a hard time with the linguistics of getting civil-unionated, civilly unionized, civilly united (as opposed to uncivilly?), or whatever else they've have to call it without having the option of (religiously defined) marriage as well to define themselves. If they didn't have that to fall back on, you can bet they'd be hopping mad at all the bending over backwards just to avoid saying "marriage." (And so should anyone be, to have that dangled on a string above their heads.)

These people you've talked to just haven't actually had to look at the situation from the other side where they didn't have an upper hand to pride themselves on. Kinda ignoring that whole supposed 'Golden Rule' thing, you know.

(Comment: "In which case they're content because they're still keeping "marriage" publically away from somebody else."
Yup. They are happy because their church would forbid it and they like that. However, there are plenty of churches which don't forbid it, which they don't seem to mind so much.

Don't forget that extreme dominionists are torn. They want to take over the government and, at the same time, have the government out of their lives. The idea of the government getting out of church matters is something that appeals to them, when it suits.

And to me. I don't think the government should be recognizing marriages in the first place, as I do see it as a church institution.

Again, I can't speak statistically from my few conversations but from what I've seen, I would say you are going to have to wait for a whole generation to die off before you will successfully get the majority of society to accept same-sex marriage recognized by the government.

It's the old who keep being the most stubborn. They will never get beyond "Marriage is between a man and a woman." Those I've talked to are not smart, they are not sophisticated, they are not tolerant, they cannot reason why this should be other than "It's always been that way." Don't bother to quote history; they don't read beyond ten word bullet lines. Don't bother to bring up our Constitution; they don't understand it in the first place.

I have tried every line of reasoning, argument, and emotional appeal that I can think of or have ever heard of. They just keep repeating, like parrots, "It's always been that way." So, IMHO, there needs to be a different solution; this one seems to work for most people and it satisfies me because it does grant equal rights from the government. Working on further progress would not need to stop but it would be a huge step in the right direction.

Date: November 19th, 2008 03:42 am (local)

Yes, old people are stubborn, and hardening of the brain in any case is not favourable to the progress of civil rights. I hope that a lot of those stubborn old people die off, leave the voting population, 'meet their Maker,' and have a chance to realize just how wrong they've been.

Seeing as I know that marriage is not primarily a religious institution, though, I really don't see any reason to cobble a compromise by eliminating the (existing) institution of civil marriage. Not only because it's giving the ignorantly stubborn what they want, but because it is a step backwards in terminology that will be cited as a precedent to block -- not continue -- the progress of recognizing marriage on an equal footing for all. "Marriage" will continue to be a term of contention in common language until it is made quite clear in the most-public spheres of discourse that marriage did not begin under the aegis of religion, and that no religion has the right to control it in the secular/civil sphere. Religions may formalize the compatibility or recognition of marriages (whether voluntary or arranged), but only among the Moonies and the Mormons, I think, has religion ever been used as the primary motivation for marriage in general. And the functional purposes that marriage serves -- formalization of an intimate sexual/emotional connection, mutual support through life and the potential rearing of children -- are neither religious in their inherent nature nor limited in their validity to heterosexual couples. As for property rights and the transfer of wealth, that's socioeconomic; the imperative to have children and continue the family (species), that's instinctual and animal. Won't get me any points from Creationists, but (to quote Galileo) "it still moves."

Which is why I don't, can't and won't buy the argument that "marriage" should be left to the various religions to define -- they don't own it in the first place, any of them or all of them; they just happen to have built up a lot of rules and rituals and mythology and cultural assumptions about it and around it. Accept theological claims to own marriage as literally valid, and we're forced to either play by religious rules or jump out of their way and make an anything-but-"marriage" detour -- but they're wrong, is the thing, and I'm not going to support letting them define any of the terms unilaterally when they are not actually entitled to.

As it's said, "He who defines the terms wins the argument" -- which means that the only way to make same-sex marriage legally recognized and fully accepted in general society is by the pro-equality side successfully reframing and clarifying what exactly "marriage" actually means and doesn't mean for civilization. We won't win over everyone through logic, of course, but as long as enough people can be persuaded by the unrelenting barragement of non-paranoid truth and reason, I don't give a hang about conciliating the diehard bigots. Sooner or later, they'll have to suck it up and deal with reality.


If this particular thread continues any further, I'll add on the rest of it here (as I have been doing), as it's an interesting sociological topic. If it doesn't, then no matter -- I'm sure that any real live bigot who wanders by this blog -- it's happened before -- will give me some entertainment by vomiting up some verbose allcaps-laden religious tractage, or (if slightly less fanatical and more rational) a foundationless appeal to sheer tradition and/or biology as sufficient reason to petrify and/or regress the status quo.

Yes, I actually do know I'm right on this. My mind is not going to change or capitulate away from demanding marriage equality by name, because that would be going backwards, and backwards is the wrong way to go. Which isn't to say that people aren't free to argue with me nonetheless -- it just means I'm just not going to give in to them.


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