In a previous blog entry on “Mr. Conservative” Barry Goldwater, Sr. (http://janbtucker.com/blog/2011/12/10/where-is-mr-conservative-when-we-need-him/) I explained how a truly principled conservative was a staunch defender of LGBTI rights well before that position was popular — even with many liberals. That sparked an exchange of ideas between a conservative friend and myself:
Anonymous Conservative Friend:
I think you know that I am a pretty Conservative guy and that is with a capital “C”.
However, I am very open to listening to others and I do not like how the Right shuts down and won’t even listen to the opinions of other on certain topics.
I have a thought on the topic of Gay Marriage and I would like you to read through this and tell me what you think. I start with a purposefully inflammatory statement for effect.
I do not feel that two men or two women should have a legal (US Government sanctioned) right to get married.
I also do not feel that a man and a women should have a legal (US Government sanctioned) right to get married.
I think that everyone (straight or gay) should have the right to a Civil Union (US Government sanctioned) that affords them every right imaginable to care for their loved one including: financial, medical, child custody, taxes, etc.
I think the Government should not be in the “Marriage Business” at all. Marriage is a religious concept and should be handled by religious institutions. If you can find a church to marry you (straight or gay), then you should be able to get “married” by that church. That marriage would be nothing more than a symbolic ceremony where you profess your faith and love to the other person. The marriage would mean absolutely nothing to the US Government. Remember, I am talking about straight as well as gay marriage. If you want the benefits (and consequences) of a Civil Union, then you do that paperwork with the Government and everyone should be entitled to do so.
My suggestion removes religion from the argument and gets the US Government out of the religious business for which they should not be involved to begin with. These two acts are separate and distinct and you do not have to do either or both.
Anyone who argues that marriage is between a man and a women would lose that argument under my idea, because the Government would not be involved in the process. The most they could say is that in THEIR church, marriage is between a man and a woman, however, they could not dictate how another church handles the matter anymore than they can control the theological differences between Christians and Jews. Additionally, anyone who argues that gays do not have a right to a Civil Union is totally “out there” and you would never convince them that this is the right thing to do anyway.
Would this help to settle this issue? What say ye?
I agree with you in principle. I have said many times that I don’t believe that the government should sanction what is essentially a ceremony created by religion on first amendment separation clause and establishment clause grounds.
I also oppose government sanction of marriage on Fourteenth Amendment equal protection grounds for a feminist consideration, which is my perspective that historically the wedding ring evolved as a smaller version (in Egypt) of bracelets simulating the chains of slavery, to signify that a woman was now owned by a man other than her father, i.e., her husband.
That said, as long as the government does recognize and legitimize marriage, on Fourteenth Amendment grounds I am opposed to not having the recognition done with equality on the basis of sexual orientation. In the current political climate, that gets us closer to compliance with the constitution and the International Covenant on Civil & Political Rights. As Macchiavelli wrote, “si guarda al fine” (mistranslated as “the ends justify the means,” better translated as “one must think of the final result” or “the outcome is what counts”). Nobody is even going to introduce let alone vote for a legislative fix that entails getting rid of marriage in the United States. Nor is the Supreme Court likely to rule the way I’d like it to rule on the first amendment issues.
Ergo, it has been realistic to pursue the Fourteenth Amendment arguments before the courts and to advance that argument in state legislatures.
What I tell my friends (tongue in cheek) is that I support same-sex marriage and opposite-sex divorce!