Tuesday, April 7, 2009
boone and i are getting hitched in 6 weeks, and i need to say right now that i have a pretty big problem with the state legalizing same-sex marriage (i.e. vermont and iowa). but i also need to share that i have just as big of a problem with legal opposite-sex marriages sanctioned by the state. in fact, i'm pretty sure that marriage has no place in legal discourse at all.
for me, it's a separation of church and state issue. as a christian (and one in divinity school, btw) i have a problem when the state does what the churches ought to be doing. i mean, marriage is a religious ritual. marriage involves the uniting of the couple together with each other and with God. it involves blessings and ceremony. thus, the communities of faith who do the "God stuff" ought to be making decisions about marriage, not the state.
civil unions, however, have everything to do with the state... with rights, liberty, power of attorney, and wills, and hospital visitations. and civil unions have nothing to do with God, at all. therefore, the states ought to make the decisions about civil unions. unfortunately, however each particular state's constitution is written is how their laws about this should go.(i.e. california's constitution now makes this illegal)
it turns out, though, that the US constitution overrules state constitutions, and it has this little thing called the 14th Amendment. (i'm just sayin') On top of this, it's my personal conviction that if a state affords the right to couples to join in a civil union, then they have to and should allow every possible form and variation of a couple to unite in this way. we're talking about RIGHTS! we just can't give special legal rights to some group and then not give them to others, which is what is happening now in nearly every American state!
now, if a church decides that their particular holy scriptures or manners of revelation doesn't allow for some group or other to be married, well, that's their choice. the church and state are separate.
thankfully boone and i belong to a church where all couples of any sexual orientation can be married. in fact, a lesbian couple married there on Saturday!
the thing is, we choose to belong to this congregation because we believe that they truly get Jesus' message of love and equality. sure, there are passages in our sacred texts that others have taken to be exclusive and hurtful, but give me twenty minutes of your time and a bible and i hope i can convince you otherwise. if not, i'll love you, too. but please don't hurt others i love just because you take a different reading of the same text. but, be advised, i'm not saying that you have to let anyone get married in your church that you don't want to, because you don't.
that's why the law isn't in the church or vice versa...they're separate. if they aren't, then you (and your faith community) can tell people who live in your town that they can't be united in the courthouse and then they (the law) will be able to tell you who can get married in your church. doesn't sound like a good plan, does it? nobody wins.
now, back to the whole wedding thing. here's my plan: let's only use "marriage" when we talk about religious ceremonies of ant kind, "civil unions" when we talk about unity under the law, "commitment ceremonies" for people who don't want to be married under God OR the Law, and "weddings" when we want to talk about the celebration and party that happens after ANY of these events. oh, and "husband" and "wife" (or any pairing of these terms) can be used after ANY of these events for any type of couple. Is this ok?
the best news is that these terms can be combined in any way... for instance, boone and i are getting married, civilly united, and having a wedding. see? this applies to same-sex and opposite-sex couples.
again: marriage=god, civil unions=law, commitment ceremony= unaffiliated, weddings=big party.
oh! and love=everyone.
shoot! i'm supposed to be packing right now.