Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Live by the Sword, die by the Sword

Having been a longtime advocate for equal rights for gays and lesbians, I found the following opinion/commentary by a Statesman Journal reader/contributor rather interesting:

push the agenda for a constitutional amendment banning gay marriages, thus protecting the sanctity thereof. What hypocrisy!

In the U.S. today, the life expectancy of a marriage is less than six years. And yes, this includes the evangelicals. In a contest to define the reason for most divorces, the winning essay was one word: marriage. In view of this, denying gays the right to marriage -- even legal contracts -- is nothing less than hypocrisy.

Therefore, it seems that it would make better sense to do away with all these vows that are being broken and substitute a legal contract renewable at specified intervals -- something similar to prenuptial contracts. Either party would retain the right not to renew if they so chose. With a few caveats such as provisions for any issue from the union.

From a psychological perspective it should work more efficiently. For instance, as the end of each contract period nears, likely each who wanted a renewal would be very considerate of their partner.

I am not gay, nor do I have a problem with those who choose different lifestyles.

-- Robert P. Mobley, Salem

I'm not on board with Mobley's idea. I think marriage is a long term commitment that two consenting adults make. Its not a renegotiable contract, in my view. If a couple goes into it with that notion in their head..I think it makes it easier to want to consider it less than a lifetime commitment. Perhaps psychologically this would be a more efficient system. But it seems lacking when it comes to establishing a cemented family unit.

This particular section of the Statesman Journal allows for comments to these submitted pieces. One in particular from a commentor named "Bob" caught my eye:

Mr. Mobley's solution is unacceptable. He is right that the problem also exists among christians. God's word, the Bible, does tell us that marriage is one man and one woman. It also tells us that divorce is an abomination and that a marriage is until death does part the couple. For christians to have the same divorce statistics as others simply shows they ignore the Bible and are not really Christians.

The problem with this response is that it virtually eliminates every segment of the population that isn't Christian or doesn't believe the Bible is the authority for marriage. That's a significant number, myself included. Marriage is a legal institution that's backed with legal authority. Gays and lesbians are denied this legal, government sanctioned right..which means that there's an inequality and in my view an injustice.

As long as folks like Bob continue to push this on the rest of us..families will continue to erode as institutions. If all consenting adults aren't allowed to marry..it sets up systems where family units are put together without the force of legal authority. They don't have the same legal rights and privileges as units with legally married heads of household.

If the idea behind marriage is (in general) to create and maintain a family unit (which I am going to assume "Bob" would buy into), then not allowing large numbers of our citizens to create those legally backed units undermines the entire reason for undergoing the whole process.

We may even reach the point of abandoning marriage altogether in favor of psychologically palatable, negotiable contracts that we can choose to renew or cancel.

The Bible (or Sword of the Lord) can't be the authority, or it will eventually kill the thing that it says its trying to protect.