Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Peter Singer and my own beliefs on Gay marriage. . .

I recently picked up "The President of Good & Evil" by Princeton proffesor of ethics Peter Singer. I just read the preface to the new edition in which he discusses bush's beliefs on states rights. I have been criticized in another blogs comments for my strong belief in states rights because it was "code" for allowing states to set there own civil rights laws or lack thereof. I would like to address this first. The US constitution clearly puts forth equal rights for all people - it has been interpreted differently but unless you claim certain people aren't people it more than justifies federal civil rights laws. The example Pro. Singer used was bush's initial attitude was that gay marriage was a states issue - but when the Mass. Supreme Court legitamized gay marriage suddenly bush decided to push for a federal constitutional ammendment to define marriage as being between a man and a woman.

I should clarify before I continue that I am a Christian. I also believe in equal rights for all people - not just straight people, not just white people and not just the wealthy. It is my belief that if the federal government were to get into this discussion of gay marriage at all it should be with the attitude that no state should be required to recognize the legal marriages of other states. It has no business defineing mariage at all.

On a state level I believe that the criterea should be one of two things.

1. That for legal purposes any couple seeking the legal bond of marriage and the benifits it offers should be allowed to do so. I was listening to a women who is the child of a gay father. She has talked with many people including children over the years about being the child of gays. A number of children she has spoken to since this debate regained national prominance wer not, until they saw it on the news, aware that their gay parents were not in fact married. There ae over ten million children in this country with same sex parents. What politicians and religious leaders do and say directly effect all of these children. This is not some abstract debate too them - it is their lives being debated.

2. Short of allowing anyone and everyone to marry the State should refuse to legaly recognize any marriage. It is a religious institution and thus should be treated as such. The seperation of church and state is a bullwark of our religiously tolerant society - therefore if marriage should be legaly denied anybody it should be legaly denied to all. Removing marriage to the bounds of non-secular law is the only way this country can claim equality for all peoples. If one wishes to embark upon the institution of marriage it should be up to the church to decide whether that couple should marry - not the state.

I have grown up in a society where the divorce rate is more than half of all marriages. When I hear people talking about defending the sanctity of marriage I retch. Heterosexual couples have done more to destroy the sanctity of marriage than queers ever could. I have spent years swearing off the idea of marriage because I saw it as a joke - produced by straight people. There was no sanctity, it wasn't sacred. I have since decided that I was mistaken. That those who entered marriages so lightly were not truly married. They had the legalities down but it was all a sham. The most distructive force in marriage is in fact the legality of it. It needs to be removed from the legal arena to settle back into the religous arena.

I do believe that anyone wishing what are now the current legal benifits of marriage should be allowed to enter civil unions - even those who have been married by their church. Denying people the legal benifits of a loving relationship is wrong no matter what ther beliefs or sexual preferences. But saying that marriage is the way to achieve those ends is truly the destructive force eating away at the sanctity of marriage.

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