Skip to comments.What Relationships Should Be Called Marriage: A Modest Proposal
Posted on 10/24/2012 11:24:21 AM PDT by rhema
The issue of whether Americans should approve "same-sex" marriage continues to be debated heatedly in the 2012 election cycle. President Obama has "evolved" on the issue to the place where he supports "same-sex" marriage, making no distinction between the time-honored institution of marriage as being between one man and one woman and a relationship between two people of the same sex.
The issue emerged recently in a September 20th debate in the U.S. senatorial contest in Virginia between George Allen (R) and Tim Kaine (D). Former Governor Kaine, when asked about the issue, couched his answer in terms of civil rights and equality, stating "that relationships should be treated equally."
Marriage has been defined in Western civilization for at least two millennia now as being a sexual relationship between one man and one woman. Christianity has defined it so historically, most often coupling it with life-long permanence and monogamy. As an Evangelical Christian, I certainly embrace that definition.
However, how do we deal with those who would choose to extend some of the legal privileges our society has accorded marriage to same-sex relationships without shattering the definition of marriage or discriminating against people outside the heterosexual definition of marriage? How do we protect society against those who would extend the special status of marriage to homosexual, lesbian or polygamous relationships? How do we protect time-honored titles, like "husband" and "wife," from being attacked as homophobic or sexist terms to be replaced by spouse #1 and spouse #2 or "Mom" and "Dad" from being reduced legally to caregiver #1 and caregiver #2? Such legal assaults on these time-honored family terms seem inevitable if "same-sex" marriage becomes equal with heterosexual marriage.
I propose that as Americans we declare heterosexual marriage as the only relationship in our society that is to be defined by its sexual nature and that it will continue to be defined as a legal relationship between one man and one woman consummated by sexual intercourse.
If two men or two women are living together in a relationship and they want to ask the state legislature in their state to grant some of the special legal privileges accorded marriage to their relationship the state legislature should respond in the following fashion: "We will consider your request, but the sexual nature of your relationship will be irrelevant to our discussions because marriage is the only relationship in our society that is defined by its sexual nature. Why should other people who are living in committed relationships that do not involve sexual activity be discriminated against or left out?"
In other words, the state legislature would not discriminate against two maiden or widowed sisters who were living together or a mother and a devoted son or daughter who were living together in a platonic relationship. Why should such households and relationships be left behind when legal privileges and recognition are being passed out just because they are not in a sexual relationship?
If the peoples' elected representatives in the various states were to undertake such legislation, it would certainly do much to protect marriage as the unique institution that it is in our society, while according all other relationships that equality that former Governor Kaine so desires.
Interesting points. But, we’re not allowed to have any such discussions. The liberal homosexual activists have decided that it has to be marriage for.their relationships legal status. Liberal judges agree, such as when the Connecticut Supreme Court ruled that that state’s civil union law amounted to discrimination.
If homosexual activists weren’t trying to shove this down our throats through the courts, it would be possible to discuss some of these issues. But they have poisoned the well, labeled all who oppose homosexual marriage as haters, etc. The media does the same. Would be nice to have a civilized discussion of how marriage ought to be defined.
Why does the author put the quotes around “same-sex” instead of “marriage?”
“...In other words, the state legislature would not discriminate against two maiden or widowed sisters who were living together or a mother and a devoted son or daughter who were living together in a platonic relationship. Why should such households and relationships be left behind when legal privileges and recognition are being passed out just because they are not in a sexual relationship?...”
Impossible to refute this logic ~ stellar quote!
I have a somewhat different suggestion. I would like to see government stay completely out of the marriage business.
My personal view is that marriage is a social issue. For those who believe in God, as I do, marriage is also, and even more significantly, a religious issue.
If two people want to have some sort of personal contract which gives each other various financial and legal rights, that is fine and they can do that with or without marriage.
If two people want to be married in the religious sense, that should be a matter for the couple and their God.
If two people want to be married in the eyes of society, that should be a matter for the couple and their family and friends.
Aside from any legal contracts, the government should butt out.
I have often said that people should be allowed to define their own households. Traditionally people have always done this, grandparents raise grandkids, take in family members or close friends who then become a part of the family. You used to hear of families taking in orphans without a lot of fanfare and raising them as their own. Problems can arise though in the modern era when you are dealing with school issues, medical issues, and the so-forth. I’d be happy to see a legal space for people to define for themselves their own household.
But only marriage is marriage.
That is the pro-polygamy, pro-homosexual agenda position, end civilization's definition of marriage, and let it become whatever anyone wants to define it as.
What this would lead to is massive immigration fraud.
Marriage is defined, by the common law which predates the establishment of the US, and the states. Putting it to the states would be like putting Habeaus Corpus to the states. Letting people ‘choose their own’, would be a disaster.
We don’t negotiate away the essential components like trial by jury, so why are we negotiating marriage between one man and one woman just because some people don’t like it? When it comes to trial by jury, we tell people, “This is america. Don’t like it, leave it, and we should be telling them the same with respect to marriage.
Good Government requires that the two being married are not related or have certain infectious diseases thru a blood test.
Good Government doesn't pass no fault divorce laws.
Good Government recognizes and respects the unique and special nature of marriage by honoring laws of inheritance, property and custody.
Good Government understands that by protecting and upholding marriage and the family as the bedrock of society it reaps the rewards via good and prosperous citizens.
Bad Government tries to rewrite natural law which is called injustice.
Call it “Queeriage”.
Under the law, only certain financial and legal rights can be contracted. There are a number of preferences in the law that are only conveyed via marriage.
One example: the spousal exception for estate taxes. You can bequeath your spouse your entire part of the estate, with no tax consequences. You can't do that via contract.
Unfortunately this version if A Modest Proposal might play right into a power-loving governments hands: Ultimately if all relationships were considered special then all would be given special treatment (government favor, leading to being beholden to the gov) which is what the ultimate purpose (as in pandering to the Sodomites) has been all along, so as to get as many citizens dependant on gov as possible = job security for gov employees. (Meanwhile the gov goes broke but that has become less and less of a concern as time wears on, isnt it?) Thus, I am afraid the gov just might like his Modest Proposal and take it up as the next increment in (wrecklessly) empowering themselves!
Maybe that would be worth it? I don't know. Real questions.
Typo. I meant “undermine”.
The author is clueless.
This is just the left wing line.
This is government establishing what is or is not marriage via legislation. Marriage is a common law institution.
society rewards the institution not the individual.
All the contract stuff discussed is law now.
This article is a waste of time.
Good point. The government shouldn’t be in the business of deciding who does and doesn’t have to pay a death tax.
Government used to be intended to underscore simply what God had already stated and protect us from those who would force us against His almighty will. (What is an “unalienable right”, afterall?) It seems that today however, many think government’s role is to determine things which God hasn’t stated and then to force them upon us.
The left wants to end the definition of marriage, and let people define it as individuals.
The left wants to end the definition of marriage so that offspring belong to the state instead of the family.
The primary goal is to criminalize Christianity and substitute worship of the state as god, provider, and protector.
I agree. I've often suggested that states should have something like a "contractual household" status, with a standardized package of legal arrangements for inheritance, power of attorney, medical issues, real property ownership, and so on.
People can put together their own arrangements now, whether they're romantic couples or other associations such as siblings or parent-and-adult-child, but it could be made easier and more predictable for people, without reference to their motives for wishing to form a legal unit.
Your view seems simple and logical. What I think you don't fully appreciate, however, is that government got involved in the marriage contract several centuries ago -- and we have several centuries of law that is based on that contract.
It all got started, I believe, with the need to have an orderly process in distribution of inherited property.
A man's "legitimate" heirs, i.e. a wife whom he had properly married in the eyes of the state, + the children who were born of that legitimate union, were the heirs who had a first claim on the man's property at his death.
The state had a "legitimate" interest in officially sanctioning marriage, in that facilitating a stable and orderly transfer of property within families is beneficial to the state (partly because the state taxes that property).
Nobody should have to pay a death tax. Everything a decedent owns has already been taxed, often multiple times.
Another preference: a person cannot be compelled to testify against their spouse in court.
We have a gift tax for gifts given above $13,000 a year. Why should a transfer of an inheritance be taxed differently than gifts?
Since I have to pay taxes on income that I earn on a job, it would be unfair that someone who is given money should be exempt from paying taxes on it.
The idea that you should be exempt from a tax because the money has “already been taxed” is a silly argument that can be applied to any tax. Why should I pay sales tax since I already paid income tax on the money I’m spending? My employer already paid income tax on the money he’s paying me, so why should I pay income tax on it again? Why should I pay a property tax since I already paid income tax on the money I bought the house with? You could exempt any tax you want with that argument. It’s meaningless.
I’m for abolishing the estate tax as long as you abolish the income tax along with it. Treating those two forms of income differently makes no sense at all and is grossly unfair to those who earned their income instead of being given it. Nobody likes paying taxes, but the taxes we do pay ought to be fair without putting extra burden on certain people. I’m in favor of tax cuts and lower taxes, but whatever taxes we are paying should be flat and applied equally to everybody.
As a society we should be allowed to encourage and incentivize marriage and reproduction between a man and a woman. And we should do it because these things help improve society. Allowing other types of relationships the same privileges totally negates and counteracts the results we’re trying to achieve by giving marriage a special status in society. With the way divorce and single-parent households have shattered our society, we should be doing more than ever now to encourage marriage, not completely throwing it away as a special institution, which this article suggests we do.
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Exactly what ansell2 said:
I have a somewhat different suggestion. I would like to see government stay completely out of the marriage business.
That is the pro-polygamy, pro-homosexual agenda position, end civilization's definition of marriage, and let it become whatever anyone wants to define it as.
Marriage has been recognized by government (both local and small and national) for millenia, both for protection of children and wives, and husbands; for legal inheritance and paternity reasons. But the underlying reason is because marriage is the foundation of family, which is the foundation of human society. As far as other legal arrangements, there are enough available to choose from.
It shouldn't. Gifts should not be taxed, either.
whatever taxes we are paying should be flat and applied equally to everybody
That's a good principle, but in practice, no tax is going to affect everyone equally.
Actually, I don't really think a gift should be taxed either, but thats another issue.
If the inheritance is cash, then it can easily be taxed at whatever rate you choose. The problem is when the inheritance is something not easily divided like a farm or a business. If you have to take out a loan to pay the tax, you may be pushed into bankruptcy if you could even get a loan in the first place. Its not automatic that you'll be able to get the loan in the first place. If you have to sell the farm or the business to pay the tax, then the point of the inheritance is destroyed.
Of course, a large piece of property you may have to sit on a couple of years until it sells, so even that may not save you as you're no doubt incurring penalties and interest as you try to sell it.
Thats the problem with an inheritance tax on anything other than cash, at least from my point of view.
For centuries marriage has proven to be a benefit to society and to government. A strong healthy nation is dependent on strong healthy families. For instance; As goes the American Family - so goes America.
Liberals believe just the opposite: A strong healthy nation is dependent on a strong healthy GOVERNMENT. And to attain the goal of governmental dominance, they seek to destroy marriage and the family.
There was a time when America was a strong and healthy economic society. But since the 60’s, LBJ and his Great Society programs have replaced the father with a Welfare check. And look what’s happened.
Leave the religious connotations out of marriage if you wish. But one thing is clear: This country MUST endorse the social values of the marriage contract or we’re doomed.
No one gets “the legal privileges and recognition” that a married man and woman get.
And while we are at it - no abortions, no drugs and no affirmative action.
No doubt many Freepers abide these rules.
The entire gay agenda is like forcing Jews to eat pork because not eating pork discriminates against pig farmers.
It’s probably the best solution, but it is never going to happen.
The problem with the states involvement, at least in the modern era, is that the definition it uses to recognize the institution is simply whatever judges, pols or the majority thinks it is at any one time. And thats it, and thats all it will ever be. Combine that with the fact many have been conditioned to think marriage comes from and is defined by the state and you have what we have today. It was always a danger. Pope Leo XIII warned about it 130 years ago.
The statists wont give it up, as it is a way to control the culturelook at the state of marriage in a general sense over the past decades and ask why statists might like it that way. The homosexualists wont give it up, as it is the only way they can punish those faiths who will never buy into things like gay marriage. Many others have simply been conditioned to think the institution comes from and is defined by the govt, so they accept whatever the state recognizes as marriageit is denoted by pieces of paper issued by the state, and voided and resumed when the state decides it should be. Many who rightly consider gay marriage repugnant and impossible wont consider any of the drawbacks of state involvement itself in such a vital institution, but have no problem rightly seeing the drawbacks when it comes to other institutions like charity and education.
What I think will eventually happen is that those faiths that consider marriage independant of govt mutation and beyond a simple collection of legal strictures and benefits wont bother with the state. Its just a shame about the punishments that will have to be taken for not buying into whatever the govt calls marriage at the time.
No. No way.
I was thinking in terms of the informal arrangements families have always made, taking in orphans or nephews or grandchildren and raising them, taking in family members or friends who had no place to go, but who then become essentially members of the family.
At one time people understood and respected these kinds of informal family arrangements but in the modern era you run into legal issues involving schools, medical care, and the like. I've been through it several times over the years and have had to finesse it various ways.
The kind of "legal space" to define your own household may or may not be practical in the modern era but the need for it is there, anyone who has informally "adopted" people into their families for whatever reason has run into the kinds of problems I'm thinking about. This kind of thing was becoming less common for a few decades but is returning, you are seeing it again more and more.
Thats what I was referring to. But as for marriage, no. Government has no right or authority to try to re-define marriage for all the reasons you refer to and for more basic moral reasons too. On that I'm with you.
I find it curious that “civil union” rules explicitly forbid siblings from forming such unions, even though there may be sound reasons for siblings to join together in a household (e.g. if a brother and sister are widowed, and both have children, it may be better for the children to be raised by a parent and an aunt or uncle, than by a parent alone). If civil unions really weren’t about sex, why should their proponents exclude siblings?
Guys, there is a cost to being married.
Maybe women don’t think so but men sure do.
In order to compensate for the cost, we used to provide exclusive benefits for traditional marriage. Legal and prestige benefits, mostly. That’s all now blown away, from brutal divorce proceedings, to others wanting in on the benefits.
Now there is almost no incentive to getting married. So why do the gays want in?
Saw a professional photography magazine with the cover date of October 2012.
It covered wedding photography (at least part of the issue did) and even devoted at least one page (and several other photos) to same sex weddings.
There was a list of things that can be different about photographing such ceremonies (often not held in a church, sometimes one or both sets of parents don’t attend so group photos may be unbalanced, using gender neutral terms and avoiding using explicitly traditional couple phrases like “bride and groom” on your website (use “brides and grooms” instead).
Then it went into some photographers who SPECIALIZE in homosexualist wedding photography. We’ve seen the lavender mafia take social conservatives to court for rejecting the photography of a same sex wedding. Would there likewise be a legal challenge if a photographer said (s)he SPECIALIZED in HETEROSEXUAL wedding photography?
Down is up. Wrong is right. This so called tolerance and equality for the politically protected class is BULLSTALIN. There is no tolerance for “diversity”. If you challenge them, you are to be persecuted/prosecuted but if they niche market, they are to be celebrated.
The Left also wants to ban inheritance and 401k savings plans.
If you “saved” for your retirement, you are demonized for being “rich” even though you draw no pension, unlike the socialist masses on the public trough.
I seem to remember that sometime in the past few years, the City of San Francisco had an ordinance that all employers had to include gay partners in employees' insurance. The Abp of San Francisco tried to work it out that Archdiocesan employees could designate one person as co-beneficiary on their plan, no questions asked about who that person might be: wife, husband, son, daughter, gay partner, business associate, or random-person-on-the-street.
If I'm remembering correctly, the City's response was: no, not good enough, nyet, ningun, nada.
But admittedly, San Fran is particularly narrow and bigoted that way.
I’ve also suggested that insurance policies might, in place of “employee and spouse,” have “employee and additional adult resident.” That could be a cohabiting nonmarital romantic partner, a parent, a sibling, an adult child, other family member, or whatever. I don’t think that the costs in insurance payout would be greater than “employee and spouse,” because if you limit it to a household resident, a single employee couldn’t add a non-resident parent, for example, to his employer’s policy.
I think it makes sense for the law to recognize that there are other household configurations besides husband-wife-children ... and there always have been. Better, from the insurance standpoint, simply to separate insurance from employment entirely, though.
Such response would be light years ahead of the muddle currently in the heads of the legislators, intimidated by homo thugs. However, there is one aspect missing.
True, two or more people should be able to grant one another any rights that they are in possession of. For example, they are automatic inheritance rights, hospital visits, medical care decisions, etc.
It is reasonable that they ask legal equality between various spacific instances of such union. For example, there is no reason to allow a gay couple to mutually granted rights and disallow two widowed sisters the same.
They cannot however demand that the state grants them privileges that the state chooses to grant properly married couples. Examples of such privileges are citizenship, taxation, adoption rights. That is because the heterosexual nature of the marital union is of a special value to the state, since in the event of children being produced or adopted by a married couple, the state has an interest in the children to be raised in a harmonious family, thus relieving the pressure on schools, juvenal law enforcement, etc. The state has no similar interest in non-sexual or homosexual or polygamous unions in the same way.
The demand of non-discrimination is valid between non-marital unions. It is not valid if a non-marital union is compared in privileges to marriage.
Maryland “Freak State” PING!
I think we are more in agreement than disagreement.
I agree that marriage (traditional marriage, not homosexual “marriage”) is a benefit to society. Strong families are a benefit to society.
The problem comes in whenever government inserts itself into something and tries to tinker with it. And that is what we have now.
For thousands of years people have understood what marriage is. But now, democrats see that as an opportunity to get votes, and to line their own pockets. If they can “redefine” marriage, they can use it to pit one group against another. I will also bet that the vast majority of divorce lawyers (who profit very handsomely) are democrats.
The government corrupts and taints nearly everything it touches and marriage is no exception.
I’m not against marriage. Just the opposite. I am very pro-marriage. I’m just against government meddling with it. For me, personally, it is a covenant involving a man, a woman, and God. (I still recognize a heterosexual, but non-religious, union as a marriage in the societal sense, but obviously not in the religious sense. JMO)
As things stand now, the government acts as if they “own” marriage. They have the right to define it. They have the right to tax it. They have the right to manipulate it to do whatever suits them. That is what I tried to express in my post.
My goal was not to antagonize anyone, certainly not to disparage marriage. I hoped to throw out some ideas and make people think a little about how this is one more area where we are giving up our liberty and freedom by letting the government meddle where they don’t belong. If this were the America of our Founding Fathers, I wouldn’t be worrying about government meddling. But we have been corrupted and taken over by non-benevolent, anti-family, anti-marriage “rulers.” The less they have to say about our personal lives, the better. JMO
How do you protect marriage and keep it as it is, if you don’t?
If there is no definition of marriage, then there isn’t any such thing and the word means everything and nothing.
A church can’t define it because in modern America there is no church. Atheists, Muslims, Mormons, Christians, “the Church of Gay Polygamy”, and the “Church of True Animal Lovers” can make their own rules, so we end up with no such thing as “marriage”.
except that things liek taxes and benefits are involved here.
Also I remember talking to a libertarian about marriage and he said the said crap of Govt should not be involved and then wanted all sorts of marriage, father daughter, under age marriage etc.
That no Govt crap now tends to make me think that it’s a cover to have their perverted sick marriage.
Once marriage is changed then no one should be surprised when all sorts of marriage is wanted and maybe made law.
Good point (and one that can't be emulated via contact law).
The fallacy of that “granted privileges” argument is that it depends on the premise that the people are there to serve the interest of the state rather than vice versa.
It should be what your Religion says it is. The government should be no part of it.
I married a woman and will spend the rest of my life with her. This was our choice by our Religious tenets.
We would have done this regardless of government. As it should be.
No, not at all. The state definitely can grant a privilege that one does not possess intrinsically, usually to do with the operation of the state itself. I enumerated them: a privilege to adopt a child who is a ward of the state, or to gain a citizenship. None of these are intrinsic rights. It does not mean I serve the state, merely that I do not wholly control its laws.