When you think of marriage, what do you think of? I think of it in the religious traditional sense. I think of a man and a woman who love each other and want to spend the rest of their lives with each other. I think of two individuals with like values and ideals joining together and becoming one harmonious relationship. I think of a ceremony that expresses the beauty and sanctimony of a love that can only be expressed through action and not words. Basically, I'm thinking of a fantasy, a fantasy that is held in high regard to the legal system of the United States of America.
There are obvious reasons for me to be writing this. I am a person that believes that modern marriage is a religious institution. However, I am also a person who is very offended and disgusted at the people who voted for proposition 8 and the ammendments like it. I am revolted at the people who are now trying to force many gay men and women to be divorced (even though these people are also against divorce...). The reasons for this is because I believe in equality for all people and not allowing homosexual men and women to be married is a social attack by restricting legal benefits.
Married people are allowed to file joint income tax returns with the IRS and can create a family partnership which allows you to divide business income between family members. Marriages allow people to inherit portions of their husband or wife's estate, they can become exempt from estate and gift taxes, create life estate trusts and marital deduction trusts, and become top priority on making financial or medical decisions on the other's behalf. They are allowed to receive Social Security, Medicare, veterans', military, public assistance and disability benefits.
Through their spouse's employers they are able to obtain insurance benefits. Employers are required to allow family leave when a spouse is injured or ill. When the spouse is in the hospital, you are allowed to visit if they are in the intensive care unit or restricted visiting hours.If the spouse dies the wages, workers' compensation and retirement plan benefits all go to the widow and the widow can take bereavement leave after the death so that they are able to make burial and other final arrangements.
The point is that in the United States, marriage has become something far more than what the social conservatives have labeled it. Marriage is not simply a religious term (and if you look at the history of it, marriage had nothing to do with love until around the dark ages), but also a legal term. This is a problem because we as a country are not allowing certain groups of people to be married because of a different sexual orientation. Across the United States there are lovers who can not comfort each other in the final moments of life in the hospital. Loving people who live moral lives are having trouble adopting kids, kids who have no one to love them and take care of them, because our society questions if the relationship between these people will last.
Sure, we claim that homosexuals can have civil unions and all of this will work out, it will all be the same. There are flaws with that statement though. One of them being that only four states allow civil unions and only five others that have domestic partnerships similar to civil unions. The other inherent flaw with this line of thinking is something that happened in the 1900's. People are trying to use the argument of making a seperate but equal institution, the same way that we did with schools for white kids and black kids, but the United States Supreme Court has already ruled on this. In the 1954 Brown decision, the United States Supreme Court ruled that separate but equal institutions were not equal.
So then we come to the decision that we should just change the "meaning" of the word "marriage" so that homosexuals can be included, but the religious people didn't like that. Well, I have a new proposition. I have a proposition to make it so ALL people can be equal in the eyes of the law with the glue of love. My proposition is to get rid of the term marriage in legal issues. All couples, man and woman, woman and woman, man and man, would be joined together in the sanctimony of civil unions. Civil unions would be the only recognized form of "marriage" in the court room and in government. All of the benefits that are given to married couples now would be given to all couples under a civil union. If people want to have a marriage ceremony in a church and have the pastor join them together under any god, the church can still do that. The church can still choose who they will allow to be married on their property. This way everyone should be happy. Homosexuals can have the same rights that a government can give and conservative religious people can still fear their god.
Homosexual rights is the civil rights movement of our era and our generation. Be aware of social injustice. Speak out against intolerance. Share love, don't limit it.
So, what do you think? Should we get rid of marriage as a legal term and just call them civil unions? Should we change the meaning of marriage in the legal sense? Do you have a better idea as to what we could do? Are you not interested either way? Comment back with your thoughts.