Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Raise the Bar


Raise the bar for marriage. First of all, marriage is not a heterosexual privilege, but a human right. Many of our LGBT friends are desperately attempting to obtain the right to marry. Their inclusion in the ranks of married people can only elevate the institution of marriage above where it is now. Those organizations which are identified by people anxious to join are by definition more desirable. Besides, other arrangements, so-called 'marriage lite', such as partnering, living together, common law, civil unions etc. all act to disperse and thereby lower the sanctity of marriage. Society ought to discourage those. A truly conservative, self-protective, reasonable society would strongly encourage its citizens to have all the privileges of marriage.

1 comment:

Tim said...

Mariah and Byron, since I don't know where you're headed with this, I may be jumping the gun here. If so, feel free to junk this or save it for a more appropriate post. Your reference to partnerships, etc., spurred thoughts on an overlooked shadow thrown by marital inequity: inability to marry is the most destabilizing factor in our community and it literally costs all of us, LGBT and straight, more than we need to pay--a lot more.

Absent legal parity, gay couples enter pseudo-marriages without tangible risk. Because it's easy to get out of them, it's also easy to get in without considering potential costs and far too easy to give up when issues common to all unions arise.

Lack of marriage's legal constraints frees us of its social constraints as well. Every couple defines marriage on its own. Thus many "marriages" are governed by expedience, not expectations. Everything speeds up, perhaps to get it in place before rules of engagement start changing. We tend to move in together before we're well-acquainted with each other or our families/friends. We rarely pause to discuss critical matters like faith, finances, parenthood, etc.

Current inequality encourages many of us to imagine marriage in movie terms rather than legal requirements. It's what happens after the happy ending--the part you never see but assume just works itself out once the couple gets together. When reality turns out unlike the movies, we exit that picture to find another, creating a "casting couch" syndrome adding significantly to our community's promiscuity issues.

And finally (sorry for the length) current lack of legal and financial risk in gay marriage takes an incalculable toll on society at large. Casting-couch syndrome drives us back to bars and baths that foster marital instability for profit. Dragging sorrow and insecurity with us, we're more vulnerable to substance abuse, STD's, and emotional crime. Many reenter the scene homeless and friendless, creating urgencies that lead to unimaginably debasing, high-risk practices. As we plummet, widespread costs escalate.

How many millions has it cost to treat "gay divorcées" for AIDS, addiction, and physical/mental abuse? How many billions lost in lower workplace productivity, higher premiums, and unrealized potential? How many charitable and social agencies falter when gay people who once were catalysts vanish in the fog of post-marital dysfunction? How many needy people looking to benefit from efforts of healthy, stable LGBT citizens do not?

I wish we could win this fight on principle alone, but Americans infamously put pragmatism before principle. If we show them marital equality will mitigate spiraling costs and lost potential impacting them--it will save lives and money--they're likely to think twice before jumping on the "sanctity" wagon.

Sorry for going on, but knowing your passion for this cause, I decided to go for it and beg forgiveness. I admire and treasure you both as true friends and allies in our ongoing fight for right.