Mother and Daughter

October 29, 2004

Now this is a dysfunctional family. (Both articles through the Atlanta Journal Constitution - free registration required.)

Mom is head of the Georgia Christian Coalition and is leading the charge to make same-sex marriages unconstitutional.

Daughter is in a long term same-sex relationship, would be married if she could, and writes a response editorial explaining that Mom's anti-gay bigotry has split the family, estranged her daughter, and left her daughter terrified that Mom will somehow claim custody of daughter's child, especially in the window between daughter getting pregnant and daughter's lover fully filing adoption papers - a problem that married couples NEVER have to face.

The great irony is that Mom's rant includes some howlers -- "marriage has always been between one man and one woman" -- with a very good point that divorce has indeed weakened the institution of marriage. Daughter would like to strengthen marriage, but Mom can't see it.

Posted by Red Ted at October 29, 2004 02:44 PM | TrackBack
Comments

Probably because homosexual marriage does not strengthen marriage. Marriage is a social duty, not an individual liberty.

Posted by: DFH at October 29, 2004 06:18 PM

I disagree.

Civil unions or provisions to give privileges to live-in lovers, which provide a sort of half-way covenant, do weaken marriages by reducing the incentive to make a committment.

But if we want a society where people do make long-term commitments, and mean them, then we need to make policies that encourage people to choose and then to stick with that choice. Gay marriage reinforces the institution and its meaning; civil union weakens it just as divorce weakens it.

Posted by: Ted K at October 30, 2004 10:26 AM

People who are going to opt for "civil unions" were not marriage candidates in the first place. They're just pre-litigation divorcees marking time.

In fact, I would not be adverse, at least before the debate, to a law requiring all couples to live in a civil union for a year before applying for a marriage license. Weed out the bad partnerships beforehand. I know that if I was somehow captur^H^H^H^H^H^Hin a serious relationship I wouldn't even think about marriage until after at least six months of cohabitation.

Since marriage in this society is currently not a long-term commitment, I don't see how your second paragraph applies at all. Even if we rolled back divorce laws a few decades (which I'm happy to say is being done in some places), how does allowing homosexuals to marry strengthen the institution? It doesn't, it's a total non sequitur. Homosexual marriages themselves have no value to society, and I don't see why society should encourage or subsidize them, forcing an entire culture to redefine its approach to a fundamental instiutition, just so that less than 3% of the nation's households can feel better about themselves.


Posted by: DFH at November 1, 2004 01:23 PM

You write:
Homosexual marriages themselves have no value to society, and I don't see why society should encourage or subsidize them, forcing an entire culture to redefine its approach to a fundamental instiutition, just so that less than 3% of the nation's households can feel better about themselves.

The value that they have to society is the same value that a strong, childless (or adoptive, or blended) heterosexual family has for society: it provides a stable organization for raising any kids they may have, and by example they encourage other people to form stable, long-term pairings. As such the flood of long-term same-sex couples looking for marriage rights _should_, and in a rational world _would_ strengthen the idea of mutual commitments.

Many marriges fail. Humans do appear to be wired for serial monogamy not for lifetime monogamy. Still, strong two-person marriages do, to me at least, appear to create the strongest social matrix. And that social matrix is far more important than getting all upset about who has what shaped plumbing.

Posted by: Ted K at November 4, 2004 09:02 AM
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