In the previous column I discussed Michael Medved's recent column, which I won't say is really stupid, but it does have a lot of similarities for it's lack of supporting information. Anyway, his point is that marriage shouldn't be an inclusive legal right because of the differences between men and women. Needless to say, not only does he not get the difference argument, he also doesn't get the marriage argument either. Why?
Before we can discuss marriage, we have to make one major distinction in the discussion. We have to separate the legal act of marriage from the religious ceremony. I won't discuss the religious recognition, that's not in the debate over legal marriage, and should be taken off the table, because no religious ceremony can make you legally married, only the States have that right, and thus it's a legal argument, and I want to focus on the legal side of the debate. There are two reasons the opponents haven't really addressed, one, equal rights and protection, and two, definition.
With all other factors, age, relationship, etc., the reason for allowing two people to marry is simple, the right to equal rights and protection in our heterogenus society and nation. What's wrong with two people being able to be in a longterm relationship where they share and have say in their lives and those of their legal partner? Isn't that what equal rights and protections are for? We're not talking taking to the extremes the religious or conservative right has made of it, only two people, nothing more.
Recently the Washington State Supreme Court upheld Defenes of Marriage act (DOMA) based on the moral idea marriage is for procreation, but returned it to the State legislature to determine the laws governing marriage. The decision was a weird one, not really making a decision but simply moving it away from them so they really didn't have to make a real decision, and face election worries in November. They left it somewhere in the air for everyone to sort it out. Almost everyone said they just didn't get it.
The second issue is as I wrote in the first column about this column, who is male or a man, and who is female or a woman? There are several criteria, and almost in every case, people who won't be covered or denied rights and protections. So what's a fair definition? By birth sex? What about intersex people or transgender people who have transistioned to the other gender? In the case of the latter, they're still genetically their previous sex but legally defined in the new sex. And intersex people are both and may have been changed through surgery, and often transistion to the other sex when then grow up.
So what grounds does the right have to disallow marriage to two people meeting all the other criteria as already established by the laws of each state? Why are the right making a more complex issue of a simple issue of love between two people. Nothing more and nothing less. Isn't that what our country is about, freedom to be loved, to love, and be protected in their lives with their loved ones?
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