There is a great deal of conversation happening today about marriage and what it means. Whether, this is a religious issue or a civil rights issue. My Facebook wall is full of red equal signs and in between are postings saying, “I believe in God’s definition of marriage.” I am naïve and I do not understand why this has to be such a divisive issue. It seems pretty clear cut (to me) that you can’t offer a portion of the population a right and not allow the same right to another population.
One of the arguments I have heard, besides the classic Adam and Eve not Adam and Steve, is same sex marriage will make traditional marriage less valuable. If I wake up tomorrow and same sex marriage is legal in all 50 states, I will still be married to Carvell. I will still love him and hate the fact that he is fundamentally incapable of rinsing the sink out after he brushes his teeth. My parents would still have been married for almost 40 years. That doesn’t change. What would change is that in a moment of crisis, perhaps after a car accident, a same sex married couple would be able to make decisions about their loved ones care. If there was a tragedy and the husband or wife died, the spouse would receive bereavement leave and have access to any pension. These are just a couple of the benefits of being married.
On average married couples live longer, have fewer risky behaviors, are in better health, and have higher incomes. Being happy and married is just generally good for our population as a whole. As a married couple, Carvell and I are seen as one unit, our incomes are considered to be one, and we receive discounts on our home, health, and auto insurance because of this. Our home and anything inside is jointly owned under the protection of marriage. If something unfortunate happens to Carvell, such as a giant glob of toothpaste coming to life in the bathroom sink seeking vengeance on him, the property in the house is immediately mine. This is a protection that is offered to me because we are married.
Another argument that I have heard is, “What’s next? What if someone wants to marry their dog?” No one will marry their dog, because dogs are assholes that dump garbage cans and pee on my dirty clothes. Wait, only my dogs may be assholes, but still it is safe to say that bestiality will continue to be frowned upon.
Yesterday I heard an argument against marriage equality that I had never heard before. It was argued that marriage was created for the purpose of procreation. This one threw me for a loop, because I have married friends who have made the decision to not have children, and their marriage is still recognized as valid. Under this argument marriages where no children are produced for personal or medical reasons should be annulled. We will just pretend that these marriages never happened because without children a marriage cannot exist under this argument. This seems like questionable logic at best.
Children are being brought up in the debates. Everything from what happens to the children to how do I explain this to my child. My children are very open minded and I have worked hard to be honest with them when explaining things. Here is the conversation I had with Saidee who is five.
“Momma, why are those guys kissing?”
“Because they are in love, Saidee.”
“Like you and daddy.”
That was the entire conversation. When explaining that friends of ours are getting married there was no need for me to explain in detail what would be taking place on the wedding night. Marriage is about so much more than sex. It is about joining your life together with another life. It is a promise to love and protect each other. It is a partnership. I think that these are the things that need to be discussed with our children not so much the dynamics of a couple’s sexual relationship. A friend once asked me if I would let my children spend the night with a same sex couple if their child had asked mine to a sleep over. I answered yes. First, let me put your mind at ease. If your child ever spends the night at my house I can absolutely without a shadow of a doubt guarantee that Carvell and I will not have sex in front of them. We will cook popcorn, put in a movie, let the kids play games, take them out to eat, and yell, “Go to sleep.” I may nag Carvell about rinsing the sink out after brushing his teeth. But, what we will not do is be sexual in any way, because we are adults and have common sense. I feel confident that same sex couples act in much the same way.
If this issue is truly a religious issue and not a civil rights issue then as Christians we should no longer accept the legal benefits of marriage. If our spouse dies without a will then we should accept that the state or their families will dictate where the assets are distributed. We should agree to no longer be carried under a spouse’s health and car insurance. No longer should we be able to receive wrongful death benefits or bereavement pay. With the arguments being made, we as Christians should just be content that our union is recognized by God and not worry about the benefits given to us on this worldly plane. I do not believe that marriage equality is an attack on Christianity. I am confident that God still hangs out in Massachusetts where same sex marriage has been legal for a few years now. What attacks Christianity is forgetting that it says in Matthew 22:37-40 – Jesus said to him, “ ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”