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Because I promised 
2nd-Nov-2008 09:30 pm
and because this I believe ...

There is memeage floating around my LJ friends about posting a specific sentence if we, as heterosexuals, do not want the government to protect our heterosexual marriage.  I cannot carry on that meme.  I want government to protect my marriage.  To understand why, you must understand what I believe.

1. I deeply support marriage.  I think marriage is the basis on which societies are made.

Oh, there are other reasons for marriage.  It manages a lot of economic issues among people(s).  It populates in a planned, managed way.  It keeps intimate things within a protected boundary.  It keeps some from committing lechery, and protects some from  being the lechee.  And any number of things.  Mostly, however, marriage does two important things:  it manages property through time and builds society.  Without the latter, the former is irrelevant.

Why do I say marriage builds societies?  Marriage is one of two way (the other is adoption) we have to join two un-related individuals into familial relationship under law.  Until marriage, one's closest relative is a parent, and then down the blood chain.  Upon marriage, one's closest relative under law becomes the spouse.  Marriage is as thick as -- or thicker -- than blood.

When two people marry, they leave their family of birth to form a new family.  Where there were two, there are now three families.  This continues to multiply.  Marriage puts responsibility for an other onto an individual's shoulders under law.  It is through marriage that the individual reaches out of self interest and adopts broader interest.  From this are societies built.

2. I think marriage is how property ownership is passed after death.  Good thing, too.  Just think of how many wars resulted from an unclear line of property ownership after an individual's death.

3. I think marriage is a legal/social construct, not a religious one.  Why?  Because first, marriage pre-dates religion (yes, even Christianity -- the Church did not create marriage a sacrament for its first century) so religion is not necessary for marriage.  Second, because it deals not with the metaphysical but the practical.

4.  I do not believe everyone is created equal -- I would (almost) kill for Barbra Streisand's voice, Warren Buffet's acumen, and Grace Kelly's looks.  Nor do I believe the Founders believed it, either.  What I think they did believe was that the only just government was one which treated everyone equally under the law.  I believe it, too.  If we are to have a societal structure that protects freedom and individualism, then we must base that society on this equality under the law.

For all these reasons, I strongly believe in and support legal marriage.

I do NOT believe that:

a. marriage is specifically for the purpose of producing children and perpetuating the race.  It doesn't take marriage for that.  It doesn't even take society or law.  Just look at any living thing on this earth.  To say that it does diminishes the marriage of all childless couples -- and I want my government to protect my marriage, not break it down.

b. marriage is specifically religious.  And frankly, I don't understand how even the most religious person can believe that it is.  Unless we have a single, universal religion, then there are marriages made and recognized from outside the Church.  I want my government to protect my marriage, not declare my religion apostate and, therefore, my marriage invalid.

c. marriage is specifically between two types of individuals.  Again, unless there is universal agreement of what type is what and which can or cannot marry, then *all* types are, in some way or another, invalid.  I want my government to protect my marriage, not impose a hierarchy of marital validity in which my marriage may or may not fit at the top -- or at all.

So, for all of my gay/lesbian friends who may have wondered why I have not joined in this particular memeage:  I have not done so because I I want and demand that my government protect my marriage.  To protect it equally, under the law, to yours.

This I believe.  Comment or not.

3rd-Nov-2008 03:40 am (UTC)
I believe that the show of support right now, while the hate initiative (aka defense of marriage) proposition is on California's ballot (for those who don't know, this proposition would remove the right of gays to marry), is very important. California's courts ruled that same gender couples have an equal right to marry as opposite gender couples; I don't believe that our society should even consider legislation that reduces rights based on bias or prejudice against a group of people.
3rd-Nov-2008 05:02 am (UTC)
I agree that the support is important. I hope that was more than obvious from my post.

If not, then I have a lot of fixing to do!
3rd-Nov-2008 06:06 pm (UTC)
I believe that the show of support right now ...is very important.

Of course it is! And I'm happy to see the support floating through LJ. I hope it is also floating around to people not already in the choir.

I'm making a larger point -- or at least, trying to. :-)
3rd-Nov-2008 06:43 pm (UTC)
Sorry. I had already replied to this, hadn't I? Can I blame it on the lack of sleep last night (when I did the first reply?)
3rd-Nov-2008 05:16 am (UTC)
I guess I was the one who was promised this. LOL!

There were variations of the meme I first saw and I didn't bother to try to track it back to its origin, but the one I went with was:

Copy this sentence into your livejournal if you're in a heterosexual marriage, and you don't want it "protected" by the bigots who think that gay marriage hurts it somehow.

It seemed to me this was speaking to one of the tactics being used across the U.S. that suggests same-sex marriage is not good for traditional marriage, and that the latter needs protecting. I didn't think the above meme was saying the government shouldn't protect marriage, but maybe I'm not getting it.

In any case, I think I get your position. :)

Hugs and thanks!
3rd-Nov-2008 05:27 am (UTC)
I didn't like the use of the term 'bigots'; when I did my comments on this, I changed the wording. Then I got all talky(see above post by Carol) as to my reasons/thoughts.

I didn't used to be so damn open-minded.
3rd-Nov-2008 06:46 pm (UTC)
I didn't used to be so damn open-minded.

Got one at home just like it. I was a tight-***ed little goody twinkly-toes in my early 20's. The establishment all the way was my way. Then I got some experience under my belt, and things just didn't work the way I thought they did. I'm still getting experience, and my mind is still blown all too often for comfort (although it's probably for Good.)

As I finished writing the above post, I realized that I had just backed myself into the corner of supporting polygamy. Which I'm not willing to do.

*sigh* I'll be wrestling for a while with this one.
3rd-Nov-2008 06:31 pm (UTC)
I didn't think the above meme was saying the government shouldn't protect marriage, but maybe I'm not getting it.

No, you are not getting it -- and neither is wyld_dandelyon. Perhaps I'm being too subtle (it couldn't be that I'm a lousy writer, could it? Nah!) -- but the point, as vital as it is, is quite subtle as well.

Here is the point: What we do (as a society) to any individual we can therefore do to all individuals. If the relationship we call "marriage" is denied to anyone, the possibility -- nay, even the authority, exists to deny mine. I want mine protected. So I must protect all of them.

Additionally, I am recognizing what we call "marriage" to be not only universal, but fact, independent of legislation or opinion. There was a case, I think, of a state or local legislature decreeing the value of pi to be 3.0. As I heard the story, the law was proposed but not passed. Pass or not, the value of pi remains the same.

The very wording of the meme implies the possibility and authority for government to "define" marriage as something other than it is. I want that understood -- and denied. Firmly.

[edited to fix HTML and cut/paste errors.]

Edited at 2008-11-03 06:36 pm (UTC)
3rd-Nov-2008 05:26 am (UTC)
Nice reasoning!
3rd-Nov-2008 06:37 pm (UTC)

One of my favorite lines from A Man for All Seasons is "I protect the law for my own safety's sake."

Use it or lose it is clear. Until it comes to law and the US Constitution, 'twould seem.
3rd-Nov-2008 06:49 pm (UTC)
That dialogue between Roper and More is fantastic, isn't it? The play/ movie's full of good stuff, but that's great.
3rd-Nov-2008 05:27 am (UTC)
"I want and demand that my government protect my marriage. To protect it equally, under the law, to yours."

I believe that's all anyone has been asking for, though stated more boldly than most gay people would date put it, in public, at least.

All these things you list are reasons that people who are not exclusively heterosexual have been listing as reasons they want marriage, so their their families will be equally protected under the law.

As to your #b, I agree that marriage is not necessarily religious. (I DO think that the reason there's all this hullabaloo about the exact definition of marriage is because different religions have been defining marriage in very specific ways; and also because followers of certain religions want everyone to define marriage exactly the way their religion defines marriage.)

As to your point number 3, both marriage and religion existed by the time humans had writing of any kind. So I don't think we can say with any certainty which one came first. (Sorry, my Anthropology degree is showing...) Of course, you are correct that marriage predates Christianity.

I don't think this meme was ever meant to mean that government should become hostile to anyone's marriage. It appears to me that it is an attempt to answer the people who do, for some reason, feel that their own marriages are somehow threatened if the law starts to give equal recognition, equal rights (and equal responsibilities) to people who are different from them.

And I think it is also an attempt to let queer people know that not all heterosexual people feel threatened by their very existence. It's reaching a metaphorical hand out to say, "you're not alone".

Given how many gay youth feel all alone and end up suicidal, I am very glad to see that part of the message showing up over and over again, in varying specific words.
3rd-Nov-2008 06:42 pm (UTC)
As to your point number 3, both marriage and religion existed by the time humans had writing of any kind. So I don't think we can say with any certainty which one came first. (Sorry, my Anthropology degree is showing...)

I base this contention entirely on my understanding of the human psyche and nature. I'm willing to bet that long before there was religion (which is more than mere recognition of a Supreme Being) there was a strong sense of "mine" and "thine," including what we now call "spouse."

However, I bow to your degree and accept the scientific caveat. Besides, it makes that bet of mine risk-free, doesn't it? ;-)
3rd-Nov-2008 06:54 pm (UTC)
She's right. In Britain, for instance, and elsewhere in Europe, the real marriage is at the registry office, and it's very nice that you had a church wedding, but that's not the legal part anymore.

3rd-Nov-2008 08:28 pm (UTC)
It's not the legal part in the US, either.

There is a reason for that "by the power vested in me ..." part of the ceremony. The officiant is authorized by the state to declare the marriage valid -- and signs the certificate, which is a state document. No reputable officiant will perform the ceremony without a license. Hence other names for the various ceremonies that have been performed over the past years for gay couples.

People keep forgetting that one needn't seek out religious involvement at all. A Justice of the Peace can marry couples, and that is not a religious (or at least, not yet, and not while I have anything to do about it) office.

For that matter, so can captains of the ship.

In all cases, the authority is granted by the state.

However, I think wyld-dandelyon's point was referring not the legality of church weddings, but my statement that human marriage preceded human religion.
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