This week Political Sigh has focused on the same-sex marriage debate. We have seen several points of view ranging from supporters to denouncers. We have also talked to pastors and a gay male. We have seen what they have to say. So now, we are left wondering: what is the point? Where is this debate going? Can anything else be offered? I would argue that the debate we are hearing and reading about in main stream media is pointless. What we need to be talking about is how to find the middle path on this issue and not about whose extreme view we are going to adopt and make into a law. But first, let’s take a step back and take a historical look at marriage.
In western civilization, marriage is an ancient custom. A father of a young man would arrange the most economically advantageous marriage for his son. It was seen as a way to link two families and it was much more important for the higher social classes. Love never was factored into the equation. In some cases, after the wedding the bride and groom were led away to the bed chamber. Marriage was for procreation and arranged for economic benefit. (For a very brief history on marriage, click here) The church was not really involved in the issue.
It is recent phenomenon that people can marry for love and that the church is taking a stronger role in pre-wedding, marriage and post-marriage activities. Here is where things get tricky, I think. Supporters of same-sex marriage believe that if straight couples can get married for love, then why can’t gay couples do the same? It is only fair. On the other side, we have a segment of the population that believes in the traditional idea of marriage (even though it is still a fairly recent practice) as a love match that will eventually produce children. I think the issue here is not so much about same-sex marriage, as it is that gay couples cannot procreate. The folks who support same-sex marriage are not as bogged down with the traditional viewpoints, but they do to believe in love. You love someone, so get married. If you have kids that is great and if not that is fine too. It is your choice.
This notion of the modern idea of family stems from the 1950s when suburban life was at its peak. There were TV shows like “Leave it to Beaver” that featured the wholesome American family. Men and women would get married, have children, buy a nice house and the man would go to work and the woman would stay home and raise the kids. However, this is an idealized vision of family on today’s world. At least 50% of first marriages end in divorce and there are approximately 9.9 million single mothers. If people are really concerned about keeping marriage sacred and keeping the family together, let’s begin to look at the heart of the problem.
As far as gay couples and the issue of same-sex marriage are concerned, maybe we should go back to a time when the Church was not as involved in marriage. Let’s factor in the idea of being able to marry for love. Let’s take some of what we do now and just change it a little bit. Right now, people who want to get married have to go to their state’s equivalent of the county clerk’s office and obtain a marriage license. Straight couples have some options. They can either be married by a judge, a justice of the peace or a religious leader who is ordained. Let’s say, hypothetically, that we changed who could perform marriages and only allow judges and justices of the peace perform weddings. This way, both straight couples and gay couples could get married. Then, if a couple wants a religious blessing, they can have that ceremony as well. This is just a remixing of marriage. Take a little of the old and a little of the new and “voila,” something good for everyone emerges.
I am one guy with one opinion. But I am one guy who did extensive research into the same-sex marriage issue before forming a firm opinion on the matter. If you disagree with my views based upon evidence, then that is fine. Please post in the comments and let’s have a rational discussion about the topic. I am happy to hear from all sides of any debate.