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Friday, June 02, 2006

And Civil Unions For All

Here we go again.

The Republicans can no longer unify their base with "The niggers are coming!" - at least, not overtly - and their attempt at motivating their base with "The spics are coming!" blew up in their face. What does that leave them? "The faggots are coming!"

And they have the audacity to ask me why I'm not a Republican.

As my boy Dave has pointed out on a few occasions, it is entirely the fault of the Republican Party that I am not a Republican. On social issues I'm actually right of most Republicans, and on foreign policy I'm an old-fashioned American isolationist - let folks o'er yonder take care of them folks o'er yonder, we've got enough problems right here that require our blood, sweat and tears. On economic and meta-political issues I'm a populist, a position that once was popular with Teddy Roosevelt's Trust-busting GOP. By all rights I ought to be a Republican, but the hatred that is perpetually expressed and nurtured by the Republican Party runs contrary to my belief system such that I can in no ways be associated with them.

Let me explain.

I believe homosexuality is an abomination before God, immoral in its essence and sinful in its substance. If the question is whether or not I support homosexual marriage then the obvious answer is "No" - I don't support homosexual anything as I will not endorse sinful lifestyles, be that homosexuality, adultery, theft, murder, lying, gluttony, etc. That said, as much as I oppose the "homosexual agenda" I all the more oppose those who would stir up hatred against homosexuals for two reasons. First, it's just plain wrong - ungodliness in service of noble ends sullies the results of those wicked means. Second, it is self-defeating when one understands the nature of the fight - by attacking homosexuals the Right keeps homosexuality in the public discourse, familiarizing people with homosexuality in a way similar to how prolonged and repeated exposure to violent images familiarizes and desensitizes people to violence. For these reasons alone the Republican folly in the Senate should be ceased immediately.

But there's more.

The government - federal, state, or municipal - has no business in the marriage business in the first place, and limited-government Republicans should be the first ones to make this argument. Who lives with whom is not the business of the state. Who does whom and how is not the business of the state. What you choose to call the one or ones you love is not the business of the state, to affirm or to deny. The only interest that the state should have in the interpersonal relations between consenting citizens of the state is in the merging of personal property, which is all that a marriage certificate really is - two sole-proprietorships merging into one entity. As such, the nature of the proprietorships should have nothing to do with their merger, save any antitrust rules that may apply. Likewise, it should not matter to the state if three or more proprietorships choose to merge into a single entity. From the state's point of view it should be nothing more than a matter of assigning a tax identification number, not an issue of morality inasmuch as taxes are (relatively) amoral. Folks want to pool their resources? More power to them. What they do behind closed doors? Their business and their business alone - the state need not affirm or reject it because it in no ways pertains to the state.

Now if you ask me what I think or if you share your preferences with me then I'll certainly share with you my contempt for that lifestyle, but the state has no interest in your lifestyle or mine - it's not a matter of state.

What's more is that the state involving itself in marriage defies the Biblical norm. Neither the governments of the northern kingdom of Israel nor the southern kingdom of Judah was involved in the marriages of their citizens - marriage were purely the purview of the family. The unified kingdom of Israel was never involved in marriages - marriage was purely the purview of the family. Even in the pre-Saul Israelite theocracy the government, such as it was, was never involved in the marriage of its citizens - marriage was purely the purview of the family. So if the Biblical model of marriage - from "In the beginning" to "Amen" - is of marriage being purely the purview of the family, then how is it that those who claim to support family values and claim to believe in the Bible blatantly defy the Biblical norm by acceding to the secular practice of state-sponsored marriage?

I can not be party to that.

I will not be party to that.

Emancipated by Athanasius @ 5:45 PM

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Although my stance on homosexuality and gay marriage is different, I can definitely agree with you on one thing. I'm far from a pundit, but it's the hypocrisy in both party's platforms that should keep voters questioning voting within any party's constraints.

Posted by Blogger saga @ Tuesday, June 06, 2006 12:03:00 AM #

this is clearly a ploy by conservatives to detract from the real issues of the upcoming elections. like you said, the state has no place in private matters.

Posted by Blogger jameil1922 @ Tuesday, June 06, 2006 7:02:00 AM #

The State has an interest, and in particular the Republic has an interest in the legal standing of domestic partnerships as part and parcel of its need to assist in the maintenance of civil society. It is the pursuit of domestic tranquility that acknowleges the value of domestic partnership. So a Civil Union or Common Law Union is perfectly acceptable to be recognized. But it is not the respectability of the State that concerns me so much as the moral authority of the Church. So while it makes perfect sense for me to accept a Common Law Union or a Civil Union, if the Church rewords the rite of Holy Matrimony to be gender neutral, I'm going nuts.

The State should not be obligated to recognize the standing of Married couples within the context of Christian sacraments or other religious rites. It is not for the State to say that 'Marriage is between a man and a woman'. The State should simply acknowledge this common universal understanding. I don't want the State nor any political movements to overstep their bounds with regard to making moral claims about their understanding of Marriage. That is for the Church to assert in the context of its traditions. It is a slippery slope for the State to say Marriage is X if the Church of the First Gay Anabaptists is founded out of schism. How then does the State reconcile its own definition of Marriage to that established by a religious rite? It cannot.

It is reasonable for chruches to defend the definition of Marriage in the context of the integrity of the rite. For example, I expect the Episcopal Church to defend its religious freedom by saying that Holy Matrimony is what they say it is and that any redefinition by the State in such a fundamental way as Gay Marriage would redefine impinges on the Church's free of exercise. But the Church does not have any claim on the legal status of a common law partner and cannot overstep its bounds. But proscribing the state's recognition of a Civil Union the Church crosses the line.

What society comes to recognize will depend upon these two actors doing the right thing. When I was a kid, none of the forms said 'Parent or Guardian' and I always thought it ridiculous to ask questions such as 'Mother's Last Name'. But I don't see such forms as a problem since I acknowledge the responsibility between children and their legal guardians. That doesn't make them parents any more than having a Civil Union between gays makes them husband and wife, but it does establish a vocabulary which is appropriate to their roles.

Maybe I'm parsing words a little too tightly, but I don't have a problem with 'domestic partner' nor much discomfort in 'spouse'. It's already gender neutral. If gays wanted to be recognized as spouses and seek spousal rights and privileges that is acceptable. It still does not make them Married, but civily united. Again, I think that it is crucial that Churches don't amend their rites to accomodate the political or economic needs of gays to secure their civil rights. Nor should the State try to assign value in recognition of religious rites in order to accomodate or reject moral positioning on the responsibilities gays already take for each other. Again, gays who do x and y as expressions of love, trust & respect in their domestic partnerships may or may not overlap with the cultural narrative of Marriage, but that doesn't make it Marriage.

Posted by Blogger Cobb @ Friday, July 28, 2006 11:31:00 AM #
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