23 October 2012

Define Marriage

I've seen many a post on a many a social network discussing propositions that will soon be voted upon.

Given the diverse groups of people I mingle with on these social networks, I've seen the extremes of both sides and the smattering of those in the middle.

I've seen the "let them have their rights, just don't call it marriage" posts.

I've seen the "my relationship is just as valid as yours" posts.

I've seen the "how does one marriage demean or lessen another marriage if they have nothing to do with each other" posts.

And for the most part, I just keep quiet.  I recognize that some people like to get into discussions or debates or dramatic conversations, depending on who you ask.  I am not one of those people.  That doesn't mean that I don't feel strongly about this issue, and that I don't have the urge to jump right in and start throwing verbal punches like everyone else, defending myself and people I consider my friends.

But I've really been thinking about this "define / redefine" marriage idea.

For one, I don't think you can define marriage in the simple terms of who it consists of.  You can put a man and a woman together and have them get married.  That doesn't mean they have a marriage.  They have a contract between them to stay together.  And they have all the rights and privileges that come as part of that contract.

But a marriage...well, I would say that a marriage is something more.

There are many elements that define a marriage.  Love.  Trust.  Companionship.  Sacrifice.  Respect.  Laughter.  Compromise.  A not-to-be-taken-lightly sort of undertaking.

To name a few.

Would any of those qualities be lacking in a same-sex marriage?

Well, I know a few same-sex couples who are married.  They exemplify these qualities and more, and have stronger marriages than some straight couples that I know.  And why is that?

I would say that the components of a marriage are the same, whether it's John and Jane that get married, Jane and Mary that get married, or John and Joe that get married.  If a couple enters into a marriage with the belief that it is a sacred union, with the intent to give themselves to each other whole-heartedly, with the understanding that they are committing to a life together, then the qualities that make a marriage will be there.  No one is trying to redefine that.

There are just some of us that would like the opportunity to have that commitment recognized and upheld in the same way as some of you other people out there.

Redefining who gets to have a marriage doesn't necessarily mean that we redefine marriage.  When taken seriously, marriage would stay the same.

For those of us who come from an LDS background, marriage is the ultimate gauge of adult success.  It's the top prize.  And we are taught to prepare for it, to seek it, and to protect it when it finally becomes yours.

I'm not trying to take that away from you.  I congratulate you on your temple marriage and your commitment to your lives together.  And I'm glad that you are happy.

What I don't understand though is how Mitchell and Brayden's marriage in any way makes your commitment to your spouse less of a commitment.  How does Ella and Sarah's marriage make your marriage weaker?  How does Michael and Dustin's marriage lessen the trust you have in your spouse, the love you have for your spouse, or the sense of companionship between you and your spouse?

Because if it does, I would argue that you don't have a marriage to begin with.  You have a contractual arrangement that might need a little work.

Oh, and of course, you still have the rights that come with marriage.  You don't have to worry about not being able to see your spouse if they happen to be seriously injured in a car accident.  You get to make any needed medical decisions in the event that your spouse is incapacitated.  And if they die, you get to access to their social security and life insurance.  If it was an accident that was their fault, your conversations can be protected through spousal privilege should any legal action happen.  You don't have to worry about any of that, which might be nice, since you're so worried about how Ella and Sarah's marriage makes yours less special.

Kind of a nice contract, yes?

Just my two cents.