Wednesday, June 10, 2009

A Note on Gay Marriage and the Law

The California Supreme Court's recent decision to uphold Proposition 8, which bans gay marriage, prompted another round of uproar from the LGBT community and progressives in general.

But really, it shouldn't have. I mean what did you expect? That the Court would rewrite the legal definition of marriage? That is far too large a political risk for any judge with higher aspirations who doesn't want to labeled as "legislating from the bench."

What the Supreme Court's decision should have caused is change of tactic in how the LGBT community is going about getting the rights they deserve - and who knows, maybe this has already begun.

For the record, "marriage," of any sort should, not be a legally recognized right, it's a sacrament, a religious term and tradition that for some reason is now wholly licensed by the state. And, in my opinion, this is where the pro gay marriage crowd can get some traction.

As opposed to some semantical debate about the definition of the religious term marriage, the movement should focus on ending the government sanctioning of all marriages, and call them what they should be called under the law - civil unions.

Everyone, gay couples and straight couples, would be forced to get a civil union license issued by the government, and would have their choice about whether or not to follow that up with a wedding in whichever church/synagogue/mosque they choose.

Not to mention, in getting the law changed, I'm betting a judge would be much more willing to enforce an existing law (separation of church and state) as opposed to creating new law (altering the traditional definition of marriage).

Winning the debate is all about framing it correctly, and currently, the Religious Right is winning that battle. If you frame the debate as being about whether the government should regulate religious traditions, as opposed to the religious definition of those traditions, that debate becomes much more winnable. Example:

ME: Do you beliece the government should regulate religious traditions?


ME: Do you believe marriage is a religious institution?


ME: Then why should the government regulate marriage?


Thanks for reading,


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