About Marriage Equality: Two Proposals to Stop the Bickering

I’ve been meaning to write a bit about this sensitive topic for a while, but my surgery held me back a little bit. Today, being day three post-surgery, I am trying to do work-like activities to see if I should take an additional day off or not. For the most part I feel pretty good and finally dressed myself this morning. However, my job is particularly hard on the hands so I’m going to catch-up on emails and blogging and see how the hand holds up.

I’ve always thought that what a person does in their bedroom, providing all involved are of a concenting age and sound logic, is really no one’s business, as long as none involved feel abused. Considering how humans vary, it is unlikely, and even rediculous, that one type of relationship will work for everyone and I’ve seen first hand that relationships can be successful and rewarding in a great variety of arrangements. However, I think there is something to be said for keeping private matters private and for everyone to respect that privacy along with the right my neighbor has to persue such matters. Topics such as income, what’s paid for rent, health, sexual practices, and domestic arangements are best left discussed in intimate circles since private affairs, such as these, really have little bearing on my freedoms or rights.

When the designers of the United States wrote about the separation of church and state, they did it for a very good reason. Religion, not being a provable thing, is hardly something one can base the structure of a governable society on. The laws of the people must be black and white, more or less, and religion is many shades of gray. These days there are more religions than there were in the 18th Century and it’s more important than ever to keep things separate to ensure fairness. However, somehow Christianity does hold a particular prominence in our current government. Nowhere is this more evidently a problem than with marriage.

Unfortunately, marriage is both a religious and a civil institution and not neccessarily to the advantage of itself or society. One solution is to get rid of marriage as a civil arrangement. In the eyes of the law, everyone’s assets and libilities would be their own, regardless of cohabitation or religious recognition. You could be married in a church and go about as Mr. and Mrs., but regarding your assets, for example, in the eyes of the state you would own half a house, be responsible for half the welfare of your offspring, and all your income would be solely your property, everything equal and separate. Every aspect of your property, even your child, would be allocated as shares you would own as an individual, of the whole. Of course, if you are a stay at home parent, this puts you in quite a pickle. You’d need to arrange for compensation from your spouse for childraising/housekeeping services rendered. Organized religions would be free to make the rules regarding marriage within their communities and if you wanted to get married, you would only have to find a church/temple/etc that would provide the service and definition thereof to match your requirements. Religious people could still be married in your church adhering to the social rules set by the church. If you were the nonreligious type, you could litereally create any relationship arrangement that you wish and call it being married. It wouldn’t matter in the eyes of the state because legally, everyone would be separate entities.

To be an effective legal arrangement, marriage needs to be redesigned completely exclusively of social influences. To be most fair, marriage needs to be an institution that does not consider race, gender, preference, income or religious beliefs, while accommodating the majority of the people and not excluding any of the adult population – like driving a car or buying property. So, to be fair and impartial, marriage would be defined by its components and each member of the marriage would be equally invested and benefit equally from the arrangement in terms of pooling resources. If the people joining into the marriage contract are of legal age, sound logic, have been educated in the responsiblities, privileges, and liabilities of the marriage contract and acquire a license attesting to this, there should be no reason why they shouldn’t be recognized as married by the state regardless of gender or number of parties entering the contract. In short, any adult who can fulfill the requirements of marriage can get married to any other adult(s) who can also fulfill the requirements of marriage. Of course, what these requirements would be is another question. I imagine it would be something like forming a business partnership in which the requirements are defined in advance, customized for each situation.

Never trully being combined in property implies a certain separation which goes against the supposed nature of marriage. And treating marriage like a business contract isn’t very romantic. Love is not always fair and the law must be. If marriage is legal than it must be fair and unbiased. If love is a major part of marriage than marriage can’t be the law. Society askes marriage to straddle the line between logic and emotion, law and tradition/religion. What if it can’t?

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