Friday, July 03, 2015

Traditional marriage a fundamental building block of our society

One of the problem’s with progressive good intentions is the failure to examine the future issues caused by the proposed solution.

“The New Deal” and “The Great Society” were intended to bring more good than harm. They have been terribly destructive to the African-American family and to the poor in general, and as a result to 2 to three generations of poor children.

Likewise, it is not only the immediate “good” of treating the homosexual community with respect and equality that must be considered, but the subsequent harms that might result from moving away from our culture’s mostly successful record of marriage. When cultures move away from traditional marriage they start a long slow decline.

As with so many progressive ideas, cultural and political, we don’t have to imagine how they will affect lives. We have the slow decline of western culture and families in Europe which clearly show us the long-term, destructive effect of devaluing the traditional family.

The government should seek to be just, not fair. Fair is a middle school standard, just is the adult position. The particular benefits that accrue to married heterosexuals is based on their tendency to procreate, which is very important for an economically stable society. And the well documented fact, that the majority children thrive in their biological families–much more than any other familial arrangement.

The fact that procreation is not universal to the institution, or that there are a percentage of flawed heterosexual marriages does not negate the overall benefit. Having laws in place which protect other kinds of familial relationships is also just, if they can demonstrate that they promote the general welfare. Committed Gay relationships do, they should be respected and protected, it doesn’t make them marriages.

Marriage is not just a religious institution. It is a fundamental building block of our society.

If we, as conservatives, wish to disentangle individuals from government support, we cannot at the same time destroy and diminish the institution which has for years been the structure which encouraged and developed self-reliant individuals.

If you have any doubts about societies after the destruction of the family look to Europe. It is losing its identity and population to groups that believe in strong families.

Even though I am a conservative, I make no apologies for my support of gay rights.

However, I have long supported civil unions vs gay marriage and feel that the gay community overreached when it pushed directly for recognition of gay marriage. Had there been a push for civil union laws in the states, without mention of the “M” word, I think that we’d have a very different set of rules in place by now.

Though many of my readers are opposed to same-sex marriage on what one might call social or moral grounds, in practice it’s really about an economic relationship.

Marriage provides certain financial benefits, burdens and obligations based on tax and other laws. It is, in effect, two people entering into a financial contract. The primary areas are income taxes, inheritance rules, estate taxes, hospital visitation, and to some degree employer-provided benefits (though the trend is to offer those to a domestic partner, whether married or not, it seems).

I’m sure I’m missing something, but I think those are the biggies.

I would argue that, in the name of economic liberty and equal protection, government cannot prohibit the right to make this contract between a subset of the citizenry.

Because the economic benefits bestowed by the government in this area are for pairs of people, the premise of the argument is equal treatment. It’s not germane to the argument that Couple A does not receive the same economic treatment as Couple B, because Couple A is same-sex and Couple B is opposite-sex.

There is the alternative approach – doing away with government involvement in these areas entirely. Eliminate joint tax returns, eliminate the estate tax, and leave the rest, including “marriage contracts,” to the private sector.

If marriage is not a civil contract, but solely a religious designation, then this is no longer an issue.

If gay couples do not wish to take the civil union route, they can draft wills and trusts etc. to accomplish any of the legal benefits of marriage without being married. They can assign the right to make medical decisions should one of them become incapacitated to whomever they choose.

Gay couples can assign broad or specific legal responsibilities to a sibling or parent or friend without a marriage certificate. They can co-own property and decide who receives the remainder in the event of their death.

Tax issues are referred to both as the marriage penalty and the advantage of filing jointly. Most states and companies offer benefits to either your spouse or a specifically named partner.

It seems that the blessing of the word marriage is the biggest issue, not the actual rights conferred by the state to those who are married. Marriage is one of the oldest institutions of mankind. In the west it has been monogamous for thousands of years. I think we have an obligation to be legally fair to all our citizens, gay and straight, but to throw out thousands of years of societal norm may not be wise.

For a long time, I was very willing to agree that gay marriage should not diminish straight marriage. In Europe and even as marriage has become less important here in the United States, children have suffered from instability. Too many of our laws are made to benefit adults at the expense of children. Maybe, if we honored marriage more, I would be more willing to be in favor of gay marriage.

It is not gays who should suffer because we have failed to support and encourage the traditional family unit as a society. But it is children who will suffer, if we fail to hold traditional marriage up as the ideal. And I don’t think it is fair, but I got over things being fair in middle school.

Marriage, like all human institutions–even if ordained by God–is flawed, but it has done the best job of raising up humanities future for thousands of years. Society has an obligation to treat gays fairly, but it also must continue to find ways to support and strengthen the institution of marriage, our future depends on it.

Gay marriage is a political statement, not a social requirement.

What’s not common sense or simple decency is the notion that the definition of marriage should be expanded to include homosexual partnerships. Perhaps it should, perhaps it shouldn’t; I’m no King Solomon who can decide such things.

But I do know that for thousands of years, every human society has defined marriage as a biological and emotional relationship between a man and a woman. Just because fringe activists wish to push the envelope today doesn’t change the basic biology, the pheromones and hormones, the instinct to procreate that underlie the whole rationale for traditional marriage.

This isn’t about changing people into gays. Gays in California already have all the same rights as married gay couples would. That was the Obama administration’s official position before the court – that the only issue that remains is whether or not we call these unions marriages.

So gays will not gain any rights by calling their civil unions, marriages – besides being able to force other people to call it marriage. Like the couple who sued a bakery for not making a same-sex cake. Or in Canada, where people are suing Churches and lawmakers are proposing legislation to force Churches to recognize gay marriages.

Marriage has existed since before human government. The Jews have recognized marriage as a symbol of the union between man and God for thousands of years before Christianity. It is a sacred part of my religion, and I would be in violation of my beliefs to call a gay union marriage.

But I’m not violating my beliefs by letting gays have the legal right to civil unions, equal rights, and protection from discrimination. Those are all rights that people shouldn’t be denied. But they have them without calling it marriage.

The only legal difference throwing out traditional marriage will make is opening the door for activist to force Christians to support their marriages with the force of law and silence all opposition. I use the word ‘activist’ because only a small percentage of the gay population are protesting and suing churches.

The facts that these activist are not happy with civil unions and are protesting this much to get control of the word ‘Marriage’ should prove we have reason to be worried about lawsuits should the law change.

I do think that the domestic partner should have the same right to give money to his significant other as a spouse would. However, to have the SCOTUS declare them married is legally akin to a Roe v Wade cram down. I am not here taking a side for or against gay marriage, but it is not open and shut.

Regardless of your desire for or against homosexual marriage, a reasonable case could be made that it shouldn’t be decided by the courts, but by the people.

If you are gay and wish to have the full rights and obligations of marriage today, you are in a quandary. Either move to a state which grants you full rights, or live under an umbrella of documents which gives you most of the rights and obligations of marriage in a state that does not fully recognize your chosen mate.

There are issues here that are not so easily put aside.

Can one state court, by changing the accepted definition of a word, force a major social change on the rest of the country? In law, words and phrases have very specific meaning, you cannot arbitrarily change them. While homicide and murder both involve the death of someone, the charge is not at all the same.

“Time is of the essence” is often used in contracts, but only a fool would use it without understanding the ramifications of using that phrase. The courts have the option of saying that they believe–as Robert’s Court did with Obamacare–that the people and their duly elected representatives should decide whether the long accepted definition of a word can be changed.

And while I understand the gay community’s frustration with the “marriage” defense, the point is that if one court can arbitrarily change the definition of a word, and all other states have to recognize the new definition as being as valid as the old definition, we have created systemic chaos.

The legal issue is not just about same-sex marriage, or judicial fiats. The stability of our legal system requires that one court cannot change the definition of a word for everyone else.

To change the meaning of words and then use that to force changes is a horrible idea with potentially devastating consequences for the stability of the union. These consequences need have nothing to do with same-sex marriage.

One state cannot change a legal definition for the other 49 states. The only way contracts can be valid across state lines is if the meaning of the words is consistent from state to state. If Kentucky defined horses as people to increase our population, our definition would be invalid.

Whether it is right/wrong, fair/unjust, or moral/immoral is completely immaterial to my argument. Either marriage is legally redefined to include same-sex couples, which is a change in the accepted definition or it remains a contract that can only be entered into by members of the opposite sex–who must meet other requirements of age and competence.

The consequence of changing definitions can’t be ignored. Many bad laws come into being to take care of a special situation and then are enforced in a way never intended or envisioned by the writers.

Remember, the unintended consequences not the intended consequences are the problem. Allowing naked men to parade around a girls locker room because they claim to be transgender is not the intent of laws trying to protect gay students from the very real bullying they experience, but it is an inexcusable, unintended consequence. –that actually happened!

In “A Man For All Seasons” the young son-in-law tells Thomas Moore that he would strike down all the laws of England to get at the devil. And Moore replies, and what then would you have to protect you? I am not saying that their cause isn’t just, or that the slow wheels of change are fair, but crashing through the barriers will not be best for the gay community or the country in the long run.

As much as anything, this kind of situation is one of the hard pills conservatives have to swallow. We look bad, because we don’t rush in to fix things. If you want to do it right, you might have to spend more time.

No comments:

Post a Comment