The New York Times this weekend gave us its considered views on the state of the marriage battle in the culture wars. It embodies a very flawed vision of mankind, society and the institution of marriage. If lawmakers continue on the path some of them seem determined to follow, propelled by this kind of media thinking, are they laying the basis for a great deal of confusion and trouble in decades to come?
As historic and welcome as we found the Supreme Court’s two recent decisions on same-sex marriage, the Times tells us, they served to emphasize the lingering inequality for millions of gay and lesbian Americans who do not live in the 13 states that enforce the right of all adult Americans to marry the person of their choosing.
If it is inequality to deny it to two people of the same sex whose sexual urges mover them in that direction why is it not inequality to refuse to legitimize the marriage of three persons whose sexual urges move them to want to legitimize such a relationship as a marriage? No just reason can be given for this discrimination. Sexual difference is the only real basis for the existence of the institution of marriage. Ignore this difference and confusion and dysfunction seem inevitable.
In New Jersey, Gov. Chris Christie, a Republican, they complain, is standing by his 2012 veto of a measure to allow gay couples to marry and is refusing to free Republican legislators to follow their conscience on an override vote. Mr. Christie is imposing a large ideological tax on thousands of couples and their families whose interests he is supposed to protect. He is depriving them of federal benefits, which their tax payments help underwrite.
Why should sex only and not all loving relationship be the basis for the provision of these benefits? Logic suggests that any registered committed loving relationship should merit receiving them. Christie’s case can be clearly seen as based on fiscal logic and an understanding that making a sexual relationship the sole basis for these benefits would he inherently discriminatory.
Certainly, The Times editorial judges, the Supreme Court propelled the nation toward greater equality in late June with two 5-to-4 rulings that restored same-sex marriage in California and struck down the central provisions of the Defense of Marriage Act, the dreadful 1996 law that denied federal benefits to same-sex couples married in states that permit it.
It is a very unequal equality so long as it has nothing more than sexual partnership as its basis.
The Times tells us that by disposing of the California case on narrow procedural grounds, the Supreme Court perpetuated a mean and irrational patchwork in which duly wed couples may not be considered married when they cross state borders.
This whole movement is creating an utterly irrational and discriminatory patchwork which will ultimately undermine all the laws and institutions which society has put in place over centuries to facilitate orderly social and family relationships. The result will be that there will no longer be any fundamental basis for the laws governing polygamy/polyandry.
Eliminating that unfair system, the Times argues, will require a multipronged effort — to add more states to the list of 13 that permit same-sex marriage and to challenge remaining state laws that violate the standards of equal protection as the Defense of Marriage Act did. Last Tuesday, the American Civil Liberties Union filed a challenge to a Pennsylvania law that allows marriage only between a man and a woman and rejects other states’ marriage equality laws.
“Eliminating that unfair system” will simply compound further unfairness if it is based on nothing more than sexual relationships. To be truly fair it should be based on all relationships of mutual commitment of love and support.
They commend the Obama administration which the see moving with commendable diligence and speed to extend benefits like health care, life insurance and immigration rights to gay and lesbian married couple,…benefits like vision, dental and long-term care insurance and survivors’ annuities.
On what rational basis can the same benefits be denied to couples in other diverse “family” – their much vaunted love for “diversity” seems a very restricted one – arrangements entailing permanent commitments? What they envisage will leave us with a very flawed and inherently unjust law. It is not based on any proper understanding of equality. The concept of equality espoused by the gay and lesbian advocates is totally flawed because it is giving equal status to two different things.
The problem as it affects entitlement to benefits is that once the difference, nature’s own “diversity”, between the sexes is denied then a new definition of equality is accepted and should be absolutely applied. If not, these laws will be unjust and the unjust distribution of benefits which they will lead to will eventually be challenged. If the courts are just they will be overturned in one way or another.
The discrimination is only beginning. The only just way forward in this needlessly created morass would seem to be to forget about marriage as the ground on which all these benefits, rights, etc., are granted and institute a fair and universal system based on all forms of committed relationships. That may cause fiscal turmoil, but if it does, so be it. That is the price which will have to be paid for accepting an equality which ignores the differences between the sexes and the special arrangements which millennia of human experience have guided humanity to put in place to cater for the needs which flow from these differences, this beautiful and glorious diversity.