Sunday, 18 May 2008

One step closer

I know, I know, this is a running blog. This post has absolutely to do with running, and may generate strong feeling in the comments, but it's about something too near and dear to me not to comment on.

As of May 15, same-sex couples in California have access to the rights, benefits, and responsibilities of marriage. NY state recognizes such marriages performed in other states. It's a happy day for us.

Meg and I will be getting a legal marriage the next time we're in California (likely later this year). We had our "real" wedding, in front of friends and family, a year and a half ago. We've owned real estate together for nearly 5 years. We're clearly committed to one another without the need for a state - not even our own - to tell us so. So why do it again?

Let me start by repeating what I said above - we consider the day we stood up in front of our loved ones and publically promised our lives to each other to be our real wedding day. But the protections offered by the law are either not available at all (the right to inherit from one another without paying taxes) or only available by explicit additional legal paperwork (the right to visit one another in hospital and be considered next of kin).

I actually believe that marriage is a religious rite that should be separated from the civil benefits of committed partnerships. If your church says not to recognize same-sex partnerships, more power to you - that's the beauty of separation of church and state. But the state should not be in the business of providing rights and priviledges to one group of people and denying them to another. And as long as these civil benefits are conferred via the religious rite, they should be equally accessible to all people. So, if you don't support same-sex marriage, work to separate the civil benefits from the teachings of your church. Because regardless of what your god tells you, the Constitution prohibits discrimination.


Meg said...

Wow, that was a really honest post. I believe in the separation of church and state, and I think the US has a hard time separating the two (ironically). Personally, I don't really care what people do or who they love as long as it doesn't harm anyone else (though I guess my definition of "harm" can be debated depending on who you are). Moving from NY, where the majority of the population was liberal, to MI, where in Ann Arbor most are liberal but the majority of the state isn't, has been an awakening to how our country thinks. It's been frustrating! I think marriage may be defined by your church, but isn't the point of marriage to have those closest to you witness your love?

Laurie said...

Great post. I totally agree that the civil and religious parts of marriage need to be separated.

R and I got legally married on a Friday at City Hall, but had our "moral ceremony" with friends and family the next day. To us, they were separate things.