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02:39 PM on 08/13/2010
excellent article - the government should not be encouraging or discouraging weddings. Its none of their business.
07:11 PM on 08/13/2010
If there is no benefit to the govt there is no reason to have marriage law at all.
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LintLass
"When you can balance a tackhammer on your head...
12:16 AM on 08/14/2010
Dear Canada,

Hi, there. How are you? I'm fine. Except that I seem to live in a Constitutional Republic that slept through civics class for a few generations. This scares me sometimes.

But otherwise, doing great. Hope things are going fine up there.

Sincerely,
An American.
01:40 PM on 08/13/2010
This entire article is powerfully written, but entirely misguided, for one reason:

MARRIAGE IS NOT A RELIGIOUS INSTITUTION.

It is a civil contract. A legal contract. To say that we should just go to civil unions for everyone is redundant. The legal name for a civil union involving domestic partnership is MARRIAGE.

Marriage is not personal. A friendship or a love affair is personal. Living together, though it entails legal arrangements like housing and utilities, is unofficial and personal. Marriage, though, is public and combines rights and responsibilities legally.

You can marry and not live together, not be friends or even communicate with each other, but as long as you both agree to that, the marriage remains valid. And if one of you dies, or you get divorced, it has consequences.

You can marry to affect inheritance status, make a child legitimate, or combine assets. Some seniors marry solely to make living more affordable. Such marriages are not invalid.

That we see marriage as personal testifies to the best in human nature - we aspire to so much more than a contract. The fact that we've incorporated it into spirituality reflects our acknowledgement that marrying can and should be an expression of our best, innermost selves. Nonetheless, the rite is secondary to the contract. And rather than "getting the government out of it," we need to recall that it is law, and not religion, that defines it. Whether specific marriages are recognized by a church is their own lookout.
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Heidi McClure
03:47 PM on 08/13/2010
Thank you!
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HUFFPOST COMMUNITY MODERATOR
Angie Tyne 1
Please reply so I can be a Pundit!
07:58 PM on 08/13/2010
I agree that it should be a strictly legal proceeding. The state sould not recognize any religious marriages. All marriage contracts should be performed by the courts. Whatever religious/spiritual/personal ceremony is desired should have no govt recognition.
This would also prevent any of the protesting from opponents regarding lawsuits for not performing ceremonies that their religion disavows.
08:23 PM on 08/13/2010
There's really not any problem with the system we have now. The state has never recognized religious marriages. It licenses ordained clergy to solemnize civil marriages, using whatever liturgy they like - the point is that the clergyperson are licensed to hear people's vows and pronounce them married, and they do so, on behalf of the state. There's no harm in this per se, and they're not the only ones 'deputized' in this way; think of notaries and ship captains.

But these are real civil marriages, even though conducted in church by clergy. Even the Vatican recognizes this - they won't let you have a Catholic wedding if you've had a prior civil wedding and the former spouse is still alive. They also won't hear your request for a religious annulment until you present proof of a civil divorce. So, whether marriage is a civil institution isn't contested even by them. And if Prop 8 loses, they wouldn't have to marry gay people any more than they have to marry divorced people right now. All the necessary separation of church and state is already in place.

The marriage infrastructure isn't broke and doesn't need fixing. The only thing we have to fix is to stop these right-wing brats from trying to prevent marriages of people they don't like. Then we just print up some gender-neutral marriage license apps and we're good to go!
01:13 PM on 08/13/2010
This is a simple question with an obvious answer - it's because conservatives are self-serving hypocrites only interested in forcing their beliefs upon everyone else. The same people who like to go on and on and on about the sanctity of the Constitution (and claim the current administration is "trampling all over it" while ignoring the reduction in civil liberties brought on under the PREVIOUS President) are amazingly ignorant of the true intent of the Constitution, which is to protect the rights of the citizens of the United States, NOT to take them away. These people should become familiar with ALL the amendments to the Constitution *cough cough* Ninth Amendment! *cough cough* rather than just the ones which advance their agenda.
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julietrecamier
Responsible and accountable
01:09 PM on 08/13/2010
"This is why, currently, the government holds what Britney Spears and Jason Alexander had for 55 hours in Las Vegas on a drunken Saturday morning as more sacred and legitimate than the relationships of millions of loving, committed partners and parents like Martin Gill."

Well stated, and powerful.
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doublels
say it out loud...I'm a Lib & I'm proud
01:16 PM on 08/13/2010
I agree, very much so. This article should be the manifesto for the right for gays to marry and/or have children. The second last paragraph sums the issue up so well. Of course the last paragraph...''do it for the children'' is also very powerful. How horrible it would be for the children of Martin Gill to be taken away from based on his sexuality.
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doublels
say it out loud...I'm a Lib & I'm proud
01:04 PM on 08/13/2010
The Cons only want government to rule on things they believe in and they want everyone to believe in what they do. Very dan ger ous.
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Carl Caroli
I just don't understand people
01:02 PM on 08/13/2010
Children need love. It really doesn't matter where it's coming from. Only a closed mind can't see that. We do not need religious zealots spouting nonsense, we need loving parents.
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Takebackourmoney
01:02 PM on 08/13/2010
This guy should have resigned his position the day the rent-a-boy story went pubic (sic). They have no shame, conscience and no remorse.
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bessielil
trying to organize hummingbirds
12:42 PM on 08/13/2010
Yours seems like such an obvious solution. Marriage 'laws' from particular religious traditions vary greatly from the civil laws that cover spousal benefits and rights. That's why gay marriage IS a civil rights issue. It's hard to keep a straight face when people defend a policy based on their own beliefs. ..."cites his upbringing and religious beliefs as perfectly legitimate reasons for his position." Sure. And his state paid a fat check for the alleged research behind Rekers testimony. Yes, well. I don't belong to his particular club, so his rules don't apply for me.

I am an American citizen, however, so the laws of the land do affect my rights and responsibilities. I'd been divorced for three years when the day before my second wedding, I found out I had to get a Jewish divorce or the ceremony could not proceed. (?) No clergy would have to perform a service against their own beliefs, but civil unions for all could provide a bit more stability for children In the System, among other benefits.
12:36 PM on 08/13/2010
I got an answer.

"Why do so many conservatives, outraged at government meddling in everything from health care to the country's banking and financial systems, find it acceptable for the government to establish a definition for something as personal as marriage?"

Its because we got a complex legal system. If you define marriage as a relationship between man and women you get certain benefits from several goverment institutions.
In Germany we got a different term and same sex marriage is legal all the way with all benefits for the relationship partner like heritage etc.
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Bill J4321
12:25 PM on 08/13/2010
Your essay concerns me.

There are, I am sure you are aware, many LGBT citizens who are religious and attend church. There are many churches that accept LGBT citizens exactly as they are and already perform same-sex marriages.

Yet you state in your essay that, "marriage is widely held to be a religious institution" as if that would be a legitimate reason for excluding LGBT citizens from marriage. Simply because it is viewed as a ''religious institution.' That statement suggests the validity of one religion over another. That religious heterosexuals and their religious beliefs somehow trump LGBT citizens and theirs.

But what about the religious beliefs of LGBT citizens and THEIR churches? Are their religious freedoms not protected just as a heterosexual's religious freedom?

This subtle but pervasive statement is made multiple times in this piece, and it is indicative that we have a lot of growth to do as society.

I also question your motive for creating separate classes of civil unions. Doesn't that leave us where we began?

It is marriage for all or marriage for none. It is civil unions for all or civil unions for none.

The Constitution of The United States will sort this out. And as always, in the end, it will favor equality for all.

Whatever it's called.
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12:14 PM on 08/13/2010
Hi Mr. Rizvi, I must disagree with your alternative to legalizing gay marriage.

"The second -- not as widely discussed as the first -- is to revisit the idea of all-out, across-the-board abolition of marriage (gay or straight) as a legally recognized institution. This would mean that the government would recognize civil unions only, leaving both same-sex and heterosexual marriage to churches, synagogues, mosques, and other religious authorities or their secular equivalents."

To consider this alternative to legalizing the gay, is to give quarter to religious zealotry, and those fools are dead wrong, and they're disgusting.
11:58 PM on 08/13/2010
More to the point, it totally misunderstands what marriage is. Legal marriages ARE civil unions. They have nothing to do with religion. They are legal relationships that are formed on criteria determined by the State. So to say, do away with marriage and have only civil unions makes no sense.