Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Government has no role in marriage

Some people have no respect for the sanctity of marriage. They view marriage as something to horde and keep for themselves. To them, it’s a political football to be kicked around Albany — or  Washington, D.C.

There is no logical reason that I can understand why Republicans and Democrats should have the privilege of defining marriage, any more than they should be allowed to define the words “hope,” “love” or “commitment.”

If I believed for a second that politicians understood hope, love or commitment, I may be willing to consider their ability to define marriage. But I have little faith — another word I don’t want politicians defining — that elected officials understand any of these concepts.

There are several dictionary definitions of the word “marriage.” The one I tend to give the most credence to is: “The combination of two things into a new single entity.”

In the current debate over the word marriage, the question is whether it need be a union between a man and woman, or simply a union between two people. See, the state of New York decided a long time ago that marriage is specifically a union between a man and woman. And currently, there are 31 people in the state Senate who seem to want to keep it that way.

The latest census figures say that there are more than 19 million people living in New York. Scientific data says that one in 10 people is gay. Simple math, therefore, says that there are 1.9 million homosexuals in New York who can’t marry their person of choice because of 31 people who call themselves “public servants.”

I’ve always viewed marriage as a commitment between two people — and God. Marriage is a religious institution. Not a state institution. The only reason for the state’s involvement is to oversee the financial ramifications of the marriage, and as is far-too-often the case, the eventual divorce.

The state should be nothing more than a witness to a union created by the church. But as it is right now, there are 31 people objecting to what could potentially be 10 percent of marriages. Not just objecting, mind you, but vetoing them.

In my opinion, if a happy couple can find a church to marry them, the state should not stand in the way.
Many churches won’t want to marry same-sex couples. And I don’t have a problem with their hesitation or refusal to do so. They should not be forced to. They shouldn’t be barred from it, though, either.

Some would suggest that “marriage” be reserved for couples of a man and a woman, while allowing same-sex couples to have “civil unions.” These people are engaging in semantics, essentially creating the “straights-only” drinking fountains of the 21st century.

You may wholeheartedly disagree with me. That is certainly your right. I would suggest, however, that if you don’t want gay marriage, don’t marry someone of your own sex. And leave it at that.

You don’t get to tell other people what they can eat, drink or say in their own homes. We’ve finally reached the point where most of us have concluded that you can’t tell people what they can do in their own bedrooms, either. The next logical step is that we shouldn’t tell people who they can marry in their own churches.

Hope, love, commitment and faith are not things to be hoarded.