The sanctity of marriage

2004-01-04 22:26

I know a lesbian. She might, some day, find someone she’d like to settle down with. When she does so, depending on local politics at the time, she might be able to legally marry this person, or might not. The argument for “not” is that, somehow, letting her get married would violate the “sanctity of marriage”.

Frankly, it’s bullshit.

Her father is screwing a 20-year-old student, which he hides from his wife. That sounds to me like a bigger problem for marriage. But it’s not just this one guy. A bit over half of straight people who are married cheat on their spouses. This percentage doesn’t vary much from one religious group to another.

That is to say that, for instance, in the US, there are more evangelical Christians committing adultery than there are gay people breathing.

Where, exactly, is the threat to the sanctity of marriage? I think it’s with the larger group full of people who are making a conscious decision to do something they believe is wrong.

Honestly, I don’t think civil marriage has any “sanctity” to begin with. It’s a legal contract which has certain social and economic effects. I can see no grounds for people to reject legal gay marriages, but allow the straight marriages of other religions. They’re just as “invalid” according to the traditional theology, after all.

But me, I’d like to have my marriage recognized even by people whose traditions I did not follow when getting married, and the Golden Rule suggests that, if I want people to recognize my marriage even though it’s not very much like theirs, then I should recognize theirs, even though theirs aren’t very much like mine.

I don’t buy the “sanctity of marriage” argument. I think it’s just one more way in which homosexuals are used as an excuse for the majority to feel smug and self-righteous about being born lucky, while quietly ignoring their own volitional failings. The sanctity of a marriage comes from the people involved, and God; it doesn’t come from what other people do, or don’t do.

Mr. B., if you ever stumble across this, I hope you do realize I’m talking about you. I hope you, some day, come to realize what it means that your daughter has to decide, having stumbled across graphic descriptions of your sexual exploits with that student, whether to tell her mom or not, knowing that you’ll just keep denying it, like you did last time. Do you realize what you’re doing? Think about the example you’re setting. Is it worth it? I am very glad that your daughter isn’t using you as a role model.

Just imagine a teenage girl, on Christmas Eve, stumbling across a letter from her father to a girl barely older than herself, reading “no no, i love it when you suck hard on my head”. Imagine that, and try to tell me with a straight face that the biggest threat to the sanctity of marriage is same-sex couples.

Peter Seebach

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