Today, I bring you the solution to the marriage equality problem! I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about this issue since it does directly impact my life. Someday, I’m going to marry that cute, feisty, smart chick that puts up with me and all my “quirks” and NOTHING and NOBODY will stand in my way!
Now, you may be thinking, “How could you possibly have a solution? Lots of people more experienced in politics and law haven’t been able to find a solution that makes all parties happy.” That is precisely WHY I have the solution. I’m not involved in politics. I don’t give a shit if my constituents are happy with me or not. I’m simply looking for a fair and EQUAL solution.
I bring a unique perspective to this matter. I have been married to a man and I’ve been in a domestic partnership with a woman. I’ve been on both sides of the fence, so to speak. I even did the church wedding, despite the fact that I’m not religious and didn’t want one. No, that was done to please two sets of parents that had their hearts set on seeing a church wedding.
Let’s start with the church wedding. This seems to be the sticking point for so many people. Many of those who object to marriage equality say it is because God (if you are inclined to believe such an entity exists) declared that marriage should be between a man and a woman. Now, I’m not going to get into bible quotes and go down that road because I find religion and religious institutions to be deeply flawed. They often do not evolve with the times, as we have seen with this particular issue. If your RELIGIOUS belief is that marriage can only be between a man and a woman, then it is your right to believe that. It is also my right to disagree and say that it is an antiquated and discriminatory view. But, we have separation of church and state for a reason…at least we’re supposed to.
That brings us to the meat of the problem. Who can tell me what piece of paperwork you absolutely have to acquire before you can be LEGALLY married? Anyone? Yes. A CIVIL marriage license. Now, once my husband-to-be and I had that piece of paper in hand, we could’ve gone to a justice of the peace to get married. No church was necessary. Just a state sanctioned officiant and witness. God didn’t need to be there and neither did a priest, rabbi, or minister. To get married in a church, we still had to obtain the civil license. That legal piece of paper is what really says you are married.
A domestic partnership works much the same way. Piece of paper, signatures, public notary. It is a binding legal document, just as a marriage license is. That, however, is where the similarities end. The benefits are not the same. The process for divorce is not the same. The tax rules are not the same. Same-sex couples in a domestic partnership ARE treated differently because that legal document is not considered to be as important as a marriage license. Is that really fair?
One definition of marriage is that it is an intimate or close union. Well, that pretty much sums it up. A union between two people who love each other and want to spend their lives together. Simple. So why is it difficult for people to understand why the queer community is fighting so hard to gain this piece of equality? We aren’t asking to come into your churches. We aren’t forcing you to marry someone of the same sex. We are simply asking to have the same CIVIL rights as the heterosexual population.
There have been those who say that they don’t care if we have the same rights as long as we don’t call it marriage. Well, that’s just plain silly. Why can’t we call it marriage? It’s the same civil process as you heterosexuals. This is where my brilliant solution comes in. You folks who see marriage as a religious institution, sanctioned by God, can have a new phrase! We’ll call your relationships “Religious Unions” and the rest of godless heathens will take marriage. Everybody gets the same rights, same benefits, same standing under the law. And you get a brand spanking new way to stand out from the rest of us! Isn’t that great? You can walk around all proud of your “religious union” that can only be between a man and a woman (because God said so!), and marriage can be reclaimed by the civil world and used as it was intended.
What’s that? You don’t like having to use a special phrase to describe your loving, committed relationship? You feel isolated from the rest of the world because we say you’re in a “religious union” and not “married”? You don’t want to be singled out and feel different?
Well, neither fucking do we. Welcome to the world of all the queers in relationships who aren’t allowed to get married because you assholes want to forever control ownership of that word and that institution in your safe, privileged, heterosexual world.
So, until we ALL have the right to marry, don’t expect us to shut up about it and accept some bullshit solution like a different phrase or your “separate but equal” nonsense.