That line was of course uttered by William Shakespeare. Or, maybe it was Wiliam Shakespear, or Will Shakespeer, or any other way he signed his name. His friends might have called him Bill. President Barack Obama wants to tackle gay marriarge again. In the midst of the crisis in Africa and the Middle East as well as the local crises in Wisconsin and elsewhere some would argue this is not the right time or place.
That thought hit me as I left the house this morning right after Orange Man was making his comments. There is only so much political good will to go around and you don't want to waste it. Then again, I thought if not now, when? That is always the problems with pressing social issues. They are never quite as pressing as the latest foreign policy scare or the economic questions of the day. Yet, when people look back at 1964 do they remember an argument of taxes or the Civil Rights Act? When we think back to 1954 do we remember what was going on in Sweden or Brown v. Board of Education?
To me the problem is marriarge itself. On one side, you have the religious right crying that gay marriarge would destroy the fabric of marriage. Personally, I'm wondering if it could all compare to the five minute weddings we see in Hollywood. I've only been married eight years and there have been good times and bad. A majority of my students do not have the same last name as their primary guardian. They often have siblings with different last names as them. Divorce, separation, and out of wedlock families are a fact of life these days.
I struggle to see how civil unions play into that. I do understand how some people can't stomach same sex marriages. The issue as I see it is the use of the term marriage itself. It has all kinds of religious conotations. My wife and I were married in a church. I'm sure most of you were as well. Often it becomes difficult to separate the religious from the civil in those situations. So, the use of the word marriage has been overused and therefore has lost some of its meaning.
So, I sympathize to an extent. However, same sex couples only want the opportunity to commit themselves to each other. They want an opportunity to grow old together, share in their joy and sorrow, and have the security of knowing that what belongs to one belongs to the other. They want to visit each other in the hospital and have the same rights that married couples do. That includes filing jointly on tax returns, claiming a deceased partner's social security, or getting their rightful stake in their estate. These things cost a little and mean a lot. The time for real progress should never be delayed for temporary relief. Yet, we need to be understanding about it as well.
Like it or not, the word marriage will always be sacred for some. I say let it be. In the eyes of the law, everyone should have a civil union. That way, everyone is equal without stomping on the sensibilities of anyone. In the eyes of God we may be married, betroved, joined, or one. Let the church decide who is married.