A Response to those in California who believe that Human Rights are subject to Popular Vote.16 June, 2010
Today, in California, arguments are being made before the state supreme court regarding the legality of Proposition 8 (liveblogging here). Here is my response to those who think that mythology is a good reason to deny human beings their human rights:
Marriage is, ultimately, a civil contract in which the partners merge their economic interests — taxes, home and car ownership — and (presumably) creates an obligation on the part of both partners to provide, financially, for any creations of the marriage through procreation or adoption. The actual plumbing has zilch to do with the civil contract (and yes, it is a civil contract: as I have written before, (((Wife))) and I were married in her parent’s living room by a Justice of the Peace with no involvement by any religious group (organized or other) and no reference at all to god(s) or ‘holy’ texts).
If a couple (or polycouple (if I may coin a word here)) want to add another layer and involve a church, by all means, go right ahead if it makes you feel happy to imaginarilly bless your marriage by an imaginary sky daddy. Of course, if you plumbing (or polycouploid joining) does not concur with the mythology, do not expect a church to be forced to recognize your union.
However, with or without the ‘blessings’ of mythology, the civil contract still exists and the state (as well as employers) must recognize that the two or more people who have come together as ‘married’ now, in certain limited economic and civil situations, are recognized as a unit. This includes rights such as hospital visitation, burial preferences, schooling, property ownership, and right of inheritance. Notice that all of these civil unitary situations are non-religious (a veneer of religion can be placed over most of them, but it is not necessary) in nature.
The state does have an interest in marriage. Specifically, the state’s interest is the same as any other civil contract — the state exists as a legal recourse in the event of dissolution of said contract or disagreements by the parties involved regarding the specific legal rights and duties of those who have signed the civil contract.
When a right-wing religious asshat starts spouting off about the sanctity of marriage, the tradition of marriage, the holiness of marriage, the blessings of marriage and all that other claptrap, I always feel queasy. They seem to be saying that marriage is an inherently religious act, that without religion, the marriage itself does not exist. Which is, as I hope I have pointed out above, pure and unadulterated bullshit.
California, please recognize that marriage is a civil contract and that the pearl-clutching of some Christianist asshats is not enough to deny human rights to human beings.
I have had an incredible case of writer’s block (along with sprained ankle and lots of life hitting me). I wrote the above as a comment on the Endless Thread at Pharyngula and was so impressed by my rant that I decided it needed to hit my blog. Will that solve my writer’s block? Hopefully. We’ll see.