aishabintjamil: (union)
This morning I opened my local paper (the Manchester Union Leader), which for the record I find mostly useful to get the grocery sale fliers, the weekly coupon circulars, and city notices about important things like garbage collection. There, on page 1 was an editorial about gay marriage, which is currently under consideration by the NH Senate. NH already has civil unions, but is now considering expanding that to simply call them marriage. The Union Leader, for those reading this outside NH, has a very long history of being extremely conservative. (One of their more entertaining efforts was something about 20 years ago about the EEEEVILS of Dungeon's and Dragons, which they felt encouraged a whole list of bad things, including magic, demon worship, womens liberation, and Jungian psychology.)

So I wasn't particularly surprised to find anti-gay marriage editorials, both from a local editor, and a syndicated columnist by the name of William Murchison. It included this statement:

"Marriage, as historically defined, across all religious and non-religious demarcations, is about children -- which is why a marriage in which the couple deliberately repudiates childbearing is so odd a thing, to put the matter as generously as possible."

That got me thinking about the whole marriage is about having children, and you can't have children if you're the same sex, therefore it's not a "real" marriage argument.

Adoption apparently doesn't count, so all you readers who may have been adopted, sorry, you've just been devalued. You apparently somehow count less than the kids who were properly conceived by the people raising them. Sorry.

But, if marriage is only "real" if you're going to procreate, doesn't that devalue the heterosexual marriages of people who have decided they don't want to have children? Or the people who can't for some reason - say a woman who would desperately like to have children, but had uterine cancer and had to have a radical hysterectomy to save her life? Or the people who may have found a person they want to share their life with at an age too advanced to safely try to have children?

This argument that reduces "real" marriage to a vehicle for having children devalues and attacks all these heterosexual unions, as well the unions between people of the same gender. If I were one of these people I'd be mad as heck at the conservatives advancing this argument.

I find myself imagining how marriage might work if you really followed this through to its logical conclusion. If marriage is only real for purposes of procreation, logic dictates that before you can get that marriage license you go to your doctor and get certified that you're capable of procreating. (If we were talking about animals here, it would be called a breeding exam, but of course people wouldn't put it that bluntly). Fertility problem? Sorry, no marriage license for you. Performance issues for the gentleman? Nope, come back in a month and see if you can do better.

If you wanted to carry this to the ultimate conclusion, if marriage is just about procreation, why stay married after the kids are adults and have left home? Your job is done at that point, isn't it?

Of course it wouldn't work that way. We can all see that. Why? Because a good marriage is much more than procreation. A good marriage is two people wanting to share their lives, to share good times and bad, to be there for each other.

Those kinds of unions do benefit society because they encourage people to think about something more than just themselves. But if you have two people who make that commitment to each other, it really doesn't matter what biological plumbing they may have. Their relationship is still contributing to society and deserves the same civil benefits and duties that the traditional marriage confers.


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December 2016

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