Gay Marriage: An Odd Solution to Legitimate Problems
I have relatives on different sides of moral issues than myself. Every now and then I try to find middle ground. It usually turns into one giant online dogpile, with random people I don't know coming out of the woodwork to unload all their venom and anger at me. I'm grateful I've had a stepsister, a cousin, and a stepbrother-in-law (married to a different stepsister) who are brave enough to step up and argue the same side as me after I've withstood the initial barrage, but it generally is an exercise in futility. My most recent experience was thus:
My relative posted one of those propaganda reposts. It stated: "It's not about marriage, it's about inheritance, it's about visiting people in hospitals, it's about benefits, that is why we must keep fighting!" I believe the idea was that since Dobbs overturned Roe v Wade, Obergefell (redefining marriage to include homosexual relationships) was on the table.
I responded that I supported changes to inheritance laws, changes to hospital regulations to allow visitors, and changing of laws regulating insurance and benefits to include nonmarried unrelated persons, and that marriage did not have to be redefined for them to get what they want. Apparently, that was the wrong thing to say. During the exchange there were a few things left me scratching my head. Here are a few examples:
Inheritance: They complained that one homosexual woman that was in a homosexual relationship for 40+ years was taxed over $395K in federal taxes when she inherited her roommate's stuff. Their major argument was that a married spouse was exempt from federal inheritance taxes, so their solution was to redefine marriage. My solution: get rid of the inheritance tax. That has already been done, so why the fuss? The next complaint was if the individual had a family and they fought legally to take the stuff, the homosexual partner would not have any recourse. Their solution, redefine marriage. My solution, make a will. You can bequeath your stuff to whoever you want. If you don't have one when you die, your lack of preparedness could cause a lot of pain and heartache among your surviving friends and family. Somehow, redefining marriage is supposed to prevent this.
Hospital Visitations: I have never been denied access to visit a friend at a hospital even if they were dying. My relatives claim it is because I'm a heterosexual white male. I always assumed that it was because the people where I live aren't jack-donkeys. I recently had a friend go into the hospital, in ICU for just over a week, with the doctor's unsure of if he'd make it. He's black. Life experiences have also taught him to be racist against whites. (Knowing his life stories, I can't say I blame him. His distrust of whites is a healthy response to his experiences.) We are definitely not related, but neither the hospital staff nor his family ever tried to prevent me from visiting him. I personally couldn't fathom hospitals or families of the deceased preventing anyone from visiting a sick person in the hospital (unless there's a restraining order or medical reason to limit contact). Anyone who does is a jerk of the highest order. Their solution to people being jerks: Redefine marriage! My solution would be to change the laws regulating hospitals. You can regulate hospital policies, but unfortunately there's nothing you can do about the rest of the family being jerks. Another problem they brought up was being unable to make medical decisions for your homosexual partner once rest of the family shows up. Their solution: Redefine marriage! My solution: file a medical power of attorney. You can name whoever you want on it, and it's legally binding. One person started to argue that once someone is dead, medical power of attorney expires, thus the person with medical POA gets cut out by anyone with a marriage license. I understand they were trying to invalidate my point, but consider what would have to happen for that scenario to take place. A homosexual person would have to have a heterosexual marriage. Then they would have to leave that heterosexual marriage, without a divorce, and find a homosexual partner. Then when they finally do die, drama ensues. Their solution to this drama and pain? Redefine marriage! My solution... don't have extramarital affairs. The homosexual in this hypothetical situation is the real villain: cheating on and abandoning a spouse, and once they die, both former sex partners are left traumatized and hurt by this homosexual's choices. There are means already in existence to deal with visitations and such, but don't expect immoral choices to result in sunshine and puppies for everyone affected. That's why these things are immoral -- they hurt others.
Benefits/Insurance: The complaint is that they won't be able to put a non-child or non-spouse on your insurance, nor can you get your benefits to apply to them either. Their solution: Redefine marriage! My solution: make it legal to put a non-child or non-spouse on your insurance and benefits. No need to redefine marriage. If you have a friend with no medical insurance, and you both agree, why not add them to your insurance? My wife says it's a bad idea because some people (like herself) can't tell moochers no. To me, being able to put a non-child, non-spouse on your insurance is preferable to redefining marriage, and a better solution to the uninsured than socialized medicine.
Marriage is a right: I'm not sure when, but at some point, the courts defined marriage as a right. This is wrong. I was shouted down, called an idiot, but they went into meltdown mode when I very clearly stated, "marriage is not a right" and maintained that position. Marriage being a right completely ignores the function of marriage. Historically marriage has been about three things: bringing families together, perpetuating the family tree, and social approval for sexual activity between the individuals involved. None of these are things an individual can do without other people's permission. Rights tend to be things that don't require consent from other people. Freedom of Religion, freedom of speech, the right to keep and bear arms, the right to be secure in your papers and effects -- you don't need permission for any of these. But a right to marriage? You need permission before sexual activity. You need permission before making an alliance between families. You need permission before creating life. If any of those things happen without permission, it can become a crime, sometimes a very serious crime.
But it's not about any of these things. If it wasn't about marriage, as they stated, I would not still be getting notifications about more people trying to counter me. I speculate they want homosexuality to be socially sanctioned and considered equal to heterosexuality. No matter which way you look at it, they are not equal and not the same. While both activities tend to produce anxiety and mental health issues in people, only one of them perpetuates the human species. That also happens to be the only one that can, when exercised per traditional moral ideals shared by all civilized societies, improve mental health, strengthen families, and strengthen societies. There is a reason all civilized societies have the ideal of abstinence before heterosexual marriage and fidelity after. Without that ideal society goes to chaos, and we're seeing it happen before our very eyes.
Monroe Wesson is the pen name of an author, engineer, and translator enjoying a traditional marriage.
Image: Jose Antonio Navas