marriage 1a. The legal union of a man and woman as husband and wife. b. The state of being married; wedlock. c. A common-law marriage. d. A union between two persons having the customary but usu. not the legal force of marriage: a same sex marriage.
So I looked up "marry", because the dictionary told me to:
marry -tr. 1a To join as spouses by exchanging vows. b. To take a spouse. c. To give in marriage. 2. To preform a marriage ceremony for. 3. To obtain by marriage. 4. Nautical To join (two ropes) end to end by interweaving their strands. 5. To unite in a close, usu. permanent way.
-intr.</i> 1. To take a spouse; wed. 2. To combine or blend agreeably.</i>
So I looked up Spouse, because I was highly curious as to what this "spouse" they talked about was. Is it a man, a woman, or even gender-specific?
spouse A marriage partner; a husband or wife.
Hmm. Weird. So where does "spouse" come from? that might tell me more:
[ME < OFr. spous < Lat. sponsus < p. part. of spondere, to pledge.]
It then directed me to the PIE root of the word, spend- and so I went and looked it up.
spend- To make an offering, perform a rite, hence to engage oneself by a ritual act.
So there's a lot of jargon there. What does it all mean? It means basically that the dictionary defines marriage as an pledge between two parties of indeterminate gender.
Personally, I think this rocks.
So, why on earth do I care?
Hell, I don't know. I'm straight, in a long-term relationship with a beautiful woman, and I don't plan to get married in the next year or two, nor do I place a huge importance on it. I'm conservative and generally vote Republican. I've never experimented with homosexualtiy, and I'm not likely to. I was raised in a town where "gayness" was kept out of sight, and not a single person ever "came out" to anyone that I knew; to be "gay" was a horrid thing that no one spoke about. I don't even pretend to understand how anyone could be attracted to a man. Quite simply, I have no reason to be Pro-Gay Marriage, and a cursory glance at me would make me at best indifferent, but at worst completely Anti-Gay Marriage.
But then I look around me. I realize that some of the people I respect most are gay, bisexual, or of other orientation.
I think for a moment, "Well, shit. You know, it's an unimportant issue to me. It really is. I could care less if a person who is not me can get married."
The next moment I think, "Yes, but damnitalltohell, it matters to some people I consider friends, and what is a friend if not someone who will stand up for you in times of need?"
Finally, I think, "You know, some gay people are far more committed to their partners than many are to their legal spouses. What sort of sense does it make that Brittney Spears can get married for 72 hours, but Kirk can't get married to Steve for life? What kind of a fucked up world is that? If there's logic here, I missed that boat."
So I start to write letters. I begin to consider this a sticking point in the next election. I follow wild tangents that form in my brain about definitions of words that I've taken for granted.
Personally, there are two totally acceptable outcomes, but there's no middle ground in this case. At least, not to me.
Outcome #1: Gay marriage is allowed, and given equal status with heterosexual marriages. To paraphrase the Mass. court, "separate but equal" is has never been.
Outcome #2: All marriages are more difficult to get. If you're concerned with the "sanctity of marriage", walk the talk. Eliminate the ability of a person to get married on a whim. Make it so full of red-tape, lacking in benefits, and heap fees on top until it reaches a breaking point, and no one who is sane would get married. Only those imbued with the absolute insanity of love and devotion.
And this business of a constitutional amendment? I have little to say on that, but what I have to say is very important:
1: The Constitution is designed to grant freedoms, not take them away. Any amendment restricting any freedom would be very much against it's spirit, in my opinion. Note the repeal of the 18th amendment.
2: The Constitution is not designed as a dictionary, either. Thus my use of the American Heritage Dictionary. Use documents as they are intended, not as toilet paper for taking notes.
Thank you for listening. We now return you to you're regularly scheduled programming. Please remember to write your congresspersons (all of them) while watching said programming.