After watching all of CNN I could stomach this morning I am left with a question. The “moderator” – so-called – posed the question: Is Gay Marriage a Civil Rights Issue?
Predictably the responses put up for all to read were pro and con.
My question: How many “married” couples do you know that do not have a marriage license, a certificate of marriage or some such document to show that they registered with a Civil entity prior to being allowed to be joined in Wedlock? I am aware that in some states there is what is called common law ‘marriage.’ And in some states that particular type of cohabitation has been either deleted or revised so that persons so involved are no longer considered ‘married’ under the law.
Marriage can be done by an Official of the Court – a justice of the peace or judge. In most cases a ‘marriage’ is a witnessed event and two witnesses must affix their signatures to a legal document.
That legal document then serves to record and validate the cohabitation of the persons to which it accords the “right’ to be married. It is a legal document which has many other useful purposes – such as proof of existence – right to property dispersal, right of beneficiary, as well as the right to sue for divorce. Notice that it is a document that denotes certain rights.
For those that want to anoint marriage as having some sort of mystically religious significance – please remember that the book so often referred to as your authority talks of a relationship in which the male was in total and complete control of the wife – even to the extent of determining whether she lived or died. Marriage – not necessarily monogamous marriage, has been part of human culture for as long as men have ‘taken’ a women as chattel or property, either as a single companion or in multiples.
It has not been until the male – female relationship came under the scrutiny of Civil Courts that the male has had restrictions placed on how he can treate his female counterpart.
Back to the question: Is Gay Marriage a Civil Right? If it is not then neither is the marriage of a heterosexual union. Strip away all of the cultural niceties and religious veneer and you are left with a relationship between two human beings that is civil in it’s documentation, social in the witnessing and human in it’s relational aspect.
If it is not a civil right – then there is no basis for civil disunion, as well.