Monday, February 7, 2011

Marriage, Gay Marriage, Civil Unions

On goes the debate as to whether we allow gay couples to marry. The debate is often framed “should we allow for gay marriage or not?” To me, the discussion we are having is not what we ought to be discussing.

License definition per Webster’s: “a permission granted by competent authority to engage in a business or occupation or in an activity otherwise unlawful”

New York State is the “competent authority” that authorizes two consenting adults to enter into the “business” of marriage. In the eyes of the State the “marriage license” shows that each of those consenting adults agree to the terms of “marriage” which affords some protections and benefits to said consenting adults.

While taking my real estate course and exam it goes through NYS Civil Rights Law which lays out the numerous reasons one cannot discriminate against another based on race, sex, religion, familial status, disability, marital status, age, national origin, or color.

So if I as a Realtor, someone selling a piece of property, or someone renting an apartment cannot tell someone that they cannot enter into an agreement based on any of the criteria above, how can NY State tell one of said consenting adults that they cannot enter into “business of marriage” based on the criteria above? If the State is telling two men or two women that they cannot enter into the agreement, then one of the two is being discriminated against based solely on their sex which is not allowed.

Something else we hear much of is that of “Civil Unions”. We are told that gays should just go with the Civil Union because it is essentially the same thing as marriage. So here is my thought, If a Civil Union offers the same protections and benefits as marriage to two consenting adults then why isn’t NY State, or any state for that matter, in the business of issuing Civil Union Licenses? Thus, leaving marriage to remain where it should remain, between the two consenting adults and whatever religion they practice?

It just seems to me that maybe we started off on the wrong foot allowing the state to get involved in marriage. As I happily prepare to enter into a marriage this weekend here in the States, and then another ceremony the following week in my fiance’s home country of Thailand it has brought these questions to mind. Here we will be married by a Reverend and in Thailand the ceremony is not really religious at all. So marriage, the act of joining of two consenting adults lives has nothing to do with the state, county, or country at all.

If I wish to gain the benefits and protections in my state I can understand the need for the civil union and am happy to comply.

So let us change the dialogue. Civil Unions for all couples and Marriage can remain between you, your partner, and the God of your choosing. The State should get out of the business of marriage.

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