Friday, October 31, 2008

Open and Shut: Should Same-Sex Marriage Be Legal?


Despite the rather confident tone in which I wrote this article, I now believe that I was incorrect. Please see my followup post here.

A lot of the issues we deal with in political thinking are genuinely difficult, where no obvious answer presents itself, and controversy and disagreement are nearly inevitable. But same-sex marriage is not one of them. It is entirely inexcusable that this discussion has gone on as long as it has. Here is what I take to be the crux of the problem:

1) According to some people, marriage is a sacred institution, and its sacred status is somehow linked to homosexual couples not being allowed to be married.

2) In our country, marriage is not only a religious institution, but is a distinct legal status. The fact that this legal status is only available to heterosexual adults seems to be discriminatory to homosexuals. And institutionalized discrimination is contrary to our government's founding principles.

Oh heavens? What is to be done? Watch:

3) Our government is founded on the idea that church and state should remain separated. Because marriage is a sacred institution, the state should be barred from being involved with it in any capacity. If the government wants to accord a special legal status to cohabiting parties to certain kinds of contracts, then fine. It can't be "marriage," because that's a sacred institution. It would be like according a special status to people who have been Bar Mitzvah-ed. Not allowed.

See how easy that was? Good. Now we can all go home.

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