by Colleen Gleeson
Published Friday, November 11, 2005
Homosexuals simply cannot get married. Opening such a revered sacrament to unions besides those between a man and a woman would simply ruin the meaning and significance of the institution of marriage.Source: The Clemson University Tiger
But honestly, who cares if it is ruined? The average heterosexual American doesn't. After all, the sanctity of marriage means nothing to him outside of the same-sex partnership debate. If it did, would he live with his girlfriend for years, 'trying out' the relationship before he got married, the way he test drives cars? Would he pay a lawyer to draw up a pre-nuptial agreement determining beforehand which partner got what in the event that the relationship dissolved? Would the increasing trend be for his wife to keep her own or hyphenate her maiden name, and to maintain a separate checking account? Would the family dog outlive the typical marriage and the pet goldfish last the average span between unions? Probably not.
The truth of the matter is that marriage is no longer sacred, nor has it been so for a rather long time. Couples can get married on the strip in Las Vegas while in an intoxicated state that would deem them unfit to drive or carry on a coherent conversation. Divorces are increasingly easy and popular, typically only a signature away. It seems as though, in anticipation of divorce, couples go ahead and get most of the paperwork out of the way up front. Pre-nups cover the financial issues; the practice of separate accounts, names, and personal lives handles the rest. This is the state of marriage today. At least from the surface it does not appear as though there is very much to protect.
The latest U.S. Census sheds an ominous light on the issue. Half of all first marriages end in divorce. They last an average of seven to eight years, and after the split, divorcees typically remarry within three years. During such a short period of time, it is evidently possible to go from promising the rest of your life to one person to devoting yourself completely to another. No wonder second marriages endure for only six years on average. Approximately one third of marriages make it to the quarter century mark, and less than five percent see a fifty year anniversary. These are not the numbers of an institution truly held sacred by society.
The religious argument holds little water for the average American. True, most religious doctrines specify that marriages are to be between a man and a woman. Most also indicate fidelity, respect, and longevity as being part of the deal. Who dictates whether it is better for a man to cheat on his wife or marry another male? Society certainly accepts one, while vehemently abhors the other. It would be interesting to investigate how often those who use this line of reasoning actually apply the doctrine they argue to the rest of their lives.
Maybe marriage is not on the decline, but has simply been redefined. Take the word 'forever.' People are living longer these days, and it might be asking a bit much for marriages to last that long. It might be more appropriate to use terms such as 'until the going gets rough' or 'while my partner is still attractive.' Perhaps the last line of the vows should read 'until inconvenience do us part.' If such is the case, can't the part about 'man and wife' be doctored, as well?
So the question arises: Why get married at all? From a purely fiscal sense, the average divorce costs more than the money saved on taxes by being married over the course of the average union. Emotionally, it would be less tasking on the heart to break up with a boyfriend than to divorce a husband because the fa硤e of forever would never have existed. Vows would not be broken, and society could be a great deal more honest with itself. That anyone, no matter their sexual orientation, puts any faith in the institution is quite a curious concept. The question should not be whether or not to allow same-sex marriages, but rather why in the world homosexuals want to partake in such a meaningless and outdated tradition.
Why is it that Americans can ignore the sanctity of marriage while cheating on their wives, arguing with their husbands, beating their partner and changing their spouse more often than their hairstyle, yet still passionately campaign to exclude homosexuals from lawful unions? The truth is, marriage is not sacred anymore. Whether or not one agrees with same-sex marriage, it is ridiculous to claim that homosexuals would ruin the sacrament. There is little left to destroy.