Bush After the Gay Marriage Amendment, Again

That sure puts my faith back into the two party system - the Democrats want a big government that can tax and control a lot of my income, and the Republicans want... well, a big government that might tax me a little less but wants to control my private life.

from Bush Seeks Amendment Against Gay Marriage:
WASHINGTON - President Bush (news - web sites) says legalizing gay marriage would redefine the most fundamental institution of civilization and that a constitutional amendment is needed to protect it.

. . .

Leading the chorus of support for an amendment, Bush said, "If courts create their own arbitrary definition of marriage as a mere legal contract, and cut marriage off from its cultural, religious and natural roots, then the meaning of marriage is lost and the institution is weakened."

I say, as I've said before: get the government out of the marriage business all together. At most, I would find it acceptable for the government to enforce whatever sort of marriage/civil union/whatever contracts that two (or three, or four..) people decide to enter into. I don't want a government that likes to decide how 'civilization' ought to be, or a President who takes it upon himself to protect the 'cultural, religious, and natural roots' of marriage or anything else.

Here's a crazy idea: let culture emerge from free choices of individuals. If it changes, then it changes. If individuals don't like the way it changes, they can keep living the same way they were before, and they can let other people live how they want too. If Bush wants to refuse to recognize the private arrangements homosexuals make as marriage, let him do it - as a private, personal choice.

This is a fight about a name, about language. No one (important) is arguing that the government should outlaw homosexuals living together, having intimate relations, sharing finances, and the like. No one is arguing that they shouldn't be allowed to live in pretty much exactly the same way straight married people do, aside from gender difference and biological inability to have each other's children. Bush and like-thinkers just don't like t he thought that the word 'marriage' be used to describe such partnerships, because Marriage means something to a lot of people, and that just ain't what it means. And we are in the ridiculous situation of having that be a political issue because, unfortunately, there is this official legal thing that happens to also be called Marriage, and both sides want it to be the same as their personal idea of what that is.

There are other concerns of course - spouse benefits from insurance and the like. But I think the fight is still primarily one about language for two reasons: one, because many opponents of gay marriage would allow for civil unions that were basically equivalent to marriage in most everything but name, and two, because questions of insurance benefits from employers and the like comes down to whether or not the employer should have to recognize homosexual partnerships as marriages. Spouses get the benefits and non-spouses do not, so the question is whether or not a homosexual partner should be classified as a spouse or merely as a partner - a question of language, of classification.

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