Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Balls and Chains

In principle, I support same-sex marriage, but somewhat less than I support gays being allowed to serve in the military …and just as much as, in principle, I support equal access to the death penalty for gay serial killers.

My point is I don’t believe in the death penalty, have a hard time justifying any war likely to be proposed by any of the world’s current leaders, and cannot understand the appeal of marriage, gay or straight.

I have not wanted to marry … ever. Marriage didn’t even enter into my childhood fantasies. When I was told as a lad of 10 or 11 that homosexuals were men that (1) liked to wear women’s clothing and (2) wanted to marry other men, that misinformation gave me a decade of self-deluding comfort that I could not possibly be a homosexual.

Mainly I lack the desire to marry, but in recent years I have had opportunity to build a case against the institution of marriage:

1. The religious connotations. I don’t believe in gods, so having the blessing of one of these imaginary beings on one or any of my personal relationships is no more desirable to me than receiving a valentine card from a leprechaun.

2. Relationship buidling. I’ve never seen a marriage deepen a relationship any more than it was already before the wedding. Given the considerable expense of getting married, especially if one is inclined to “do it right,” a wedding should accomplish a lot more than simply make an existing relationship “official.” The costs far outweigh the benefits.

3. The government connection. I can’t see what business it is of the state of North Carolina or the US federal government whom I may choose to spend the rest of my life with. I can understand the point of a driver’s license, perhaps even a fishing license, but a marriage license? Why? If I’ve spurned the possible approval of my own parents in choosing to love another man, why would I want George W. Bush’s approval?

4. Health and economic benefits. Political clout and energies would be better spent on gaining universal health care, independent of one’s marital status or employment, and (see #3) I don’t recognize the government's vested interest in awarding tax benefits to married couples, when, by and large, single people have to bear the greater burden in cost of living and work productivity—for instance, single people will still be paying for America’s public school system after all the marrieds with children have spent their vouchers on home-schooling and St Homophobia’s White-Only Christian Academy.

5. Commitment. It seems presumptuous of me to swear that I’m going to love and/or cherish anyone or anything for the rest of my life. I love Häagen-Dazs pineapple-coconut ice cream, expect I’ll love it till the day I die, but I’ll be damned if I’m going to sign a contract promising to love it even five months from now. How does one contract or guarantee one's future feelings? Given a 50% divorce rate, most such marital vows are empty rhetoric anyway. I don’t want to cut off the possibility of personal growth and change—or even of surprise--for me or for the person I love.

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