Tuesday, August 17, 2010

What Is Marriage?

With proposition 8 and other events swirling about, I have been thinking what marriage and why utlization of the word and being married is so important. Today, I think I came to an answer;

Marriage is special, it is something you share with someone you love. Something that lives, maybe not in the way you or I live, but it lives within you and the person you share it with. Marriage is unconditional love; the desire and willpower to stand at your lovers side throughout all arguments, all troubles, all calamities. Harsh words can kill it, maim it, but loving words and daily attentions can make it thrive. It is that special look you see in the eyes of your special someone, like sharing a secret that no one else knows. It is happiness, it is patience, it is kindness, forgiveness. It is love, but much more. A bond that binds your love, and symbolizes the commitment that each partner has made so long as each is faithful. To me, the commitment should be stronger, so that it is harder to get a divorce and harder to go to Vegas and be married in 15 minutes. It should be planning, it should be consideration, it should be sharing time with your best friend.

But it is more than that as well, because marriage also embraces the sexual, it entombs the closeness one can get as they share in a lover's embrace, and are at the utmost levels of intimacy; something not to be shared, or should not be shared, with anyone but that special someone.

And for some religions, marriage gets you closer to God. In the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, marriage is all of the above, but ideally marriage is also a mutual relationship with God. Being spiritual together, sharing thoughts, praying together, learning together as you plan to be together through time and all eternity; sharing all that is important with the one you love.

Hopefully more most, marriage implies all that. (Including the spiritual, however it can be defined for any individual) Marriage between the individuals should mean all that. Society may not see it that way, government just tags marriage with a bunch of tax benefits, protections, and other associated rights, but for the most part, those are extra.

So what makes the difference between a civil unions and marriage then? If all the same benefits and rights that the government tags to marriage are tagged to civil unions, then legally nothing is different. But what does civil union imply? Because all of what I said that marriage is, is what I view marriage as, how I view it's composition. Is the same imagery that I view marriage as also apply to civil unions? For me... not really.

While civil unions should embrace all that marriage is, all the love and care and attentions that are implied and should be present in both marriage and a civil union; the imagery inspired by a civil union is signing a contract with a government. That is what first comes to mind, because that is what civil unions are. They are not a concept that marriage is, but rather a legal device.

And so for the first time in contemplating this, I see why same gendered couples are not satisfied with being constrained to civil unions; because conceptually and idealistically a civil union and a marriage, while they can legally be equal under law, are not equal in the slightest. Does love exist in both? Yes. Does Happiness exist in both? Yes. But why settle for one concept when the other fully defines and/or epitomizes your love for the other.

Just something to think about.


Merinmel Caesg said...

I feel like you've summed these up pretty well. Question: Do you think that most amongst the "Religious Right" would accept constitutional protection of civil unions if the word "marriage" was struck from all laws? So, if civil unions were open to any two people who wished to bind their lives together and marriage was left to be determined by religions and celebrants?

Sam, The Nanti-SARRMM said...

Merinmel: Would the "Religious Right" go for it? I would venture to say no. Not without a fight at least and calling democrats socialists and all sorts of hype about taking God out of the country and socialism and all that.

But I think that would be best. Mexico does it, many countries in Europe does it. And I think it would work. Require that the only legal marriage/union is a civil union; and then you can get married how you please. It is the best answer to this debate because then it would mean that government doesn't get to define what marriage is. Nor would states. It would remain a right of the individual, based on how the couple see it. That is the answer I think.