Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Gay marriage amendment ambivalence

Wisconsin is sending a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage to the ballots for voters to decide on. If you haven't noticed, I've been pretty silent on the matter. I'll address it here, but I need to start with a quote from a post that I wrote on August 11, 2004:
Ultimately I think the current marriage problem is much deeper than the gay marriage issue. Marriage is ultimately a religious institution. Marriage's role in today's society is a direct result of its historical role in religion as the joining of a man and a woman as one, creating a union to meet the needs of each spouse, as well as the needs of children. Two things have happened which have begun the erosion of marriage. First, marriage became more of a legal union than a spiritual union. Legal bonds are much easier to break than spiritual. The second is the decline of religion. There is little fear of God today and even less regard for the ultimate spiritual consequences of ones actions. These two trends have combined to unravel the institution of marriage.

I'm opposed to gay marriage, but it is merely a symptom of a deeper illness for the institution of marriage. We can allow states to regulate marriage as they please, we can pass a constitutional amendment, or we can do nothing and allow the Supreme Court to dictate gay marriage legal to us. No matter what we do in that regard, it will not begin to solve marriage's deeper problems.
That's my position. To me, a gay marriage amendment is just a band aid. I know it is not realistic, but I'd actually prefer to see government get out of the marriage business. If government wants to endorse civil unions that run parallel to marriage as defined and supported by churches/synagogues/mosques/etc, I'm fine with that, but as it stands now government has crowded faith out of marriage, and that is one of the root problems.

I have a deep sense of ambivalence on the gay marriage ban. From a conservative standpoint, I have a few issues with using a constitutional amendment to strengthen what should be a legislated matter. At the same time, I do not support gay marriage and I don't really care to see Wisconsin's activist Supreme Court re-writing the laws on the book. For the time being, my ambivalence prevents me from really being strongly pro or con on the issue.

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