Love (and joint tax returns, wills, custody and healthcare) makes a family…

Ok, so a new bill, 3476, intended to take the place of SB 1000, offers a smidgen of rights to all kinds of 2 person living arrangements, not just same-sex life partners. Basic Rights Oregon and gay rights activists (rightly so) oppose the bill because it really does little for you until you’re knockin’ on heaven’s door. Some say 3476 is fairer than 1000, like sisters Maria and Lillian Gonzalez, who say they have been “a couple”, supporting each other for 25 years. What 3476 does not include are custodial rights or healthcare benefits, among other things.

So, I said I wouldn’t get into this before, but now seems the time. While in the tenuous present I do (loosely) support SB 1000 as well as gay marriage in this country as a whole, I’m going to admit something potentially unpopular: I don’t really believe in marriage for gays and lesbians…because I don’t really believe in a state sanctioned marriage for anyone.

Ah, commitment, marriage, love…all beautiful, perhaps religious, life affirming ceremonies and milestones. Sacred even. And I have no desire to meddle in anyone’s religious ideals of marriage. But marriage is also tied to a host of rights in this country that have nothing to do with love or religion.

It shouldn’t be.

Let marriage live in the realm of the personal, and let the government not intertwine it with intrinsically different issues. Abolish marriage as a legal solution, as a means to an end, and institute policies based on what’s pertinent.

Besides, I would rather spend my time fighting for universal healthcare or the right for any responsible individual or pair of individuals to adopt/take care of children, than to continue to grasp, pitifully, at the archaic institution of marriage. To be sure, I want the same rights as my straighter counterparts, but in the big picture, we’ve got bigger problems to fix, and gay marriage is but a band-aid on a wound that clearly needs antibiotics…

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