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Monday, 25 May 2015
Gay Marriage
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How this became such a hot issue mystifies straight me, given all the larger problems plaguing us. As I first read about it in a neo-conservatives’ magazine, I thought it might have been invented by them--that they exploited some obscure advocate into order to embarrass liberals and Democrats whom the neo-cons thought would embrace it. If so, the neo-con strategy backfired, as more and more political entities approved it. 

My hunch about its history was apparently wrong, as a lawyer who happens to be lesbian informs me that, “It's an issue that originated with gay lawyers, Evan Wolfson in particular, who felt all citizens should have a right to the same benefits and entitlements, including the right to marry.”

Her response made me realize that the issue here was not marriage per se but the gaining for homosexual couples the privileges that are afforded heterosexuals legally joined. Among those advantages would be a joint return on income taxes, visitation rights if one partner is hospitalized, statutory inheritance if a spouse dies without a will, continued tenancy under a lease, etc.

May I assume that most of these discriminatory laws originated with groups who for various reasons regard marriage as more socially desirable than unmarriage. However, since most of these groups would not approve of “gay marriage,” my hunch is that their machinations backfired. The most recent blowback victim would be the Catholic Church in Ireland.

Though I don’t disapprove of “gay marriage” per se, I’d sooner favor the dissolution of all privileges and advantages granted to married people. That’s the real and serious issue here.

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Posted on 05/25/2015 4:58 AM by Richard Kostelanetz
Comments
25 May 2015
Send an emailGarreth Byrne
The writer doesn't understand why a state should grant rights and privileges to married couples, most of whom will have children. In the Irish constitution the assumption in Article 41 is that the family based on heterosexual marriage is the basic unit in society and needs state support. [The recent gay marriage amendment will still assert the family as the basic unit, whatever new jurisprudential judgments may be delivered by the higher courts.] The individual is not thought to be the basic unit of Irish society. The Irish constitutional attitude is generally communitarian, mentioning the concept of 'the common good' a few times, and subjecting the right to own and use private property to the overall interests of this common good. How do these attitudes compare with the constitutions of other liberal democracies like Canada, the USA, France, the Netherlands etc.?

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