Monday, October 25, 2004

Michigan’s Proposal 2 - NO

Ballot proposal number two, which will appear on the Michigan ballot on November 2nd, amends the state constitution to insert a firm definition of what will be legally allowed to be recognized as a marriage. The proposed amendment reads as follows:

Article 1, Section 25: To secure and preserve the benefits of marriage for our society and for future generations of children, the union of one man and one woman in marriage shall be the only agreement recognized as a marriage or similar union for any purpose.

As contentious as this issue is, we at GR Pundit didn't have a hard time deciding on this one. There are two issues at stake here. First, what is the role of government in marriage and why? Second, what affect would this have on domestic partners (of the opposite sex) who receive employment benefits?

First, what role should the government play in marriage. Marriage is essentially a religious ceremony which then receives recognition from the state. Therefore, there are two components to marriage. First, the religious aspect. Second, the legal recognition of that marriage to confer certain rights on the married couple; namely, the right to child custody, legal co-ownership, and inheritance. However, as the law stands, one must get a license to get married, which essentially licenses a religious ceremony.

How many religious ceremonies are licensed by the state? We can only think of one - marriage. Should baptism be licensed? How about communion?

So we come to the conclusion that the government is in the business of deciding which religious practice of marriage is acceptable. Marriage between one man and one woman is ok, but between two men or two women is not. Following that line of logic, the state should then be able to determine who is eligible for baptism and who is not.

We understand that this issue brings up strong feelings but we implore our readers to apply reason and logic to the issue before making a decision.

We have a hard time finding a logical argument against gay marriage. The most-often used argument is that marriage is part of the fabric of society and that if marriage is "ruined" to allow gays to marry, society will somehow collapse. In fact, the proposed amendment's own wording says that the intention is to preserve the benefits of marriage "for the children." But, exactly how would gay marriage harm children or be any different than today's world of straight-only marriage?

Around 50% of marriages currently end in divorce. How, exactly, is that a benefit to society? The tremendous rate of failure of traditional marriage, many involving children, seems to be more of a threat to society than a very small minority who simply want to have the same rights as everyone else.

If two people, who love each other, repugnant as the behavior may be for some, want to dedicate their lives to each other, why not allow that?

What gay marriage proponents often try to use as another option is the concept of a civil union. A civil union essentially confers the legal rights of a marriage on a couple without calling it a marriage. This amendment would outlaw any such civil union legislation in Michigan.

Opponents of this proposed amendment say that it will outlaw domestic partner benefits for those who work for companies that offer such benefits. If a man and woman live together and have a child, but are not married, many companies will offer benefits to the whole family. This amendment appears to outlaw such benefits.

But an even more fundamental question comes to mind. Why should we mess with our constitution on an issue that has purely emotional effects? We can't determine one real, tangible, societal effect gay marriage would have. Who would be harmed by gay marriage?

Our constitution is designed to do two things - define the rights of citizens that government cannot infringe upon and define how government operates. It does not define social issues that should be handled solely by the legislature, nor should it.

For these reasons, we will be voting NO on Michigan's Proposal 2.

1 comment:

  1. [...] was one of the few bloggers in 2004 who oppsed the constitutional ban on same sex marriage in November of that year. Of course, it passed with about 59% of voters saying “yes.” [...]