Thursday, February 24, 2011

MD state Senate passes gay marriage, overcoming "illogical" objections

The latest word is that the Maryland Senate has OK-ed gay marriage. The bill has to be approved by the House of Delegates to go to the governor, but it would make Maryland the sixth state to approve of same-sex marriage.

Social conservatives made their usual arguments, centered around the importance of raising children. That’s not in dispute, but the “logic flow” in their arguments needs to be parsed.

Since some heterosexual relations don’t result in children (and the attendant responsibilities), it’s more “logical” to day that the “special privileges” for married people should exist only when there are children, or other dependents (like the elderly).  True, in a heterosexual relationship there is a presumption that such responsibility could occur unless specific steps (such as contraception) are taken to prevent it.  But society could just create the same privileges for same-sex couples happen to have responsibilities for children or other dependents.

But then we get into the “birthright” argument, that children deserve two biologically opposite parents. (“The kids are all right”.)  Here, there’s another logical wrinkle. Proponents of gay marriage, besides speaking of immutability, say that gender doesn’t matter as much as commitment and responsibility. True, but the fact of same-sex attraction means that, in an existential sense, gender does matter.

Let’s face it, one reason that the “privileges” or marriage “matters” is that sometimes they do call for subsidy or sacrifice from the unmarried. Hence the debate over equality.  So we hope we can grow up as a culture and accept same-sex marriage.  No matter that in my own life there are “relationships” that I choose for my own (mutual) benefit where I don’t want the state involved at all (and don’t need it).  That won’t change. But what does need to change is an awareness that not everything that happens in life (including family responsibility) comes from the “Axiom of Choice”.  The “Raising Helen” situation happens more often than we think. 

Feb. 26

Two DC area television stations covered the recent marriage in Washington DC of two men in their nineties.  Youth is not everything; Oscar Wilde could be wrong sometimes. 

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