Dalai's Note: A close friend of mine, who happens to be gay and in a committed relationship, sent me this note on the recent Supreme Court decisions. I couldn't have said it better myself:
I think DOMA was a bad law and needed to go, but I am not fond of the concept of "gay marriage'. I think it's a bottom up solution for a problem that needs to be considered from the top down.
They are seeking marriage as a way to participate in the same "civil" benefits. Marriage, to me, is a religious concept and belongs to the churches/synagogues... and I won't get into the historical ownership of women that it was at one time.
What I would prefer is a complete disengagement of civil and corporate benefits from the religious concept of "marriage'. I don't think anyone should "benefit" in a civil/corporate sense, because they are in any particular type of relationship.
Our current "benefits" system is predicated on the older notions that women did not work, and were therefore "dependent". Thus health insurance, VA/military and social security benefits, you name it, etc, were set up with the idea of "taking care of the woman". We tried to equalize it for both men and women, as women entered the workplace, but the term "spouse", is the root of the problem. This set up established the notion that there had to be some sort of real or perceived sexual relationship between two people in order to purchase a product (such as insurance), or direct a benefit.
Beyond my death, I can utilize a will as an instrument to direct my property, my home and my money to anyone I choose, even my dog, if I wanted to. We ought to be able to do that in life. For anyone, for any reason. It should not be that different.
I think we would all be better off with the concept of Reciprocal Beneficiary. If I want to buy insurance for my partner, my brother, or my friend, or my Aunt Gertrude, all that should be required is that I name them as "reciprocal beneficiary", and pay the required/established cost. I shouldn't have to have a "marriage" license to purchase a product. If I want to direct benefits of any sort, to anyone, all that should be required is a contract/power of attorney or some power already inherent in the concept of Reciprocal Beneficiary, to be utilized as the appropriate legal instrument.
The government has no business moderating the personal lives of anyone. Nor should any corporation care what anyone's relationship status may be. (i.e. health insurance)
I think this would give everyone, on both sides of the issue, what they want, without the added perceived threat to those that are more conservative, that society is "falling apart". I think we are setting up a slippery slope and setting an uncomfortable precedent. Furthermore, I do not think citizenship should be so easily conferred upon someone just because they sign a paper and get married at the courthouse, as an example of civil benefit.
Instead of equalizing the opportunity for citizenship in this manner for homosexual partners via “gay marriage”, I think it should be eliminated completely, for all.
DOMA never considered Eastern European mail order brides as a threat to traditional marriage... Perhaps it should have. I do. Or rather, I consider it opening your bedroom door to the government.
I have heard of instances of government overreach in these types of cases where some government official recognizes that a particular marriage is one of convenience and orders it nullified. By what criteria did they make that decision? Lack of sexual relations? Time spent together? How was the determination made, that it was “merely” a marriage created simply for the benefits conferred, or if the couple, was truly in love? A bureaucrat decided this? Who’s to say?
Do we really want the government deciding how much love it takes to make a marriage? Who will decide for you that your personal relationship with someone is real vs. sham? Do we really want this?
I do not believe that the government should inhibit, discriminate against, nor protect or promote any particular class of citizen, any longer.
There are many churches or synagogues that will or were already performing marriage ceremonies for gay and lesbian couples if they are truly seeking consecration in a more liturgical or social sense. It is a nice thing. That isn't at issue, really. I can appreciate the notion of standing before your friends and family and making that commitment. It has social and cultural value. However, I fully support the religious institutions' rights to decide for themselves who they will and won't bond in whatever they consider to be sacred and holy matrimony.
I actually think the definition of marriage, or the defining attributes changed about 150 years or so ago. Marrying for love was not a common concept. Marriage was about alliances, politics, ownership and children. Only recently do most folks see it is a personal, loving commitment in any way. How many wives did some folks in the old testament have?
I firmly believe that everyone, and I mean EVERYONE, should have equal rights. My problem with the whole campaign, beyond my assumption that some have an agenda beyond simple equality, is that it attempts to change a definition (marriage = one man + one woman) that has been with us for thousands of years. A matter of syntax, really. But we cannot and we must not discriminate. Period. If there is some religious price to pay, that is between the individual and G-d. I'm not perfect, either, as Mrs. Dalai constantly reminds me.
And that's all I have to say about that.