Monday, August 09, 2010

Should we legalize straight marriage?

Yglesias observes Ross Douthat's struggle to make a rational point against gay marriage. Douthat:
lifelong heterosexual monogamy at its best can offer something distinctive and remarkable — a microcosm of civilization, and an organic connection between human generations — that makes it worthy of distinctive recognition and support.
Yglesias leaves aside that this is ideological garbage, and makes an even more obvious point:
The natural thing to observe is that very little of our current legal architecture of marriage has much to do with this. Actual marriages in 21st century America aren’t required to be lifelong or monogamous. Douthat concedes as much:

Or at least, it was the Western understanding. Lately, it has come to co-exist with a less idealistic, more accommodating approach, defined by no-fault divorce, frequent out-of-wedlock births, and serial monogamy.

So at this point we’re upholding an ideal of lifelong heterosexual monogamy by legally requiring the heterosexual part, but not the lifelong or monogamous part. The unfairness of such a standard seems both obvious and overwhelming.
Banning gay marriage is how (some) straight people kid ourselves that we haven't reduced the legal incidents of marriage to, basically, a voidable contract.
... as Douthat’s piece makes clear, the status quo is really a cop out. Instead of holding heterosexuals up to a rigorous standard of conduct--no divorce, harsh & unforgiving attitude toward infidelity--we’re going to discriminate against the gay and lesbian minority and then congratulate ourselves on what a good job we’re doing of upholding our ideals.
Obviously, the real solution is to outlaw heterosexual marriage. Straight people have a grotesquely high divorce rate, and the phenomenon of stepparenting and single parenting among straights has become an epidemic. A child needs a mother and a father, and it's abundantly clear that this cannot be accomplished through the institution of straight marriage.


  1. We actually did this in Texas. Unintentionally, of course...

    The amendment to the Texas constitution that we passed a few years ago to outlaw gay marriage includes this:

    "This state or a political subdivision of this state may not create or recognize any legal status identical or similar to marriage."

    Of course, nobody actually does anything about it, because we know what they MEANT, but you have to give Texas credit for outdoing everyone else in the country in our rush to bigotry!

    There's also the deeply ironic situation of the Texas AG filing to prevent a gay couple, married legally in Mass (I think it was) filing to PREVENT them from getting divorced. Because allowing them to divorce would require recognizing they were married. So in our push to keep them from being married, we're making them stay married when they don't want to be.

    The hateful conservative mind is a strange, STRANGE place...

  2. Ah, Texas. Where's Ma Ferguson when you need her? "If straight marriage was good enough for Jesus Christ, ...."