A solution to the gay marriage dilemma

Another day, another outcome in a string of up and down votes on gay marriage at the state level:

NEW YORK — Opponents of gay marriage celebrated a decisive vote in the New York State Senate, where a proposal to legalize same-sex marriage was defeated 38 to 24 on Wednesday.

The unexpectedly wide margin was delivered in a relatively liberal state where the other chamber of the legislature has thrice approved the measure and the governor, David A. Paterson, had been poised to sign it into law. The vote prompted pronouncements that the momentum for gay marriage had been not only halted, but also effectively reversed. Same-sex marriage is legal in Iowa, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut and, most recently, New Hampshire, where it goes into effect Jan. 1.

Americans obviously have no consensus on this issue, so I have a solution: How about if the US government grants only civil unions to both gay and straight couples, so that the term “marriage”, with all of its religious history, can be reserved for religious institutions to define as they please? This would provide equality under the law without treading on a word that has a sacred, yet different, meaning to various groups of people.

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One Response to “A solution to the gay marriage dilemma”

  1. David Diel Says:

    I think of this debate in terms of those who understand and agree with Derrida’s principle of deferred meaning and those who do not. Those who completed primary school in the US before 1962 were taught English using the Bible as a standard reference. Therefore, many of them do not accept the idea that a word could have different meanings for different people unless one of them is “wrong”.

    During the early part of US history, the word “marriage” almost exclusively referred (or deferred) to a Christian religious ceremony. And, the Bible condemns homosexuality. So, if the US government grants gay marriages, it is redefining a religious word.

    What I claim is that, by granting any kind of marriage, the government is treading on someone’s religion. When people realize that their idea of marriage defers to their own religious or cultural experiences, and that other people mean something entirely different, then they should also realize that the government has no authority to define marriage.

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