Proposition 8

The definition of ‘marriage’ will evolve soon enough

I’ve read and heard that Proposition 8 passed because of intolerant Christians, who are all over the United States and thick enough—6,838,107—in California to win that one.

It seems that the Mormon church, based in Utah and thinking globally, spent $12,664,581 promoting Proposition 8 in California.

Exit polls during the election in California indicated that a lot of old black people may have voted for Proposition 8 because old black people tend to be stereotypical Christians, uptight and censorious. I don’t think I’m there yet, but let this be your warning, because I’ll be the last to know.

I used to oppose same-sex marriage, in the ‘90s more or less. I was a recent husband and father and had come to think of man-woman-children as a basic grouping, more fundamental than culture. Hardly anything is transcultural of course, least of all families. I was even then willing for anybody to hook up or mate with anybody, including devices, Web sites, and other species.

I just didn’t want the non-man-woman arrangements to be called “marriage,” because I thought of man-woman-children as biological and therefore more important than mere arrangements, no matter how ingrained and common. So more than anything else I wanted to preserve the definition of marriage I had come to accept. I didn’t want “marriage” to mean something else.

I was all for equal treatment under the law, although I admit being glad we were getting the tax advantages meanwhile realizing it was unfair. Benefiting from a law can be rather pleasant, just as I’ve suspected.

Now I think of man-woman-children as a fundamental set of relationships that have nothing to do with marriage, except to the extent the state introduces rigidity and coercion, which is most of what government does, when I think about it.

Anybody who wants to commit marriage can have at it. For variety—or for a change if that term tests better—the Christians can learn to imitate Jesus instead of worshipping him, the Golden Rule and loving your neighbor and all that.

How about this: If you want to call whatever you’re doing to and with whomever “marriage” by all means do so. And if you’d rather call the relationship between you and your chosen one or significant other or what-have-you something altogether different, like a civil union or domestic partnership or sambo fever, then by all means call it that.

Marriage will continue to evolve like all of us, no matter what the law says. We could more simply eliminate preferential treatment so the government needn’t be involved at all, except in eliminating its own preferential treatment. See what I mean?

I felt the same way about “gay.” I liked gay as a frothy adjective descriptive of a kind of lively joy. Once again I wasn’t consulted, and gay grew up. Marriage will grow up soon and include everybody who wants in. Social evolution. You don’t have to love it, but you might as well.