Monday, February 28, 2005

Civil Unions

You know what I liked about parliamentary debate? You could stand up and talk for your set amount of time, and then you had to sit down and shut up. Once the last rebuttal was over, the issue was over and you made a decision. One can only get so obstinate in eight minutes. If we let a debate continue endlessly, it would degenerate into screams and inane babble. Speaking of screams and inane babble, I'd like to give my rebuttal to the "Gay Marriage" issue in the vain hope that it will make people sit down and shut up.

It seems to me that the entire debate is about semantics. Does anyone really care who a person choses to have in the hospital with them? Does anyone really care to whom a person can leave their property when they die? Does anyone really care whose signatures are on the lease? Or a checking account? Or tax forms? So why is this an issue? It is an issue solely because of using the term "marriage." "Marriage" has, among its connotations, the Judeo-Christian interpretation [note: I am not saying that ALL churches interpret it in this manner, only that a significant number do so] that it is a union of a man and women instituted by God. I, for example, would still be married even if the government decreed that "marriage" constituted two men and a chicken. I was not married by the government, nor can the government in any way make me unmarried, all they can do is make me a different legal entity. Yet the specter of the state interfering with a religious belief raises quite reasonable and justifiable fears.

Therefore, we can solve the issue by striking the term "marriage" and all of its derivatives from government documents and replacing it with the term "civil union." A civil union, in this sense, could very well be a male and a female--since it is a legal term, not a religious one. The definition of marriage should be decided by the church (and I am quite willing to let every church decide for itself how it will define marriage for its members). The civil union, and its legal consequences should be decided by the government. It would be a separation of church and state, but removing the state from the church's sphere, as Solzhenitsyn said, "Separate church and state properly and do not touch the church; you will not lose a thing thereby." There, that's the rebuttal, now sit down and shut up.

14 Comments:

Anonymous Noumenon said...

Therefore, we can solve the issue by striking the term "marriage" and all of its derivatives from government documents and replacing it with the term "civil union."That's so clinical. Let's call it "mawwiage" a la Princess Bride.

1:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

7:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The trouble is, Larry, that the government tries to promote the things it finds beneficial to the state, and one of the things it has found beneficial is the traditional nuclear family. If we include all types of unions under the same umbrella (whether you call it "marriage", "civil union" or "mawwiage", you would be giving promotional benefits to unions that have not shown themselves to be beneficial to society.

11:16 AM  
Anonymous Noumenon said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

6:58 PM  
Anonymous Philosopher Poet said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

5:01 AM  
Anonymous Philosopher Poet said...

http://www.mind-trek.com/reports/index.htm

Here's a site that I recently found that might have some topics to stir up some more debates around here. My brain hurts now.

5:23 AM  
Blogger Octavo Dia said...

Yes, it is a very easy proposition to mock, Noumenon--very much a part of the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis. However, when we can't solve a problem, it's best to try a different approach, and the easiest way to approach a problem differently is to redefine it. Think of the term "environmental security", it brings up images of coercive government action. Change it to "environmental health" and one thinks of doctors, medicines, and treatments. Change it again to "environmental economics", and taxes on pollution seem viable. It's all about channging perspectives.

7:40 AM  
Anonymous Noumenon said...

I would rather not have had all my comments deleted. They weren't on-topic, but they weren't accidents like a double post. I think one was even addressed to the other Anonymous to ask who they were, which I still want to know.

I wasn't really mocking, just posting something off-the-cuff. Don't expect a serious opinion from me, because I'm not engaged enough with this issue to bother forming one.

11:32 AM  
Anonymous Philosopher Poet said...

... And the picket lines begin to take shape while the protestors chant "Free Speach! Free Speach! Down with Censorship!"

he he, I'm so giddy right now. It's Friday! Or rather early, early Saturday morning which is just as good to me!

5:47 AM  
Blogger Octavo Dia said...

This was a consequence my not understanding how the comments worked. I assumed that they would be deleted entirely (as that is what delete normally does) instead of leaving little "this comment has been deleted" crap. Now that I know I cannot edit for flow, I will only edit for otheer reasons.

The "Anonymous" comment, I will admit, has been sequestered as inflammatory. Anonymous may still own up if they wish to. You can chant "Free Speech!" philosopher poet, but the court has recognized the doctrine of "fighting words."

7:42 AM  
Anonymous Philosopher Poet said...

I understand your reasoning. I will admit that not all comments are productive, or relevant. Since this is your blog you have the right to control the content displayed. However I like to think that even some of the silly posts add another dash of color or humor to the discussions. No reason politics can't be fun too. (We can try anyway)

2:34 PM  
Anonymous Noumenon said...

I viscerally feel that I own my comments and it wasn't till I went Googling for quotes in support of this that it occurred to me that it's your blog and the comment policy is your decision. Even so I can't get comfortable with it. I am OK with comment policing like the MakingLight blog's practice of "disemvowelling," which removes all the vowels from an objectionable post so that you can easily skip it bt cn stll rd th pst f y try hrd ngh. But deleting or editing comments like that is something I only support doing to trolls.

10:58 PM  
Blogger Octavo Dia said...

Don't Trolls hide in caves with their computers? :-) Anyway, I am not allowed to edit comments (which sucks), nor am I allowed to restore comments which I have merely deleted (which sucks further), as opposed to using the "delete forever" option, which removes the comment without leaving the annoying, "This comment has been deleted" thing.

4:00 AM  
Anonymous Noumenon said...

I can't edit my own comments on LiveJournal either. I don't know why that is.

10:46 AM  

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