And check out my joint blog with the love of my life and writing partner Dmytry Karpov: Kimberly ♥ Dmytry

Then his blog: Dmytry Karpov

Sunday, June 7, 2009

The Threat to Marriage, Myth or Morality?

Why is our country so terrified of same-sex partners having the same legal rights as opposite-sex marriages? What is so scary about this? Will the fact that Joe and Bob get to visit each other in the hospital or claim each other on taxes really jeopardize the more conventional marriage of Mr. and Mrs. Conservative? Seriously? What will this do that is so damaging?
Conservatives claim that these laws will undermine the sanctity of marriage, somehow corroding the very nature of the spirit of what marriage was intended to be. But what was marriage intended to be? Let's look at this. Marriage, biblically and historically, was a property management arrangement. It was also a way to keep peace among people and to use their daughter's as bartering chips for favors or alliances. It was a way to keep lands within a certain set of people and to keep the running of those lands under the guidance of men.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not anti-marriage. I've been privileged to be around some very wonderful, magical, spiritual marriages. But these marriages that I admire so much are not based on roles, property control or any functional way of setting up society. They are based on mutual respect, love and the desire to help each other more deeply connect to God.
In many ways, same-sex marriages often function in a more healthy way than conventional. In many same-sex marriages I've seen, both couples support themselves financially, they hold separate bank accounts, they are not together for financial support or security. (This is in my experience, not a statistical statement, I'm sure there are many dysfunctional marriages of all kinds.)
In most marriages, both historically and even now, though it's slowly changing, the female in the partnership is financially dependent on the male. The finances are blended, rendering the female powerless should anything happen. The conventional marriage union is set up so that the female cares for the young and the male brings home the bacon. The problem with this is the inherent instability of this. If something should happen to the marriage, death, divorce, disability, then the female and her children are helpless and vulnerable.
I'm not saying all mom's should be out working and leaving their kids in child care. I'm suggesting we look at the entire way marriage and family is set up in our culture and reevaluate how best to structure it in order to allow for stability, safety and love for our children and parents. A system that allows both partners full participation in the experience of loving and raising children, and gives both partners the financial means to care for themselves. A system that takes the burden off the men to make all the money, and the burden of the women to take care of kids and home all the time. A system that balances everything for the betterment of everything.
What does this have to do with same-sex marriage? Well, it's really about our countries tenacios hold on values that no longer serve or work, but values they are scared to let go of because they know no other way. I don't have all the answers, though I have some ideas. But really, the point of this blog is to get you to think about what might be if we let go of what we think should be.
Even if you hate every word I've written, a wise person will at least consider the words of their opponent. I did debate for many years in college, and the first thing I learned was the ability to argue either side effectively, because I never knew which side I would be asked to defend. It's not an easy thing to fully and completely argue something you don't believe in. But it taught me a lot. I urge you to do this now. Pretend we're in a debate, only the tables have turned. You now have to argue the opposing side of your beliefs, whatever they are. What would you come up with. I'd love to hear your thoughts.