|DON'T BAN GAY MARRIAGE -- BAN MARRIAGE.|
|By R A Miller||
Massachusetts has something queer going on again, a new, "sort-of-legalized" right of gay marriage, and it has sparked an orgy of printed pontification.
Every hack and halfwit with Word and a Web site has spouted off about the triumph or the tragedy of the landmark court ruling -- with most of the literati applauding the compassion and current worldview of the four justices that composed the narrowest of majorities. (Hey Nomar, the gays could take four out of seven, why couldn't you?)
Adrian Walker at the Boston Globe gave his subtle nod, Egan and Woodlief at the Boston Herald offered props, and the entire staff of the weekly alternative rag, the Boston Phoenix, practically creamed at the news.
Well the ruling sucks.
The Massachusetts SJC went half-assed and in the wrong direction. They shouldn't have legalized gay marriages, they should have outlawed all marriages. The notion of legal matrimony as a blessed union of souls is as misconstrued as it is unnecessary. I further propose that marriage, in its own insidious little ways, causes society plenty of harm. And if you believe in meritocracy, you can't believe in marriage, but let's break it down:
Whose idea was marriage anyway, and why?
The cavemen might get credit for creating the bond of matrimony based on archeological finds that suggest they used to take a wife (quite literally speaking) and tie her up until she would follow obediently - but this sounds too much like slavery or a night with R. Kelly to count. Marriage probably began in ancient Greece or Rome, but certainly not as an affair of the heart. Our less technological ancestors had more pressing issues, one being a socially accepted code by which to govern the succession of land and property. Without a prescribed method of transfer, each death in the village would spark a minor riot for the dead guy's goats and a piece of his north 40. Marriage provided the framework for the rules of inheritance.
Through the Middle Ages and into more modern times (and even yet today in some societies) arranged marriages were the norm as a means for families to bolster their economic position. It was all business, capice? Also in the Middle Ages some poet-knight spawned the idea of marrying for love as well as money, and the notion of romance was born.
These notions of love and romance are the foundation for the gay marriage crusade, and they are the very notions I claim as the reason we should walk the other way - way, way, the other way - and scrap the whole damn institution. A striking point in Chief Justice Margaret Marshall's ruling opinion is her affirmation that marriage is a social construct for two people's happiness. Lyrical, right? It's ludicrous. Marriage is life's version of baseball's guaranteed contract. Sign the paper and you're on the team - and how you perform henceforth is nearly immaterial.
I have married friends. I've watched this firsthand. We have a beer-drenched good time at the reception for four hours and then the couple slips off to a honeymoon and the early stages of domestic life - only to resurface in our microcosm six-months-or-so later but c-h-a-n-g-e-d. The changes are subtle, but if you know what to look for, you can pick 'em out quick:
The wife? Her beautiful shoulder-length hair is cropped somewhere north of her ears. At least once a week she wears sweatpants (and not the hip track-suit kind). The practical tone in her voice suggests she hasn't given a blow job in months.
The husband? Note the early stages of married-man paunch, as after-dinner scotch drinking increases and after-work basketball games decrease. On his rare nights out, don't expect him to be seen late - but while he's present, note the wistful look he displays toward the waitress. He hasn't been blown in months (and doesn't deserve to be).
Marriage makes people lazy. Without the contract, if you act like a jackass you might lose your girlfriend, but with the ring on the finger you can screw up here and there and in all likelihood she isn't going anyplace. How's that for a merit award?
Now imagine a world in which society did not provide such a security blanket. Sure personal hygiene, physical fitness, and better fashion would be on the rise, but might there be other improvements as well?
The housewife/househusband would be a beast of the past - because without that guaranteed tie to a revenue stream and joint health insurance, everyone would work. We'd see a glut in the labor market and downward pressure on salaries in the short term (which - bonus! - might stem the tide of offshore job migration), but new employment standards could emerge like the six-hour work day and rampant telecommuting. Savvy employers would recognize the newly created single-parent population's need for more time at home and implement these policies in their retention campaigns. And with the extra available labor, they might afford to.
Gone, too, would be the emotional distress and the moral complications attached to infidelity. Your partner would not be breaking a bond or practicing deceit. He or she wouldn't have to. Never again would we waste taxpayer dollars to learn if our President did or "did not have sex with that woman." He could have three-ways with circus freaks and remain well within his legal and moral rights.
Gay marriage proponents have picked the old standby of political rallying cries: "It's for the children." Oddly enough, the opposition has espoused the same cry. They're both wrong. We don't need a societal structure falsely billed as the ultimate expression of love to protect parental rights. Millions of fucked up marriages have given family courts plenty of experience in setting guidelines for custody, financial restitution, and visitation, and if they seem to come up short in some areas, don't count out good old-fashion contract law.
Despite the image pro wrestling and reality TV evinces, America has grown pretty savvy with its recognition of human rights. The 1960s taught some hard and valuable lessons. But the groups who pushed so hard to win this latest battle might sit back and think about what they've done.
Some couples in Boston's South End must be thinking about it - especially the half of those couples that has said for years, "I'd love to darling, but the state won't allow me."
If only we breeders had that excuse
R A Miller is a social deviant and Managing Editor at Arriviste Press. Believe it or not girls, he's still single.