Jun 122011

Apparently figuring that “gay man against gays” is a man-bites-dog article no editor can resist, Jonathan Soroff writes a facile article about why there shouldn’t be same-sex marriage. If you’d rather not wade through this tripe, the arguments boil down this:

1) My family won’t stop nagging me to marry my boyfriend!

2) Marriage is a man and a woman. It just is, all right? Plus, babies.

3) Let’s just not use the M-word, and then straights will give us all the exact same rights and everything will be wine and roses. We can even call it something stupid, like “floogle”.  Then we will totally fly under the radar!

4) Did I mention that my family won’t stop nagging me to get married? I hope you’re reading this, Mr. Would-Be-Father-In-Law.

I trust I don’t have to explain why points 1 and 4 are stupid.

Point 2 is a tautology: marriage has always been a man and a woman because marriage has always been a man and a woman. It’s also, until quite recently (less than half a century) been an institution where the wife was largely the husband’s property, in law and in fact, and one where childbearing was central and the lack thereof a reason to forbid or end a marriage. Funnily, Soroff, like his straight counterparts on the anti-same-sex marriage reservation, seem to skip over that part.  (Not that they are all opposed to the traditional model, of course. But it isn’t good PR to suggest that America should return to the good old days where a woman couldn’t hold property in her own name without her husband’s consent.)

Point 3 is one Soroff doesn’t argue much, probably because he has some inkling of how ignorant he is of the fact that marriage is, like, laws and stuff. And in the law, words have meaning. Laws are also very complicated, being a confusing overlay of federal and individual state laws. It is literally impossible for the President to issue a proclamation saying “From now on, every law everywhere that says ‘marriage’ also includes civil unions.”  Individual states might have a little issue with that, and they would be in the right to do so. And anyone could challenge this proclamation by saying that a particular law contemplated, and depends on, the ‘traditional’ view of marriage and can’t possible be extended to anything else.

The easiest, and obvious, way to expand the rights and responsibilities of marriage is to allow same-sex couples to marry, too. But I guess that allowing same-sex couples to have full civil rights is not nearly as important as getting Soroff’s family to stop nagging him about the wedding.

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