Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Straight Couple Wants a Civil Union

Despite having a terribly misleading title,this AP article is interesting to me on several levels. There is a straight couple living in Britain who would like to form a civil union instead of a marriage. Their reasoning, and I quote from the article here, is that "In our day-to-day life we feel like civil partners — we don't feel like husband and wife, and we want the government to recognize that."

My problem is that I cannot understand that statement at all. Forget the controversy about "gay" marriage and "civil unions" for a minute. I'm having trouble following simple language of late.

I know that I said to forget the controversy, and I hope that you can because my point here is more subtle. For all of known history, the very definition of marriage has been a union between a man and a woman. I don't think that this is seriously disputed by anyone. What some would like to do is to change that definition to include homosexual unions. I don't know what that definition change might be. It's going to have to be more complicated than it used to be. I know that for certain. Somehow, you have to define it so that we can put the whammy on polygamy, beastiality, child marriage, and the appearance of incest. (Yes, there are adult people out there who do all of these things, I've seen them on Jerry Springer. There is even a polygamist with his own show now.)

My problem today is when people start using words, words that are well defined, as if they weren't well-defined. Or, at the very least, using words as if they cannot be bothered to look them up in a dictionary. Figuring that it must be me who is the dim-wit, I took the time to look up "Civil Union" in the encyclopedia. Here's what it said, "legal recognition of the committed, marriagelike partnership of two individuals." Underscore "marriagelike" in your brain and look at the reasoning behind the straight couple's desire to have a civil union. I wonder what part of their relationship isn't marriage-like? The vowing part? The forsaking all others part?

As if this didn't cause me enough confusion, I saw that "gay activists" are supporting this couple's bid for a civil union. This didn't surprise me, and at the very least I am glad that they are being consistent. But look at their reasoning behind backing this couple, "They are being backed by gay rights activists, who hope a ruling that allows straight couples the right to a civil partnership would mean, in turn, that gay couples have the right to wed." You see that? They are hoping that this will allow them to wed.

So, let me try to sort this all out here for my sanity's sake. Remember, this is about definitions here, not just marriage controversy. The straight couple does not want to be "married" because they don't feel particularly husband or wife-like, but they still want to be recognized in a legally binding union that is legally equivalent to marriage. This gives them what they want because they can be united under law, before their peers, and get tax breaks without them having to feel like husband and wife. The gay people, on the other hand, want to get married because they want to feel like husbands and wives. Even though it has previously been impossible for one to be a husband unless one actually had a wife. They want the state to legally bind them together in a way that benefits them with taxes, gives them equal rights, and etc., which they already have in civil unions, only they want to be "wed."

I think that this is marvelous in our mad, mad world. The only thing standing in either the gay activists or this straight couple's path is this nonsense of definition and meaning. And perhaps, common sense.

But what do I know? I'm a dinosaur who believes in objective truth and www.dictionary.com.

No comments: