Marriage is, at its root–hell, at its root, trunk, branches, and leaves–about property rights. In the not-so-distant past, it was about a changing of control of certain property of a man’s–his daughter–to the control of another man–her husband. Even now, marriage is about property rights and inheritance and assets and all kinds of legal contractual stuff.
There has been a radical redefinition of marriage in the last 150 years–people of every class came to expect that they would be allowed to marry for love, first and foremost, not for the economic benefits it would bring to their respective families. So, congratulations! If you’re married to a person you yourself chose and you fell in love with that person before you got married and, indeed, it was because you were in love with that person that you felt like you should get married, you are participating in the most radical redefinition of marriage in the history of human kind.
Even so, there are a lot of people–not just “crazy” radical feminist, but some of them, too–who believe that the institution of marriage is irredeemably tainted by its roots and history as a means of moving property (a woman) from one household to another. They see everything about the wedding and the marriage itself as being too steeped in traditions they find ugly. Plus, they don’t think that you should have to have a magical kind of legal documentation–like a marriage certificate–to assure that your property rights and power-of-attorney wishes are abided by. Some even think that it’s old-fashioned, this notion that a two-person headed household is so uniquely suited to best comprising a family.
So, let me be clear–if you support marriage first and foremost for love, you have already accepted the most radical redefinition of marriage in human history. But if you support marriage? You support an institution steeped in tradition, for better or for worse. This is the position most people in this country find themselves in–they like both the radical redefinition AND the institution steeped in tradition.
But the most liberal position on marriage is that it sucks and shouldn’t be necessary and is irredeemable.
Supporting and encouraging marriage is a conservative position.
Conservatives should be able to get behind the idea that two people who love each other and who want to provide legal protections for each other and their household is a good thing. And, in fact, among young conservatives, this is already a no-brainer. Of course, we’d want to encourage the stability of married partnerships, unlike those liberals who all want to live in polyamorous communes where everyone is called ‘Ned’ and they wee because Chumbawumba broke up.
Denying people the right to marry based on who they want to marry isn’t a conservative position. It’s just being an asshole. It’s saying “I want this great thing that protects me and the person I love from all kinds of shenanigans and trouble to be off-limits to you and the person you love.” It’s saying “I want special rights, because of who my spouse is.”
Let me repeat. Opposing gay marriage, when you yourself are married, does not make you conservative. It makes you an asshole who wants special rights.
That’s point one. Point two, the GLBT community has worked hard to help elect Democrats. They are working hard right now to help elect Democrats. We are all supposed to be mad and upset that Mark Clayton is on the ballot for Senator as a Democrat because he belongs to an anti-gay hate group.
Being anti-gay is supposed to be an uncool thing for a Democrat.
Stewart presents himself as a conservative on some issues. For example, the senator said he is opposed to same-sex marriage, noting Tennessee voters approved a state constitutional amendment defining marriage as between one man and one woman.
“I stand with the voters of Tennessee,” he said.
Let me be as clear as I can be. I’m a Tennessee voter. And I did not vote for that abomination of a state constitutional amendment. So, if you have to have voted for that abomination in order to be considered by Stewart to be a voter worthy of his standing with, well, then, sir, message received.
Every day Eric Stewart takes for granted that, if his wife is in a car accident, he’ll be allowed to see her at the hospital and that, in fact, he’ll be able to make the necessary medical decision to return her to health. Every day Eric Stewart takes for granted that when he dies, his assets and property will go to his wife and that some distant cousin of his he barely knows won’t be able to claim she’s the next of kin. Eric Stewart doesn’t worry a moment that, if he and his wife were to divorce, her church would help her take their children out of the country so that he would never see them again.
That security, which he takes for granted, is too much to grant to other people in love.
Like I said, that’s not being conservative. That’s being an asshole.