I haven't said much on this subject, contenting myself to sit quietly and let people catch on and make their own decisions. The problem is that people are fighting the wrong fight.
This writing comes a few days after New York's recognition of same-sex marriages. People are celebrating and making plans to take advantage of the new legislation. I imagine there are also some people complaining about the legislation. From my own standpoint, there's nothing to celebrate because it's a decision that doesn't belong to the government to make.
The problem I've had all along with the whole thing is that people have been arguing about which way the government should legislate the same-sex marriage issue and whether that legislation should occur at the state or federal level. I'm likely to voice this sentiment a few times before the end of this, but this isn't something for the government to legislate in any way at all. It is flatly ridiculous to me to weigh any input from legislative bodies that are only supposed to do what they're told by the people and can't even do that.
The United Nations adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights way back in 1948, insisting that all people had the right to marry and form a family with equal rights in marriage to be entered into freely and with informed consent. Before the 16th century, even western churches recognized that people had all the authority in their own marriages. A couple simply saying that they were married was good enough for everyone else. How's that for recognizing a commonlaw marriage? Despite these oddities, there are over thirty countries that maintain pretty strict prohibitions against same-sex marriage. The USA isn't one of them, but it does seem to be an uphill roller skating trip for those on the ride.
Overseeing births, marriages, funerals and religious rites are all things We the People handle on our own and do best without adding government to the mix. Granted, marriage licenses have been used for a great many years now, but they originated to permit people to wed that were otherwise forbidden by law to do so. In this country, such outlaws have been defined along the whole ethnic/racial lines thing. The licenses were initially used to permit whites to marry non-whites, a tradition which extended right on into the 20th century. Racism in the Land of the Free? Scandalous. Even in the great nation of "created equal", the last couple of centuries have somehow been thick with persecution based on differences.
Back in the 1990s, popular TV series Quantum Leap lost sponsors over an episode in which time-traveling Dr. Beckett (Scott Bakula) assumed the identity of a young black man secretly dating a young white woman in the American south during the 1960s. The sponsors were obviously confused and thought that they, too, were in the 1960s. Still, that was in the ancient 20th century. Back in 2006, in the more advanced and enlightened 21st century, my mother (a die-hard social activist) informed me of two families she was helping in central Indiana. Both families, in separate incidents and communities, had been burned out of their homes over some nonsense about having the wrong skin color. Apparently, brown clashed with the plan for a more limited local palette. In one case, the family's son had the audacity to date someone's daughter of...the wrong shade. In the more recent time of 2009, Louisiana justice of the peace Keith Bardwell refused to issue a marriage license to an interracial couple, again deciding for them that they had no idea of the proper way to behave. 2009? Are you kidding me? 2009? 2009! This is peace and enlightenment?
What happened to recognizing commonlaw marriage? What happened to the rights of the people? Up until the mid-19th century, commonlaw marriages were commonly recognized, but then the state governments started crushing them underfoot. Today, only 11 states and the District of Columbia still acknowledge this basic right of We the People. The requirement for marriage licenses in the USA has been justified on the basis that the state has an overriding right, on behalf of all citizens and in the interests of the larger social welfare, to protect them from disease or improper/illegal marriages; to keep accurate state records; or even to ensure that marriage partners have had adequate time to think carefully before marrying. So, it's for our own good because we don't know any better. Our rights have been put into a blind trust because we can't handle them.
Oh, wait! In the Supreme Court case Meister v. Moore (1877), it was ruled that "marriage is a common right" and that the state laws or statutes that have been created before or since are not legal constraints, but "are mere directives," thereby retaining the legal weight of recommendation only. Backed by this court decision, it is illegal for any state to mandate any form of license or ceremony and, technically, all states must recognize "common law" marriages of all citizens.
We don't need any state laws for or against same-sex marriages. We certainly don't need to waste the effort of amending the US Constitution over this nonsense. The government works for us and the protection of our rights. The last I'd heard, there was a laundry list of better things that our governmental employees should be spending their time on.
Stop getting misdirected by noise and colors. We the People are responsible for our own lives and choices. Back when I was seven years old, I had a conversation with mom about how I would go to college when I finished with grade school. In that dialogue, I learned that I would have the power to decide which college I attended and what I studied. I actually got excited (my mind turned to architecture for some reason). I thought that that Freedom, the power of choice, was the coolest thing I'd ever heard. I'm still pretty impressed by Freedoms and it baffles me that so many people blow them off. Don't they see that there are people trying to take their Freedoms? With all the effort, they must be worth something. It's like those stories where the Devil's trying to weasel a deal to get someone's soul and you're just aghast at how blind the character is for not realizing that it must be a bad deal.
If you want to get married, go be married.
If you don't, don't. No one's forcing you into it just as no one's allowed to stop you.
If you feel threatened by someone else's marriage choices, seek therapy or a hobby to get your mind off it. Either way, mind your own business. Whether we actually respect each other's right to privacy or not, we all have the right. Manage your own affairs.
Stop trying to foist your issues and responsibilities onto the government. The people who work in government are bored and itching for things to do. If you try to turn control of your life over to them, they'll gladly take it. Don't expect them to stop where you expect, though. Control over your life tastes good and they'll never never never stop at one bite. Why? Because with great responsibility comes great power. Don't try to hand it off. Deal with it.