August 17, 2013

Ban gay marriage, and straight marriage

Marriage: a legal contract between a man and a woman who are (practically always) in love and have been a couple for long enough that they have decided they want to live together for the rest of their lives, giving them special privileges in areas such as health care, insurance, immigration, income taxes, property taxes and more (depending on country), that are not granted to people who are single, or have just met someone, or haven't got a stable enough relationship that they want to make a lifelong commitment to their partner, or have gotten divorced and are not ready to move on yet, or just don't want to get married for whatever reason, or prefer to have romantic and sexual relations with people of the same gender as themselves, or prefer to be with multiple partners, or prefer any other form of relationship.

The LGBT movement is lobbying to remove from that definition "or prefer to have romantic and sexual relations with people of the same gender as themselves". They're fine with discriminating against people who are single, or have just met someone, or haven't got a stable enough relationship that they want to make a lifelong commitment to their partner, or have gotten divorced and are not ready to move on yet, or just don't want to get married for whatever reason, or prefer to be with multiple partners, or prefer any other form of relationship. No-one cares about those people. They either will get married eventually and thus are not complaining, or are extremist woman-hating jihadists who want 20 slave-wives, or are crazy sex-freaks who only live to stick their dicks inside as many different holes as possible (and being too promiscuous is just not okay because _________). What really matters is that we don't discriminate against couples for not containing equal amounts of penises and vaginas.

Marriage with legal benefits is essentially the government's way of saying "this is the best way to live your lives, and everyone who does so shall be elevated beyond mere citizens and receive special recognition and privileges". You might think that's an exaggeration, but there's really no other way to motivate it that holds up. Marriage leads to children and children cost money to raise? Then just give all the benefits to parents and people with child custody, who are the ones that actually need benefits. There's no reason to split them up and give some to parents and some to married people. So, since when is it okay for the state to tell people how to live? Take a vacation abroad at least every other year or pay the boring tax! Buy your kids a smartphone before they're 10 and be arrested for child spoiling!

The reason that this is seen as okay is, of course, because the symbolic values way overshadow the legal privileges. Marriage is seen as a declaration of lifelong love and dedication to your partner, not as a way to pay less tax. And that is exactly why these privileges are absolutely, 100% inefficient as a motivator for marriage. People don't try to get into relationships to get tax benefits, they don't decide they're ready to get married earlier for it, they don't stay married for it, and it's definitely not a motivator to "become straight" (if that were even possible) or give up their polyamorous lifestyle.

I don't think anyone even disputes this. The simple truth is, the monoamorous lifestyle of "find partner, eventually break up and repeat or get married" is the only one that's socially accepted for adults, and people who don't have marriage as their end goal are seen as either immature or "not ready for marriage yet" or abnormal, and that's why marriage benefits are a non-issue. Polyamorous people have no voice, and unlike gays it's okay to be prejudiced and bigoted against them. But that's not the entire truth.

The only logical solution is of course to abolish marriage as a legal (not social) institution and instead offer registered partnership - which can be much more flexible with, for example, polyamorous relationships, as the symbolic value is gone - for boring legal stuff like joint tax filing. Secular marriage would be an open market and therefore much more flexible as well. Gay marriage wouldn't be given official recognition, so the bigots would be happy as the state wouldn't force them to acknowledge that the ceremony that homosexuals have is the same as their proper religious marriage, but homosexuals wouldn't feel the need for it to be recognized either. Straight marriage would lose its official recognition, but who gives a shit? Religious people still have their god(s) in their marriage, so they don't need the state, and I just don't see atheists going anal about it.

The issues of gay marriage, polygamy, and unfair privileges to married people solved in one fell swoop. And this very obvious solution isn't being advocated even by Swedish feminists who base their careers on questioning and even damning any and all social norms (heteronormativity is the devil to them), and even then the issue of polyamory has been given some attention in Swedish media such as Dagens Nyheter, the biggest non-tabloid daily newspaper (all the big, mainstream media in Sweden are feminist, at least passively). Even they are not questioning the legal institution of marriage. I guess they're just not clever enough.

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