Saturday, September 13, 2008

Will we be any better?

Fannie over at Fannie's Room has a great post about Newt Gingrich's support of Proposition 8 in California. Proposition 8 is a response to the California Supreme Court's ruling that gay and lesbian couples in California may not be denied the right to marry. Fannie makes excellent points about the hypocrisy of the crusade to "defend marriage."

But don't get your knickers in a bunch, dear readers. I'm sure Gingrich's next move will be to "defend and protect marriage" by supporting amendments to make it illegal for adulterers to re-marry, to ban divorce, and/or to impose criminal penalties on adulterers. Marriage, you see, definitely needs protection against such immoral, depraved, and confused persons. And, since there are way more potential heterosexual adulterers than there are gay people, surely a proposed constitutional amendment affecting heterosexuals, rather than a vilified minority group, is imminent, right?

The one concern that I have about our side in this debate is statements that suggest that same-sex marriages are somehow more stable or lasting than heterosexual marriages. Fannie says:

Essentially, Newt is saying that marriage is good enough for him- a man who committed adultery numerous times- but not good enough for the millions of gay and lesbian couples who are undoubtedly more capable of commitment than he is.

Suggesting that if same-sex couples would take better care of their marriages than different-sex couples seems both unnecessary and probably untrue. Same-sex couples don't need to be "better" at marriage than hetero couples in order to have a right to it. They're two consenting adults who should have the same rights and responsibilities as other consenting adults - that includes the right to choose to enter a union as well as the right to choose to end one. The truth is that some couples last and some couples don't - both gay and straight.

I certainly hope that same-sex married couples will treat their relationships with a great deal of care and respect, but I hope the same thing for different-sex couples as well. Unfortunately, I will be surprised if, in the long run, same-sex couples end up having a much better track record than their precursors.


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