Oct 15, 2012
This election, there is a ballot proposal in Maryland to “establish that Maryland’s civil marriage laws allow gay and lesbian couples to obtain a civil marriage license....” It is completely understandable and reasonable that gay partners want and should have the same rights as everyone else.
So why do people get married? Many want to make a commitment to each other. But there are serious financial and legal reasons that push people into marriage. In most states for example, inheritance is not automatically given to committed partners unless they are married. The same is true for pensions, Social Security, and survivor benefits. In this society, children are not considered legitimate unless a committed couple is married.
But the real problem can be addressed more simply without marriage and all the baggage it carries. Marriage is a religious ceremony and historically developed as the means of legalizing the property relations between men and women, sanctifying women’s legal and social inferiority to men.
We need what exists already in a number of industrialized countries – civil unions where couples can commit to each other and also have all the financial and legal benefits currently available only to married couples.