Marriage and Cynical Ballot Initiatives
There’s something disconcerting about the cynical use of the democratic process to make political statements, rather than advance a sincerely supported cause:
An initiative filed by proponents of same-sex marriage would require heterosexual couples to have kids within three years or else have their marriage annulled.
Initiative 957 was filed by the Washington Defense of Marriage Alliance. That group was formed last summer after the state Supreme Court upheld Washington’s ban on same-sex marriage.
Under the initiative, marriage would be limited to men and women who are able to have children. Couples would be required to prove they can have children in order to get a marriage license, and if they did not have children within three years, their marriage would be subject to annulment.
All other marriages would be defined as “unrecognized” and people in those marriages would be ineligible to receive any marriage benefits.
Perhaps what’s disconcerting is the treatment of social and civic institutions as stages for performance. Or perhaps what bothers me is that these artistes of the ballot haven’t even the depth of understanding to put forward a bit of performance art that more truly captures the position of their opposition. If the “concept” is to present traditionalists’ vision of marriage for public scrutiny, then the initiative ought to include a clause stating that any man and woman who parented a child would be instantly married — whether or not they were in a marriage on parole.
Not that traditionalists think that such an approach would be the ideal marriage law, but having given up on gay lobbyists’ ability and/or desire to comprehend the subtleties of our position, perhaps the best we can do is insist on a balanced caricature — one that at least raises usable questions.