This Same-Sex Marriage Bill is Not Marriage Equality
First a disclaimer. I’ve been asking questions about this and trying to get information from various sources, but I think the questions coming from me, a known conservative, leads the receiver to believe I’m being sarcastic with my questions. I’m not. I’m being truly honest, as is what I’ll state below.
The same-sex marriage bill was brought up by State Rep. Art Handy yesterday. (Read the text here) This is the bill that we’ve been hearing about for some time that will come to a vote early in this legislative session. This is the bill that is being touted by Marriage Equality Rhode Island (MERI). This is the bill that they say is about human rights and fairness. However, I believe this bill does not go far enough.
Maybe I’m in disagreement with many on the right who want to keep marriage as defined as between one consenting adult man and one consenting adult woman, as I’m fine with the idea of any two consenting adults being able to marry, or engage in some legal, binding contract that affords them the same rights and responsibilities as the other people who can currently marry in Rhode Island.
However, that’s not what this bill does. This bill does offer exceptions, and I don’t see that as the stated goal of equality and basic human rights. Why not simply change it so that any two consenting adults can marry each other? That’s it. No more qualifiers or exceptions on it at all. What am I talking about? Here:
15.1.2 No person shall marry his or her sibling, parent, grandparent, child, grandchild, stepparent, grandparents’ spouse, spouse’s child, spouse’s grandchild, sibling’s child, or parent’s sibling.
15-1-5. Bigamous marriages void … A person is prohibited from marrying if such person is: (1) A party to another marriage; or (2) A party to a relationship that provides substantially the same rights, benefits and responsibilities as a marriage whether entered into in this state or another state or jurisdiction, and such marriage or relationship has not been finally dissolved, unless the parties to the intended marriage will be the same as the parties to such other marriage or relationship.
My question on both of those is “why not?” Why are we not allowing any of those things to happen? Keep in mind, my definition is any two consenting adults. So the mentally incompent, children and anything non-human is out. The real key here is being able to give consent. So spare me the questions about marrying the family dog or a ham sandwich.
But why can’t two brothers enter into the contractual relationship that gives them the same rights and responsibilities as a married couple? If it’s incest that repulses you, when did repulsion become a reason for deciding the law? If some are repulsed by the gay lifestyle, should that be enough to not allow them to marry? If the argument is that we don’t want incestuous relationships creating children, then the question is whether creating children is the purpose of marriage.
As for bigamy, why not? If all the parties involved are consenting and all current spouses consent, why not? If my wife wants an additional husband, and he and I are willing to agree to that as well, why should the state say that we can’t do that?
If the whole goal here is to allow two people the same basic rights as a man and a woman are currently afforded in Rhode Island, why is it only gay or lesbian couples that are being added? That’s not a human rights, that’s picking and choosing certain groups of adults. It’s really no different than what we currently have where the law has chosen who has particular rights and who doesn’t. This law simply increases the number of people who will be included, but it sure isn’t marriage equality.
If we’re going to pass a same-sex marriage bill for the purposes of marriage equality, let’s do it and do it right and include everyone.