Some of my friends – and mostly friends of friends – are euphoric. A few days ago the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that any mutually consenting couple of any gender may marry, in any of the 50 United States, and be legal. Forget common law unions, you can have a little piece of paper that says you are legally hitched. You who celebrate, may I ask what you have gained? If Millennials don’t marry, if Baby-boomers once believed in free love anyway; who is this marriage ruling for exactly?
You may say this Supreme Court ruling was in favor of love. Will marriage guarantee you are loved? For centuries couples have married for love and just as many (if not more) have married for security, power or position. The legal act of Marriage does not put an end to longing and yearning. You will not be alone anymore, but you may still be lonely. Married or not, your love may or may not last.
You may say this ruling makes it possible for those in love to make a legal commitment. Let me know how that works for you. In my experience, people who are committed are committed with or without the legalities and people who are commitment- challenged are not magically changed by a legal document.
Is this SCOTUS ruling resoundingly in favor of sanctioned sex? As a consummate legalist, this where I bit the dust, not once, but two times. What is it about this word sanctioned that adds catalyst to sex? If there is any more powerful motivation than sex, for a legalist, it must be the word sanctioned. What else is motivation enough for giving up your good birth name and taking on that of another? For becoming collateral? For placing all of your worldly goods, talents, reputation and education at the behest of a spouse – legally – so you have to go through an even more convoluted legal process if you ever want to get back what was yours in the beginning?
Do you think this ruling insures society’s affirmation and acknowledgement of your relationship? Opinion or Feelings are deeply rooted and not often changed by mere laws. There were people who did not sanction nor acknowledge my second marriage. It was legal. It was reasonable and well thought out. No matter the reasons or legalities – I was a divorced woman so a second marriage could never be acknowledged.
Do we need this ruling to legitimatize procreation? It no longer takes a conjugal relationship of one man and one woman to procreate. I know of more than one family that consists of a committed man and woman and a test tube baby.
Do you see this as a nod in favor of companionship? You can have solid, caring committed companionship without the legal paper that says you are married. Loyal friendships often endure for decades, simply because they are unchallenged by the legalities of marriage.
Do you think legal marriage automatically provides medical benefits? I was married for a total of 31 years. During only eight of those years did I enjoy medical coverage as a benefit of legal marriage.
To raise children! Perhaps that is the most worthy goal for legal marriage. It takes two. At times, it even takes a village. Preferably extended family. My heart goes out to the single parent trying to give the best life possible to children who do not have two very present parents fulltime. Once again, I am not convinced that a marriage certificate guarantees a stable childrearing team, but yes, let’s do our best to provide a nurturing environment for the children.
It is my sad conclusion, after a lifetime of experience and observation, that you cannot legislate morality or love or commitment; nor control it with a bit of legal parchment.
Truth is, there are many wonderful things to be had with or without the benefit of legal marriage:
In spite of my litany of negatives, some people still want desperately to be married. And some need desperately to be sanctioned. Though I’m sticking with Inigo Montoya, in conclusion, may I heartily say,
“Dear Friends of every inclination,
May you be happy; may you be merry;
May you be gay and marry;
But most of all, may you love and be loved in return.”