Voters did that in Michigan in 2004. We inserted into our constitution the following sentence: “To secure and preserve the benefits of marriage for our society and for future generations of children, the union of one man and one woman in marriage shall be the only agreement recognized as a marriage or similar union for any purpose.”
Largely because of those last few words, a lawsuit arose. It focused on gay adoption. The case gained velocity. And Friday, the federal judge who heard it ruled that our implied ban on gay marriage was unconstitutional.
And so, for several hours, we lived in a state where, like 17 other states, gay couples could marry. Dozens did so Saturday morning, in courthouses that somehow magically opened even though they don’t have Saturday hours. (Can someone explain that?) And then a stay was issued, at least temporarily halting the process.
Are we better off for this ruling? Certainly the media reaction suggests we are — with heartwarming tales about couples finally having their dreams come true.
I have a different take. I wish as much emphasis was being put on staying married as getting married.
We live in a country where nearly half of marriages break up. And if you think that will be any different in gay marriages, think again. People are people. Fights, losing interest, losing passion, finding someone else — do you think this is the sole purview of heterosexuality?
While we are consumed with who gets to get married, many nations are losing interest in the institution. In France, the Netherlands — even Italy, with its stereotype of the big family — marriage is becoming passe. Why burden themselves with vows and commitments?
I fear, once this current debate is settled, we will head that way, as well. There’s a case right now in the Michigan Supreme Court in which the child of a lesbian couple that split up was forbidden by the biological mother to see the non-biological mother. Critics lamented that if they were legally married, then divorced, the child and denied mother would have rights to see each other. So we’re now using divorce to justify more marriage?