The chief justice of the State of Alabama, Roy S. Moore, aka Roy the Great and Powerful, has ordered — yes, ordered — the judges in every one of the 67 county probate courts in the Yellowhammer State (yeah, I looked that up) to disobey the order of a Federal District Court judge and refuse to “issue or recognize a marriage license that is inconsistent” with state law.
State law in Alabama, you might have guessed, bans gay couples from getting married. Because Alabama. I’m guessing it also says something about Supreme Court chief justices acceding to the orders of federal judges and the U.S. Supreme Court judges who uphold those orders, but I could be wrong here. Because Alabama.
Also because Roy the Great and Powerful. This, after all, is the same guy who once slammed down his yellow hammer and defied a federal judge’s order to remove a Ten Commandments monument from the grounds of the Judicial Building in Montgomery. Roy the Great and Powerful may have been elected to uphold the laws of his country and state, but he’ll always defer to the laws of his Big Bad Invisible Voodoo Guy in the Sky when he perceives a conflict.
Which brings us to the subject of religion, and why Roy the Great and Powerful’s argument against gay marriage can’t be beat, no matter how repugnant it is. The one and only argument against gay marriage is religion — that whole God Created Adam and Eve, Not Adam and Steve thing — and you just can’t beat it. Not here. Not now. Not ever. Because religion.
So there’s really only one way to put this whole gay marriage kerfuffle to bed: We the People need to get out of the marriage business. And now, if not sooner.
Here’s the bottom line: Even if the majority of We the People who support gay marriage is 51 percent or 55 or 75 or even 95 percent … even if the U.S. Supreme Court rules in the spring that gay marriage is a constitutional right and the law of the land … we’ll never, ever, persuade a sizable minority of Americans like Roy the Great and Powerful to hop on board the rainbow.
Because Roy the Great and Powerful believes marriage is “a divine institution ordained by God.” You just can’t argue with that.
And I’m fine with that. If Roy the Great and Powerful has an inside track to what God wants, who am I to argue? He and millions of other Americans who consider gay marriage an affront to their religious beliefs are entitled to feel that way. Because religion.
But they’re not entitled to discriminate against others. Because America.
And that right there is why We the People have to get out of the marriage business. What Roy the Great and Powerful and all his buddies in the Fellowship of Discrimination don’t explain is why marriage, “a divine institution ordained by God,” should be any business of a government that is supposed to cherish its Constitution, which last time I looked had a First Amendment that said, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”
If recognizing “a divine institution ordained by God” isn’t “respecting an establishment of religion,” then what the hell is? And if it is, then where does the government come off deciding who — straight or gay — can get married to whom? Marriage should be none of its business.
I got married once. In a synagogue. To a woman (I couldn’t help it; I was born that way). And after we exchanged rings and I do’s, Rabbi Bamberger announced to all in attendance:
By the power vested in me by the State of New York, I now pronounce you husband and wife.
Now, if I had it to do all over again, I’d like to stop old Bambi right there and ask, “Where exactly does the State of New York or the State of Anywhere come off giving guys like you in places like this the ‘power’ to pronounce this? You’re a rabbi, not a sheriff. How did you become an agent of the state?”
Damn, that would have been fun. Herb, the father of my bride, would have killed me on the spot.
But I digress. As I was saying, We the People have to stop stepping all over Roy the Great and Powerful’s religion and ensure that the government doesn’t grant gays the right to marry.
And the way to do that is by taking away the government’s right to recognize any and all marriages. If marriage is a religious ceremony, as Roy the Great and Powerful says, then We the People have no business getting involved in them. It’s just none of our damn business.
BUT … For legal purposes, we can recognize civil unions. And there seem to be a whole lot of people out there who oppose gay marriage, because religion, but say they support civil unions, because America. Chris Christie, for one, has crossed that bridge.
So let’s change the rules. You want to get married? Go ahead. Knock yourself out. Whether you’re straight or gay, you can get married. Some people will accept your marriage. Others will not. It’s none of our business.
But we’ll all accept your civil union. And going forward, every couple, straight or gay, who wants to be legally recognized as a couple must receive a certificate of civil union. In any state.
You’re getting married in church on Sunday? Good for you. Just don’t forget to get a certificate of civil union on Monday, because that Sunday marriage is between you and your spouse and your family and friends and your big bad invisible voodoo guy in the sky. It has no legal binding whatsoever. You want the “rights” of a spouse? The government doesn’t recognize your marriage. May I see your certificate of civil union, please?
What, you may ask, about people who are already married? Maybe married for decades? What about them?
I reckon we’d hear cheers throughout the nation if we declared them all single, and if there’s one thing we can’t stand, it’s deliriously happy people. So I reckon we’d have to grandfather — grandmother? — them in.
Sure, we’ll have to change a lot of forms, like the “married” box on the 1040. But so what? The solution makes everyone happy. You can get married to whomever you want, by whomever you want, according to the dictates of your religion or not. Some people will recognize your marriage. Others won’t. But We the People don’t care. It’s none of our business.
All we’ll care about is your civil union, which is a whole separate thing from a certificate of marriage. It gives Adam and Steve the same legal rights as Adam and Eve.
I like to think God would like that. I like to think even Roy the Great and Powerful would like that. But, hey, I could be wrong. And, hey, it won’t matter.
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