Thursday, November 06, 2008

Defining Marriage



I am feeling pretty low about the passing of Proposition 8 here in California, and decided to actually look up the definition of marriage. Now, I know that Wikipedia isn't exactly Websters, but I think it's a good starting place, and their definition is fascinating to me:



"Marriage is a social, religious, spiritual, or legal union of individuals...



"Marriage is an institution in which interpersonal relationships (usually intimate and sexual) are acknowledged by the state or by religious authority. It is often viewed as a contract. Civil marriage is the legal concept of marriage as a governmental institution, in accordance with marriage laws of the jurisdiction. If recognized by the state, by the religion(s) to which the parties belong or by society in general, the act of marriage changes the personal and social status of the individuals who enter into it...



"People marry for many reasons, but usually one or more of the following: legal, social, and economic stability; the formation of a family unit; procreation and the education and nurturing of children; legitimizing sexual relations; public declaration of love; or to obtain citizenship...



"A marriage is often formalized during a marriage ceremony, which may be performed either by a religious officiant, by a secular State authorised officiator, or (in weddings that have no church or state affiliation) by a trusted friend of the wedding participants. The act of marriage usually creates normative or legal obligations between the individuals involved and, in many societies, their extended families."



It deeply saddens me that this proposition has passed, and worries me that people who voted for it were misinformed about many things (same sex marriage being somehow "taught" in school, made up threats to the current state of heterosexual marriage, etc). I normally think that when a popular vote is cast, the majority should win out no matter what my opinion is - but in this case, the civil rights that are being walked on are just too important, so we will not sit back and let the loving, committed same sex marriages be pushed down or cast aside.



I am also terrified that so many voters' arguments seemed to be that their definition of marriage being between one man and one woman comes from the Bible (which is odd, because there are all kinds of polygamists in the Old Testament!). When Devon and I married, we did so in a civic ceremony, saying nothing about any religion or deity - does this mean our marriage will be annulled or threatened next?



On a much happier note, I still have several beautiful weddings from the last few weeks to share (both hetero and homosexual weddings!), and still feel so blessed to be working with wonderful, sweet couples of all backgrounds. I hope that the diversity of my clients continues, and that the gay and lesbian couples (and straight ones!) out there know I am always happy to work with you, and support your commitment and union. Maybe breaking the law can be fun? : )



I know that this is a "hot button" (oh, are you so relieved that the pundits will finally stop talking about the elections?!) issue, but it comes from my heart, so I am unafraid of sharing my feelings here on the blog. Thank you for the support, and let's keep working towards a unified USA!

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Jessamyn --

Thoughtfully and beautifully done.

Tom Oliver

Blair Van Bussel - So Cal Photographer said...

This was also a really hard thing for me to accept. It’s just so sad that people are so close minded when it seems like we are finally taking a step forward. But on the lighter side, it seems like as the years pass – people are becoming more accepting of different ways of life and “types of people” (as with Obama). But I know that we WILL get there eventually!

Ganch said...

Jessamyn –

This is a beautiful, beautiful post. In happier news though, congratulations on your new house!!!

Richard Lee said...

As a minority, I have often had to compromise because a majority voted a certain way... But a wonderful thing about our system of government is that a majority vote is never the final word. It might take a while, but I am sure that the rights of this minority will be recognized.