Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –
My sister-in-law lives in Germany. There, gay or straight, everybody gets “civil unions” in the eyes of the state. The churches are left to themselves to decide who they will marry in their ceremonies and bless with the word “marriage.”
I went to college in Canada. Whether gay or straight, there everybody gets “married” in the eyes of the state. The churches are left to themselves to decide who they will marry in their ceremonies and bless with the word “marriage.”
I live in the United States. Here, the government reserves marriage for heterosexual couples and “civil unions” for same-sex couples. The churches are prevented from deciding who they will marry in their ceremonies and blocked from blessing them as “marriage.”
Around the world, from Armenia to Uruguay, government after government is realizing that one way or another, marriage apartheid must end. Abraham Lincoln said “a house divided cannot stand” and we are unquestionably divided.
I wish we would follow Canada’s lead and let everybody get married instead of abolishing it. Marriage is the only time-tested social and legal framework that exists to unite two families – and I’ve always dreamed of getting married, not “civil unioned.”
But I predict that the way this pitched battle will play out in America will be much sadder. Instead of giving everybody the freedom to marry, we will eventually give nobody the freedom to marry.
The end result will be the same: the state will get out of the way of deciding if and who will marry, and leave that intimidate decision to the individuals involved. I will have no trouble finding a church to bless my union, but generations of Americans straight and gay will miss the opportunity to have their government bless their marriage as well.