Monday, October 20, 2008

A Few Thoughts on Arizona Proposition 102

Again this election Arizonans are asked to make their vote heard on defining marriage as between a man and a woman--this time, in the form of a state Constitutional amendment. Forget the fact that Arizona law already employs this definition and outlaws civil unions. The argument is we need it to "protect" us from those pesky "activist judges" who apparently have nothing better to do than to grant equal rights to gays and lesbians.

The intersection near my house is littered with SIX signs urging me to vote Yes! to 102. Never in my life have I wanted more to use my Second Amendment rights to exercise my First Amendment rights against those signs--but apparently that isn't permitted under Arizona law.

If marriage is truly a sacred institution between man and wife granted as a covenant by God, as these supporters contend, then I think they don't go far enough to protect marriage. Just preventing gays and lesbians from marrying their partners doesn't fully protect that covenant. If marriage is to survive as these supporters envision it, here are some extra steps they need to take:

1. Put marriage back in the church. No more marriage certificates, no more Vegas wedding chapels, no more civil ceremonies conducted by a Justice of the Peace. If you want to get married, you must marry your heterosexual partner in church officiated by your pastor. Don't go to church? Sorry, you can't get married.

2. Abolish all legal benefits of marriage. Since marriage is performed in church and has no legal standing, you and your spouse may no longer derive any legal benefit from your marital status. No more joint tax filings, spousal health insurance benefits, or rights of survivorship may be granted under law. Everyone files taxes independently and secures his/her own insurance. If you want your spouse to inherit your 401K, you better cash it out before you kick it. All inheritance would go to your children, like God intended, or to your church.

3. Revoke all divorce laws. Courts may no longer dissolve marriages since there's no legal contract to dissolve. You said till Death do you part--now you have to live up to it. No petitions, no decrees, no custody arrangements. Churches can decide how to dissolve a marriage, if that's even an option for your faith.

My daddy always told me if you're gonna do a job, do it right; don't do it half-assed. Come on, Arizona! If you're going to vote Yes! to 102, make sure you do everything else to protect this sacred covenant. Otherwise, it'll just look like those who vote Yes! are just voting for hate and discrimination.