As everyone knows, I am a huge junkie. Last night on my way into practice, I was listening to an interesting commentary on All Things Considered:
How Straight Couples Are Riding on the Coattails of Gay Rights
by Heather Dune Macadam
In Massachusetts, many private employers are phasing out their domestic partner benefits over the next few years, on the logic that since gays can now marry in Massachusetts, there is no need for benefits for unmarried partners -- gay or straight. Commentator Heather Dune Macadam says that if straight couples in Massachusetts want to share health insurance, they ought to get married instead of taking advantage of rights that gays have worked hard to earn. (You can listen to the story by clicking the above link.)
It is food for thought. Earlier, Ryan and I started discussing marriage as a government institution vs. as a religious institution. I find it curious how marriage means different things to different people. I, personally (an employee of the Lutheran ELCA), think it's more critical that married couples are recognized by the government rather than the church.
In the Lutheran church, the act of marriage is more for ceremonial purposes than recognition...it is seen as merely a confirmation of the legal marriage. In other words, walking down the aisle is just for show.
Admittedly, I had a Protestant church wedding. But I also had a civil ceremony in front of a judge first. Even though I am now separated, on the road to divorce, and probably slightly jaded in my view of marriage, I still think this is an important argument to consider. I guess I don't understand how, for example, one can be morally opposed to the concept of marriage because it is seen by the majority of society as a religious institution, when really isn't it about what the 2 involved parties believe? If you both believe it to be more of a legal bond than a religious bond, why not just go to a judge and just do it?
Realistically, how does being recognized as a married couple by the church help you, aside from the obvious getting into Heaven thing? The church doesn't give you a break on taxes. The church won't acknowledge someone's power of attorney, will it? The church doesn't provide financial assistance to you for life if your spouse dies.
So who cares? Get married so at least you can get cheaper health insurance. But only if your betrothed doesn't repulse you, because let me tell you, divorce is not cheap...it's a big pain in the ass.