NY Times Op-Ed “How the judges forced the President’s Hand”

March 1st, 2004

To the Editor,

The Republican party is fast becoming a fascinating source of fiction writing. If science gets in the way of profits, simply have some industry sponsored ‘biostitute’ tell us that it is not actually certain that arsenic is bad for you. Is cultural change or diversity frightening the party? Have a ‘histwhorian’ rewrite the nature of the past to foster the impression that alterations of certain customs will be the downfall of our society.

The op-ed piece, “How the Judges Forced the President’s Hand” claims that heterosexual marriage is necessary to democracy and was never intended to foster financial security (cited as a “benefits grab”). This is not true. Democratic governments have been sparse over the millenia while marriage has been a part of every nearly every society. Why? To consolidate power (political alliances), increase wealth (dowries and bride-prices) and cast less doubt over patrilineal lines of inheritance through civil mandates of sexual monogamy. These are all unnecessary in a society where one can leave wealth to anyone.

The real problem is that civil marriage is a form of government-sanctioned sex and would naturally be anathema to those who fought to keep sodomy laws on the books despite their inherent unconstitutionality. With divorce rates of 50% and the high incidence of domestic violence, it is difficult to talk of the “sacred nature” of marriage in heterosexual unions unless we forbid the civil dissolution of marriages. Nonetheless, marriage has long been an important form of cultural stability and it can only benefit society when unrelated, consenting adults choose to adopt this form of domestic partnership – with or without sexual congress or a merging of assets.

In a true democracy, the will of the majority is implemented by their representatives, within the boundaries of constitutional guarantees that minorities will not have their rights trampled upon. However, in a republic, the elected representatives of ‘the people’, often shape laws to represent their version of society’s needs. The current ‘republic’an administration has taken this to new heights of self-interest from both financial and religious perspectives. The constitution does not need amending. Marriage must evolve to serve and protect all persons who wish to forge domestic bonds. Those who are required to “serve and protect” the constitution need to recognize this.

Barbara Rubin

Categories: NY Times

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