You Make Your Marriage 'Sacred,' Not the State

RECEIVED Mon., Nov. 24, 2003

Reading "This Modern World" in the Nov. 21 issue got me to thinking. (Hey, that's Tom Tomorrow's objective, right?) The "sacred institution of marriage" is a term that has peppered recent rhetoric concerning same-sex marriage and its potential to undermine that institution. Well, wake up and smell the reality. That "sacred institution" is undermined every time someone cheats on his or her spouse. Every case of spousal abuse undermines it. Every time two people who vowed "till death do us part" use civil litigation as a weapon to hack each other to pieces and every time someone decides that doing so literally is preferable, the "sacred institution of marriage" is seriously undermined. Saturating the national consciousness with the exploits of Bill Clinton, James Brown, Robert Blake, or Kobe Bryant has done much more to shred the veil of sanctity than same-sex marriage possibly could.
   Are those who wed in civil ceremonies, without benefit of clergy, any less married than those who chose a religious ceremony to enter into holy matrimony? In this society today, marriage is a contract. A cultural and legal arrangement which grants couples societal status and benefits. Whether you were married in a cathedral or a courthouse, you are under contract with your spouse. A divorce is a lawsuit plain and simple. If you want your marriage to be a "sacred institution," fine, do so, but remember that it's your marriage and that is no criterion by which to judge the validity of the intimate relationships of others.
Danny Joe Knox
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