Yesterday, my state’s legislature tried twice to pass any-sex marriage in the lower house and they’ll be at it again at noon today. In the Maryland House of Delegates, the Democrat/Republican balance is 98 to 43, and in the State Senate it’s 35 to 12. So, heavily Democratic. The governor, the Speaker of the House, the Senate President, Democratic party leaders generally, they all feel it’s very important that marriage be an any-sex, gender-indifferent institution, but it still takes exquisite timing to get enough rank-and-file legislators to say “yes” to that at the same time. Timing is one of the very important advantages of being the majority party, however.
Last year, party leaders figured they had the House of Delegates all sewed up, so they passed any-sex marriage in the State Senate first. Then the House surprised them, the votes weren’t there, and it was not brought to a vote. This time they’re working the Orwellianly-named “Civil Marriage Protection Act” through the House first. (The Delegates from my district are co-sponsors along with 53 others.) The vote was postponed yesterday until a special evening session. That session was
adjourned recessed very shortly without doing anything; apparently one of the “yes” votes belonged to a Delegate who was hospitalized for a serious medical emergency. Perhaps I should have been more focused in my prayers, should have pleaded for a swarm of locusts or something else bothersome but not painful.
These depressing events have combined in my mind with Charles Murray’s depressing new book, Coming Apart. (Here’s the best of the many things I’ve read addressing the book: “Charles Murray on the new upper class” by Andrew Gelman. “From one side he argues that the upper class has good habits that they should transmit to ordinary Americans; on the other side he says that the upper class should become more like the rest of the country. But I can’t see how you can have it both ways.”)
Entwined with our various social pathologies is the noxious phrase, “A family is a group of people who love each other.” Maybe there’s a mother and father married to each other. Or maybe they aren’t married. Maybe the father(s) live somewhere else and love their children from afar. Or maybe Dad is out of the picture altogether, but Mom is there loving her children and they her. Unless she’s not; maybe the kids live with their grandparents. Whatever. It’s all good. Just so long as there is someone who loves someone. That’s what a family is.
Once the injustice is remedied that some people want to marry but not to another sex, perhaps the inequality faced by single people who want to marry will be addressed. Why should the person that a person marries have to be another person? Why is marriage arbitrarily limited to couples? Why can’t a person marry herself if that’s who she loves?
[Also posted at Junior Ganymede.]