My irony meter has been pegged for a long time by the spectacle of the leftist intelligentsia’s hypocrisy on marriage. I’m a boomer. I cut my teeth on the denunciations of marriage as oppressive and outmoded. “Why do we need a piece of paper, man?”
Ladies, you may not have noticed, but these were the arguments advanced by men who wanted to have sex without having to make a commitment.
But in the last 15 years, the same leftists who denounced marriage have now demanded, as the sine qua non of social justice, the right of gay couples to get married.
As justification, they often cite the maudlin examples of gay lovers denied access to their partner’s side in a hospital, while husbands and wives get automatic access. It’s not fair!
Or the right to name a same-sex partner as a beneficiary for health insurance or retirement benefits the same way in which husbands and wives can. Also not fair!
There are, of course, easily implemented policy changes to deal with both those situations.
And, Surprise! – both of these situations are already easily dealt with.
The first is resolved with a “durable power of attorney for healthcare,” which I recommend for all adults, straight, gay, married or single. You should clearly designate who you want to be in charge of healthcare decisions should you be incapacitated. That person then has full rights to request and receive information on your status from hospitals & doctors and to visit you.
The second situation is also already resolved for the vast majority of citizens. You can designate a domestic partner (spouse, friend, room-mate, what have you) as your beneficiary. In fact, the ridiculous canard about Sally Ride’s widow being unjustly denied any access to her federal benefits is completely false.
OPM's Beneficiary Form
Everyone, including Sally Ride, is/was perfectly free to name whomever they want as beneficiary on their insurance policies.
In fact, here’s the spot on the Federal Office of Personnel Management form for federal employees, with the helpful example of how to fill it out for a “domestic partner.”
Are we supposed to believe that Sally Ride deliberately chose NOT to list her partner as her beneficiary? And that is somehow the fault of those who are opposed to gay marriage?
But it’s not really about the practical details, is it?
Gay marriage stands for the symbolic triumph of approval.
The activists do not want tolerance, or accommodation. They demand approval – or silence.
They are pursuing gay marriage not for its practical or spiritual benefits – but because in achieving it, they will be forcing society at large, and the religious institutions who perform marriages to give their approval.
I think this explains the disproportionate response to the Chick-fil-A, “we support traditional marriage” imbroglio.
What the gay activists are after is the demonizing of anyone who would speak anything but praise & approval of homosexuality.
Americans, by and large, are (and have been) tolerant. And I expect they will remain so.
They are, however, not likely to be cowed or bullied into giving their approval to anything under compulsion.