Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Marriage Schmarriage?


A friend of over 3 years has recently revealed to me that he in fact, has a blog. To my friend's credit, the blog contains some very complete thoughts on a variety of subjects. None bear the sophmoric self-indulgent mark of say... MY BLOG , but rather his entries are precisely why blogging was made available. The sharing of ideas. My friend and I are simpatico on many fronts. Both of us are notoriously liberal, both of us are savagely independent. However, he has recently railed against the institution of marriage. Now I know what marriage means here in LA, its obvious that this country in particular seems to have made a mockery of the institution, and that in the media, marriage is only an accoutrement or an accessory for Paris and Paris or Britney, K-fed and their wretched bumpkin offspring. Republicans and their mini brains can't wrap their heads around the notion that marriage needs more defense from an overzealous Nicole Ritchie than from a committed gay couple. So why marriage at all then?

I think we can all agree that love is present regardless of the ceremony. The financial benefits are a cheap spiritual excuse, and barely worth mentioning. My friend makes many valid points. As someone who finds the likelyhood of marriage ebb away as each passing day makes me a more bizzare version of my previous self, i could see the shenanigans and buffoonery associated with the whole wedding season with as cold an eye as any doomed to a bachelor's life. So why the heaving sentimentality? I obviously disagree with his stance on marriage,but why?

Allow me to refer to a story from the Indus valley:
It is beleived that when a man is created, his opposite is also created in the world. These spirits are then seperated. If a man leads a holy life, one that is true to himself and kind unto others, the the man will be reunited with his other self. The other lost in birth. If he is untrue to himself and others, then he will find another mate who does not quite complete him.

Taken literally of course it's absolute nonsense, as with most religion. But by god what beautiful depth there is to the notion of finding yourself in the other. My progressive friends will all agree that the face of god, and true holiness does not lie in yourself but rather in the other. The ability to feel the pain of your neighbors, and bear the agony and ectasy of someone's life along with yours is a momentuous occasion. As with all great transitions in life a ceremony and celebration must accompany the spiritual transition of a being who switches to being self serving to becoming a servant of the life he or she has chosen. THAT is marriage. Jewish weddings have the breaking of a glass to symbolise the pain that comes with leaving your previous self behind, followed by the joy of dancing and singing to celebrate a new life.

How many times have you seen a couple get married and it changes nothing? The big change came when they became committed long ago. The cermonies are simply a celebration of that step. you gather everyone around you who your love affects and you bring them close.Nuns are married to god. Businessmen say they are married to their job. Ultimately marriage is an admission that you are a being who has been spiritualy changed, the ceremony the act the legal stuff, is just an embellishment for the true, mature , denial of self it represents. As long as people interact, care and grow, marriage will happen.

1 comment:

Dinah said...

First of all, Alf, that is a truly beautiful sentiment and I tend to agree with you. I've had the "what's the point of marriage" argument with many friends both gay and straight, and without nutshelling the issue too much, I feel ultimately that marriage, like love itself, simply comes down to Choice.

When marriage is couched solely in terms of taxes and children and weddings done by the Martha Stewart book, then yeah. It's easy to call bullshit. I also agree that it's become a political issue and that, too, is bullshit. The fact that gay couples in long-term relationships aren't allowed to marry legally is bullshit. The way the church and the republicans and the red states in general have chosen to lift marriage up just so they can play keep-away with it is beyond bullshit and, quite frankly, hateful and wrong.

That said, where’s the Choice in any of these scenarios? When you marry because it's what you're supposed to do, then where's the choice? When you're not allowed to marry, where's the choice?

I have two gay friends in Colorado who got married. Colorado doesn't recognize it as legal, but they basically said, "Fuck you, Colorado" and threw a big ol' gay wedding anyway. They sent save the date emails, they registered, they both wore tuxes. For them, it wasn't about the taxes or the children or whether it was even considered "legal." They wanted to get up in front of their friends and family, face each other and declare, "I choose YOU for the rest of my life." And then throw a party.

I guess what I'm saying is, you can either accept the bullshit that our politicians and churches and society in general are throwing down and believe that marriage is only for the straight, and that if you are straight and unmarried you better GET ON IT or else you are a LOSER. Or, you can choose to define marriage by what it means to you, tune out what everyone else is saying, and enjoy the love in your life when you have it.

Of course, gay couples should be allowed to choose marriage. Beyond that, I believe that ideally, a couple would choose to get married because they're committed to loving each other for the rest of their lives, and they want to make that commitment public. I believe that two people who are committed to each other for the rest of their lives and choose not to get married deserve equal respect and celebration.

And I believe that everyone—gay, straight, single, committed—should go pick their favorite store(s), register, and let people know about it. Because that's just fun.

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