The SCOTUS (Supreme Court of the US) struck down the Defense of Marriage Act, which said that marriage is defined as being between one man and one woman only. Well, that got a lot of people jumping up and down on both sides of the issue. Naturally, we here and the Far Side have a slightly different take on things.
Here's the problem: when people turn to government to define something as intensely personal as who you can call 'spouse', then you get what you get. Either you have the Defense of Marriage Act, which said that same-sex couples can't be married, or you don't have it, which means government can define marriage any way it wants to. In other words, when you accept that government can 'license' marriage and say who gets insurance and pension benefits, then believe me, the issue will become a political one with the scum class (politicians) falling all over themselves to define marriage whichever way gets them the most money and votes.
As proof, just look at old Bill Clinton (don't you miss him about now?). He signed the Defense of Marriage Act into law back in the 90s, because it was politically expedient at the time. Yesterday, when SCOTUS cut it down, old Billy was jumping up and down praising the court's decision. Excuse me? Doesn't that sound like playing both hands of a two-handed poker game?
As it stands now, folks can marry their cattle or pet dog or whatever the government will issue a 'license' for. It's the government's decision, since the people allow it the power to decide. The court's decision is a victory for the Mormans, at any rate, since they can now have multiple wives. After all, marriage is not limited to one man/one woman, right? Not that it's really all that shocking. I know lots of folks here with multiple wives (at the same time).
Here's where everything is bass-ackwards. My spouse and I should be the ones who determine the definition of marriage, and we shouldn't need a license from government, we should just tell them who we married, if we damn well feel like it. Marriage is, at most, a religious issue, but at minimum a ritual between two (or more) people who declare themselves married in front of their friends and family. The government should be giving the benefits to whomever I tell them to, not telling me.
Even more to the point, government shouldn't be handing out benefits to anyone. I should be making my own retirement and insurance decisions for my family and leaving whatever is left to whomever I decide is my family when I shed this mortal coil.
If you are Muslim in Indonesia, you just show up to a mosque, get the imam to mumble a few words and sign the register. POOF, you're married. You can do that up to four times (simultaneously), but then no one really keeps track, so you can have a dozen wives if you want.
Of course, if you are a member of any of the other three 'official' religions (those recognized by the Constitution - Christian, Hindu and Buddhist), you need a license and have to jump through a bunch of bureaucratic hoops to register your marriage. Oh yeah, and mixed-faith marriages are not allowed, so God help you if your intended spouse is a tree-worshipper. Nothing like equal rights, eh? Whether the law discriminates on the basis of gender or faith of the couple, it's all the same in the end.
The point is, government has no right being involved in anyone's personal life under any circumstances. Since when did the government become an intermediary with God? After all, don't we say, "Whatever God has joined together, let no man put assunder"? Apparently, God requires licenses to join people together.
Frankly, I don't give a damn who you or anyone else calls "spouse". If you're happy, then good on ya. If that means the third baboon from the left at the local zoo, fine. Just don't invite me to afternoon tea because I don't think your baboon can make a decent cucumber sandwich.
I also happen to think that one wife is more than enough trouble. Why would any sane man need more than that? But if you want (and can afford) seven wives, then get busy, boy. You've got a lot of work to support that many credit cards.
The problem here is not just defining marriage. It is that people turn to government to do it. The way it's supposed to work is that people tell government what they want, and the government's job is to protect those decisions. How people come to those decisions is called the democratic process, which is itself a function of culture.
Once people turn to government to define what they believe, well...all bets are off. You end up with the peculiar flavor of fascism that is currently sweeping the US and Europe. These kinds of issues are for each community to define. If I don't like the way my community defines something, then I can move somewhere more amenable.
More precisely, families should determine who will be allowed into their fold, not government. After all, under the Defense of Marriage Act, how would the government deal with an hermaphrodite marrying my son? Technically, the hermaphrodite is neither male nor female, and both at the same time. Does that fit under the one man/one woman definition? It should be my decision to bless the marriage or not, but certainly not the government's decision in any case. In fact, marrying an hermaphrodite would make one a polygamist, homosexual and traditionalist all at the same time. Hmmm...interesting.
What entertains me the most is that a lot of the folks getting steamed over the 'traditional' marriage issue are the same ones getting all lathered up about government snooping and curtailing liberty. If you are one of them, then perhaps you need to do some intense meditation on what you consider liberty and freedom. Allowing government to define who I can marry is both snooping (entering my bedroom) and curtailing liberty (telling how I can pursue Happiness).
Come to think of it, SCOTUS needs to get its proverbial shit together, as well, since on the one hand, they take away liberty with decisions about warrantless searches and no right to remain silent, and on the other hand get all worked up about people being free to marry whomever they want. That's more of less defining freedom as having the choice between two brands of mustard when you only like mayonnaise.
When it comes to liberty and freedom, I don't have to like your choices, but I have to support your right to make them so that you will support mine. In any case, the government doesn't belong anywhere in the equation, except as arbiter in disputes.
The next time you think, "There oughtta be a law," remember that someone else is thinking the same thing about your liberty.