Hippo Manchester
November 24, 2005


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Publisher's Note: What makes a marriage
by Jody Reese

If youíre married, youíd better hurry up and have some kids.

A state commission studying same-sex marriage has concluded that marriage is really just about having children, and therefore because people of the same sex canít make their own children, they should not be able to marry or enter a civil union.

Itís not clear what the commissionís next step will be, but I wouldnít be surprised if they pushed the government to make new laws stopping senior citizens, infertile people and those not wanting children from marrying.

Couples wanting to marry would be required to get tested to make sure they can have children and would have to agree under the penalty of perjury that they were going to have children or at the very least adopt them.

Itís not easy to make public policy about something as emotional as gay marriage. The Legislature put together this commission as a way to deal with legalized gay marriage across the border in Vermont and Massachusetts. Will New Hampshire recognize those civil unions and marriages? Will New Hampshire pass a constitutional amendment banning gays from marrying?

Most people oppose gay marriage and about half of all people oppose gay civil unions. People give different reasons for their opposition. Many times itís about protecting the sanctity of marriage, though I have no idea what that means today when about half of all marriages end in divorce.

Gay marriage doesnít threaten my marriage. Divorce threatens it. If you really want to protect the sanctity of marriage, donít let people divorce. Others argue that gay civil unions threaten the traditions of marriage.

How we think of marriage has changed dramatically in the last 100 years. Once marriage was seen as a business arrangement. Today, we take a much more liberal view of marriage. People get married because they love each and want to spend the rest of their lives together. Having children is no longer the primary reason we marry.

Prohibiting gays from marrying doesnít make my marriage any more special. I donít get great enjoyment out of belonging to some special tradition that gays canít join. My marriage is special because I love my wife, and I enjoy sharing my life with her. Itís special in and of itself.

In reality the gay-marriage commission has rejected gay marriage, civil unions and has backed a constitutional amendment baning the recognition of gay marriages and civil unions because its members donít like homosexual relationships and do not want them recognized in law. Itís not about the kids. Itís about gays.

By being honest about that, perhaps we can finally face our bigotry against gays and give them the same rights and responsibilities the rest of us have.