A marriage by any other name would be as sweet. Whether it is called a civil union, a marriage or a domestic partnership, the intent and wish of a couple to symbolize their commitment to one another in a ceremony is more than ordinary. It is a part of our culture.
The dividends of marriage in the United States are to be able to sign a joint tax return, have rights toward each other should illness or death occur during the partnership and to receive company health insurance are only examples of these benefits.
In Virginia, Attorney General Mark Herring and Democratic Governor Terry McAuliffe are spoiling for a fight against a ban on same-sex marriage in the state legislature. Herring announced last month that he will join gay couples in two federal lawsuits challenging the ban. Virginia’s Republicans in the legislature have accused Herring and McAuliffe of abandoning their duty to uphold the state’s laws, regardless of their personal views.
Wisconsin is another spot for the battle against those who would keep same-sex couples from marrying. Four couples are currently challenging the ban on gay marriage in the federal courts. A constitutional amendment was approved by voters in 2006 to prohibit Wisconsin from recognizing a same-sex marriage performed in another state.
Roy Badger, a resident of Wisconsin, had to contend with a life or death issue with his partner, Garth Wangemann. Wangemann had been in a medically-induced coma for a month, and Wangemann’s father wanted him to be taken off life support. Wangemann, who recovered, said, “Thankfully, our wishes held in this case. But without the protections that come with marriage, the consequences can literally be a matter of life or death.”
A marriage by any other name would be as sweet, but for many same-sex couples, the ritual of marriage is much more than a church and a minister or priest presiding over a legal commitment. The reading of vows and having loved ones present to witness the union is particularly gratifying.
Kelly Scott, of Flagstaff, Arizona, believes” the mere recognition factor is what marriage is all about. ” To stand up before family and friends, and share the moment is sacred, no matter what your religion, states Scott. There are even some heterosexual couples who refuse to get married until same-sex marriage is allowed by every state legislature.
The public’s opinion on gay marriage has changed dramatically in a very short period. The country’s mores have adjusted on the issue of families and the freedom to call a family what it is under a same-sex definition. The film, The Kids Are All Right, depicts children who are raised by a lesbian couple, played by Julianne Moore and Annette Bening. The family is turned upside down when Moore’s character cheats with the two children’s sperm donor father. But despite the infidelity, the couple stays together because they are committed and as their son says, “I don’t think you should break up. You’re too old.”
Every family has its challenges: fidelity, budgetary constraints, child rearing, careers, a lack of sex after a certain number of years. The basis of all marriages is the dull and everyday chores of when to replace the living room furniture, whose home to visit during holidays, and any other typical scenario that can be imagined.
A marriage by any other name would be as sweet, just as a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.
By Lisa M Pickering