I have a plan for putting an end to the gay marriage debate once and for all. A laughably simple plan. I'm not a lawyer so I'm sure there are holes in it, but I think it would be a great start.
Since marriage is rooted in our history and culture as a religious construct, let's just get the state out of the marriage business altogether. Within public law, marriage would be replaced with...I don't know...let's call it "domestic partnership". Any consenting adult would be allowed to enter into a domestic partnership with another one, subject to the following constraints:
- A domestic partnership may consist of no more than two people.
- No party to a domestic partnership can be related by blood to another party of the same partnership.
- Nobody can be party to more than one domestic partnership at a time.
- If a state decides that rules against polygamy constitute unjust intrusion on religious doctrine, it can just drop that first rule.
Within the law, the word "spouse" can be retained as a term describing any party to a domestic partnership, but someone will need to fire up Word and do a global search and replace to change all occurrences of "husband" and "wife" with "spouse". And hey, if the law specifically refers to a husband or wife anywhere, then that section of law probably needs to be reviewed, anyway.
This eliminates the stickiest part of the debate - that of redefining "marriage" - and allows adherents of a given faith to preserve the definition of marriage as their religion sees it, and lets the law provide equal protection to all spouses without regard to sexual orientation.
Yeah, I know...it won't be enough for those activists of no religious affiliation who'll say they want to be married, dammit! They'll say that because for them the issue isn't about legal status, it's about wanting to feel included and accepted. But the law is concerned only with equal protection, it doesn't really give a crap about our feelings.
Having solved that problem, let me go take a look at that national debt thing...