I am pleased to see that New York State has legalized gay marriage.
As an alien, I realize it is not for me to take sides on earth issues, and I don’t. My main reason for being pleased is that intemorphs like myself exiled here are now one step freer to marry and to have their partnerships recognized by law.
This affects hospital visiting rights, immigration rights (did you know that same-sex families are torn apart every day because citizens are not allowed to sponsor their spouses for immigration unless they are heterosexual?) and a host of other things. In other words, it affects our lives in many ways, even if we do not particularly care what schizomorphs think of our relationships or whether they “accept” them.
Even if we have deep amity-relations that are not “marriages” in the Tellurian sense of (pseudo-)procreative unions we can have them protected under the rubric of marriage, which seems to be the only non-blood relationship western earth-folks understand these days.
As for the concern of some earth folks to “defend traditional marriage”, it may surprise some to hear that I do understand and sympathize with it. I certainly would not like to see anyone messing with the fundamental social institutions of my Motherland.
But the point no one on either side seems to get is that the “messing with marriage” has already been done. Marriage used to be a social institution. It used to be a contract not just between the people concerned but between them and society as a whole. It had dynastic and societal repercussions. It was part of a fabric, not just a private contract.
Several legal changes, but most notably no-fault divorce, have altered that completely. The law in western earth nations now recognizes marriage as a private contract between two private individuals to be made and broken entirely at their discretion. It does not concern anyone else (except any children of the union). This was a huge, radical change which was fought fiercely in some countries at the time. But that time was long ago. The law recognized and helped to consolidate the role of marriage in a deeply individualized (or atomized) society – as a private contract involving no wider social duties or implications.
At the same time, with the breakdown of the extended family and the weakening of local communities, this private contract took on a new importance as the main emotional “home” of the individual. The fundamental change in the nature of marriage had been taking place over the preceding century. No-fault divorce completed it and made it official.
Having made this change “traditional marriage” was ended. And with marriage as a purely private contract made solely for the benefit of the parties, there is no reason to withhold that increasingly-necessary private support mechanism from any couple that needs it.
Of course none of this is my affair. But as an outsider looking in, these are my thoughts.
And as an outsider forced to live here, the latest developments are comforting.