First, just a brief acknowledgment of Madison Bumgarner. Like I said before, I’m not a huge Giants fan, but I am a fan of Bumgarner. What a performance! Seems like a nice guy, too; very unassuming.
Now I’d like to share a photo from my step-niece’s wedding. But before I do, let’s have a meta-level discussion of the propriety of doing so. I downloaded the photo from Facebook. Does that make it OK to post on my blog? I think if you post photos on Facebook, with the knowledge that your FB friends can share the photo with others, then you’ve sort of given broad permission for it to live on the internet. So I think I’m in safe territory there. Next question: is it exploitive to use the photo in furtherance of my blog thoughts? On this one, I’m not sure it’s as clear cut. But I think whether or not it’s exploitive sort of depends on the narrative context of the blog post.
So, before I post the photo, let me just say that I wasn’t at the wedding and wouldn’t have known it occurred if I hadn’t seen the photo on Facebook. That’s OK, because I don’t see that part of my family very often, so I had no expectation of receiving an invite. I’m glad they shared the moment on Facebook so I could feel involved in some small way. Let me reiterate my comment on Facebook on the off chance that the happy couple see this blog post: “Good on you both, and congratulations!”
Now, here’s the photo in the featured image box.
In case you are wondering, they’re both female. Obviously, that’s legal in California and I have absolutely no moral objection to same-sex marriage. My step-niece is the one in the tux. She’s a very nice person, though I must say that I have only met her a few times.
So what’s the big deal? Why am I blogging about this particular photo? Because same-sex marriage has not been uniformly accepted in this country, or even in California, and I have a theory and a rather audacious policy prescription that might reframe the issue for some people who find same-sex marriage problematic.
See, I think that some people have a problem with same-sex marriage because their religion tells them it’s not OK. And I think that their objection may stem from use of the word “marriage.” Some people confuse the legal part of “marriage” and the social compacts attached to that with the socio-anthropological meaning of the word “marriage” as regards religion, etc. Is there a way to un-knot the two things? Is there a way to convey the same rights to same-sex and opposite-sex couples, without running into the semantic problems that, for some people, flow from the meaning of the word “marriage?”
Here’s where the policy prescription comes in to play. When you think about it, why is the government, the law, involved in something that is not only a legal status, but also a socio-anthropological status? In other words, why do we need government to sanction “marriage,” regardless of the sexuality of the parties involved? What if there were civil unions, not just for same-sex couples, but for opposite-sex couples as well? Civil unions for everyone. That way, you avoid the semantic problems that come from trying to define “marriage” one way or the other. Everyone has the same rights. If you then want to have a ceremony of a religious (or secular) nature to celebrate the union, that’s fine. Some churches will sanction it and some won’t, but you’ll still have the same benefits under the law.
Feel free to comment, especially if you disagree with that idea. On a practical level, it would be very difficult to effectuate (just the implications for tax law alone would be enormous). But the current situation is far from ideal, so maybe it’s worth a try.
Again, congratulations to the happy couple! I hope if you’re reading this that you know I wish the best for you in your lives together.