Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The Party A and Party B Kerfuffle

Those sensitive marriage defenders are in an uproar over the fact that California now issues marriage licenses that, reflecting the state's legalization of marriage equality, say "Party A" and "Party B" rather than "groom" and "bride." Of course, as PZ Myers states, this is perfectly legitimate since a state-issued marriage license is "a state-mandated contract." Contracts, of course, are agreements between parties. In my opinion, acknowledging this basic fact is a step in the right direction in getting the uninformed public to realize that civil marriage is distinct from religious marriage.

Yet, marriage defenders are acting as though these new labels mean that they, their families, and their places of worship are not still free to call the parties getting married "bride" and "groom." It's weird. Perhaps they believe they will be hauled off to torture camps if they utter the words "bride" and "groom." It's all a slippery slope, you know.

I think they're confused.

See, recently a pair of heterosexuals have refused to get married because this linguistic change so offends their sensitive sensibilities. They are voluntarily giving up the privilege of marriage because it hurts their feelings that their marriage license will say "Party A" and "Party B" rather than "bride" and "groom."

Perhaps this is that never-pinned-down "proof" that same-sex marriage harms heterosexual marriage? One guy thinks so:

"Those who support (same-sex marriage) say it has no impact on heterosexuals," said Brad Dacus of the Pacific Justice Institute. "This debunks that argument."

Whoa whoa whoa. Let's just back up the gravy train. For those operating in the normal world of logic, it is just not legitimate to blame same-sex marriage for harming heterosexuals just because some heterosexuals are now voluntarily refusing to get married because they don't like what's on their marriage license. As PZ puts it, these two people have "voluntarily slap[ed] themselves with a penalty so they can claim genuine damages." That's like a bratty child refusing to go to school because he doesn't like his strict teacher, and then blaming the teacher for "harming" his education. It's not the fault of same-sex marriage that these two crazy kids are choosing not to marry, it's their own fault for choosing not to marry!

Secondly, having to endure the small indignity, if it is even a real one, of having your marriage license refer to you as "Party A" rather than "groom" in no way outweighs the indignity of denying equal rights to a group of people.

One pastor is actually encouraging masses of heterosexuals to refuse to sign the marriage license because it is so offensive. His reasoning? Uttering the hyperbole of the week, he says:

"If ever there was a time for the people of the United States to stand up and let their voices be heard - this is that time."

Don'tcha think that's going a little too far? I can think of many things in the world that are more worthy of "standing up for" than keeping "bride" and "groom" on a piece of paper.

Get a grip, people.

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