Yesterday, the New York State Court of Appeals ruled against the plaintiffs who were suing for same-sex marriage rights. The full test of the ruling is available online, and I encourage everyone to read it for themselves. I also highly recommend that anyone interested check out the analysis of this ruling that was provided by Tin Man. (I also recommend his other blog posts on the same topic.) His legal background makes his ability to criticize the flaws in this ruling far superior to my own. So instead of putting my own thoughts (which in many ways run similar to the Tin Man’s anyways, but wouldn’t be nearly as complete or cohesive), I’ll let those with a better grasp of the topic handle that.
However, I do wish to focus on one aspect of this ruling that bothers me. It can be found in the following sentence, taken from page 6 (according to the statements own page numbering scheme; page 9 according to Acrobat Reader) of the ruling:
It [the legislature] could find that an important function of marriage is to create more stability and permanence in the relationships that cause children to be born. It thus could choose to offer an inducement — in the form of marriage and its attendant benefits — to opposite-sex couples who make a solemn, long-term commitment to each other.
I find myself wondering if the justices who penned this wording have looked at any statistics that cover the divorce rate lately. The idea that getting married “creates” stability and permanence in a relationship is patently absurd. The only thing that keeps a relationship stable and permanent is when those involved in the relationship not only make the commitment to do so, but lack the integrity and self-discipline to keep that commitment.
Contrary to what these justices are suggesting, no amount of “inducements” will ever replace that commitment, integrity, and self-discipline. Inducements will only make “fair weather relationships” last a little bit longer. But in the end, if the real glue that keeps a relationship hold together is still lacking, the weather will get too rough even with the inducements. And when that happens, the whole illusion will become unravelled.
Those who believe in the sacred nature of marriage should be outraged by this part of the ruling. The justices who penned this have made a mockery of their belief in that sacred nature by suggesting that marriage and marriage benefits are little more than “bribes” being offered to people without integrity or discipline to keep the commitments they won’t keep on their own. As someone who holds marriage — and relationships in general — as sacred, I know I’m outraged.