Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Couples Institutionalized

Since I seem to somehow be stepping into controversial topics as of late I may as well continue with the series...

Today a friend made me aware of an article in the Austin American-Statesman regarding a bill in the Texas legislature spearheaded by Rep. Warren Chisum that would require Texans to "wait two years to get a divorce — unless they take a class designed to save their marriage." The article goes on to say,
State Rep. Warren Chisum, R-Pampa, chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, sought to get a similar measure passed in 2007. He said he's planning to bring it back as one of his priorities for the legislative session that begins in January.

"The deal is, we need to take marriage more seriously," said Chisum, who in October will celebrate his 51st wedding anniversary.
This is yet another of a pile of legislation that is being introduced to "save the family." First it was to continue to deny same-sex couples the right to marry, and now it's trying to attack the ability for married couples to divorce.

At what time did the United States of America switch from a democracy (or at least a constitutional republic) to totalitarianism? Seriously - what's next? Next thing will be that the government will start arranging who I can date and dictate how many children I must produce in order to provide healthy offspring to support the empire. Good grief. I'm not much for socialism or communism, but somehow given the choice between that and fascism I'll take the lesser of two evils. Decisions like the ones our government are making regarding marriage should make you mad as hell (I certainly am).

It's not just the trampling upon of civil rights that pisses me off, it's the kind of attitude these pricks in government are trying to stir up that is far worse. Instead of addressing the real problems with marriage as an institution, these pious bastards in government are trying to make everyone think that marriage is threatened by people living alternative lifestyles. As I said once before, gay marriage is not any threat to the family. If it does anything at all it should strengthen it. The real reason why people are against gay marriage is because it's different than what they have been told to believe. They take the perverted interpretations of a book written a couple thousand years ago as an excuse to promulgate bigotry against a group of people who actually support the institution of marriage and are working hard to be accepted into society. So now that the right-wing religious zealots have succeeded in their gay-bashing agenda they're now addressing the subject of divorce. Will denying a couple a divorce fix the institution of marriage? That's like saying that reviving prohibition will produce a drop in the crimes associated with alcohol use. Making divorce more difficult will only revert us back to a time when divorce was socially unacceptable and people quietly lived a miserable life in a miserable (or abusive) marriage. Instead of determining why marriages are failing in the first place, our elected officials have decided that we'll just go ahead and prevent people from separating. Sounds to me like a good reason to not get married in the first place. Score another point for good old fashioned family values.

Yeah yeah yeah, I know that they said that you could go to counseling to bypass that two year waiting period. Obviously Mr. Prick Chisum has never dealt with a spouse who was so manipulative or nasty that they would refuse to go to counseling. So what if they did? Will that really repair a union of two people that should never have happened in the first place?

Identifying problems before couples bond in marriage is the real way to address the problems with marriage and good family values (I hate even typing that phrase). To get you started, here is my list of those issues:
  1. Parental and/or religious pressure to marry and produce offspring needs to stop immediately. It needs to be acceptable to remain unmarried and/or not have children. Many marriages are made because of pressure to have children, and children do not cement a marriage together. Children add additional challenges to a couple that will only weaken a marriage on an unstable foundation.
  2. Rather than requiring counseling and/or a waiting period for divorce, instead consider a two-year waiting period and/or counseling before one can get married. Frankly I'm not sure how effective the counseling will be given that the church would likely be allowed to do the counseling. That's like asking the cat to take care of the bird while you take a quick trip to the supermarket. The church will continue to encourage marriages that will not work. Ideally it should be done by a qualified licensed professional counselor or psychologist who leaves their religious bias at the door.
  3. As I've stated before, couples need to consider their financial, emotional, and personal requirements of children before reproducing or adopting. If our legislators are really concerned with children and family (and that's what I think they're really worried about), then they would be far more effective in assuring that those critical resources are available prior to starting a family.* Ironically, the very same group of people they are fighting (the gay/lesbian community) are the same people who (because they're under such scrutiny) have much more carefully considered those requirements.
    * I mean the couple should assure that the critical resources are available, not the government.
  4. Even when the most intelligent of people make the most careful of choices, there are times when it becomes necessary to break the bond of marriage. Keeping people married who have no business being together only weakens the institution of marriage. It is a bad environment for any children in the relationship.
Government cannot reasonably legislate most of these things. Truly the fix needs to come from society, and we're in a time when traditional values are being challenged. The laws of physics apply here: Any action will result in an equal and opposite reaction. Not all changes to traditional values are good, and some traditional values are antiquated and even bad. Using government to mandate a faith-based value system is dangerous as we discovered again and again throughout history. Maybe everyone should be required to repeat and pass grade-school history before they assume political office, or wait two years before they can be elected.

Finally I'd like to again put a plug in for a most excellent television program, 30 Days. The last episode had a woman who was strongly against people in same-sex unions raising children living with a gay couple who had adopted three children. As I said in my previous posting, Morgan Spurlock likes to present both sides of the issue, and he did so in this program as well. By the end of the program it was obvious that the woman staying with the gay couple refused to consider any point-of-view other than her own, and she supported that refusal based on her religious beliefs. I cannot do the episode justice writing about it here - I strongly recommend that it be viewed by anyone who is interested in this subject.

We live in interesting times. I'm really sorry to say this, but it feels like another civil war is approaching.


Speck said...

Yes, I saw that episode too. She admitted that they were great parents, but still didn't believe they 'should be allowed' to be parents. She also met with two adults who were in the 'system' their entire childhood. She just could not admit that being adopted by gay people was at least better than being in group homes/foster homes till you're 18. She just kept running back to her religion to back her beliefs. It was ridiculous. And it REALLY pisses me off when people get 'worried' when gays are with children of the same sex. Oh, like a gay man is going to assault a small boy because that's the sex he's attacted to? Does that mean moms want to have sex with their sons cause THAT's the sex they're attracted to?? Homosexuality and Pedophilia are TWO DIFFERENT things people! Argh.

JC said...

I cannot BELIEVE they would actually consider that whole you-can't-divorce-without-counseling crap. Way to take away our autonomy, thanks. If that gets voted in, I'm defecting to Canada.

And yes, the pressure on 'singletons' or reproductively selective individuals (yours truly) to spawn needs to GO AWAY. We're already overpopulated, people! I don't know if I mentioned this before, but my other half is Latin, and I lived in Miami (a.k.a. mini-Cuba) for the past 3 years. If I had a PENNY for every time I had (and still have to) hear: "Joo don' have no babies? Why joo don' have no babies? Dat's crazy! Joo have dis big house, an a husband..."

AAAARGH. Makes me want to kill people. I know it's normal for their culture, they don't mean to be rude, but it IS rude, and I'm sick of it. I really don't need to justify my mastery of birth control to those who don't get it.