Thursday, December 15, 2011

Is America Ready for Three Tiers of Marriage?...

... 'Cuz that's what Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is proposing.  He was chatting with the Boston Herald editorial board a couple days ago and came up with the following three-tiered suggestion for a gay marriage-banning constitutional amendment:

1. Continued recognition of all heterosexual marriages -- past, present, and future;

2. Continued recognition of all existing homosexual marriages -- past and present;

3. Prohibition against all future homosexual marriage.

According to Romney:
“I think it would keep intact those marriages which had occurred under the law but maintain future plans based on marriage being between a man and a woman,” Romney said.
I guess it's nice that he's not racing to destroy existing gay families, especially since marriage equality has been legal in Romney's own Massachusetts for nearly a decade.  Heck, there are potentially married gay or lesbian couples in Vermont who have only been married a couple years, but have been civilly unionized since 2000.  Romney just doesn't want new gay or lesbian families.

Anyway, it's been widely reported that the Log Cabin Republicans don't like creating a three-tiered marriage system:
“Governor Romney is contorting himself into a pretzel trying to avoid the simplest solution to a purely political problem. The best way to strengthen all families is to grant equal access to civil marriage for all couples regardless of their orientation,” said R. Clarke Cooper, Log Cabin Republicans Executive Director. “Governor Romney’s proposal to create a stratified system is a recipe for legal chaos. It is an offense to the rights of states like New Hampshire that have chosen to legalize marriage equality, and would, for the first time since the Civil War, enshrine second class citizenship in the American Constitution. On the state level, California is already struggling to deal with the fallout of multiple classes of marriage rights imposed by Proposition 8, proving that this system simply doesn’t work. Log Cabin Republicans appreciate the governor’s efforts to find middle ground, but this is not an acceptable solution.”
The LCR is right.  It's crazy to suggest that we can successfully manage multiple tiers of gay families in this country or that those who'd had the misfortune of being single and/or too young to marry and/or too new into their eventual lifelong relationship are going to remain content to live lives of legal limbo while watching other gay and lesbian couples like myself experience life as married couples.  Additionally, who in the GOP (outside, of course, those who actually respect all marriages and families) is going to actually allow even one gay or lesbian family to continue existing?

Instead of twisting and turning and trying to come up with a novel way of banning gay families while not coming off as a complete ogre, why not try something really revolutionary?  Promote all marriages.  Promote marriages between men and women.  Promote marriages between women and women.  Promote marriages between men and men.  Institute public policy that promotes and protects all marriages and families and stop saying that you want to protect marriage by destroying one segment's marriages.  That would demonstrate real leadership, which unfortunately means that it's a no-starter.

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