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Gays Should Push for the Privatization of Marriage

By Patrick Washington / Published on Sunday, 18 Jun 2017 22:30 PM / No Comments
Michael and Robert Crawford at their wedding in 2010

This month marks the two-year anniversary of the Obergefell v. Hodges ruling which effectively legalized gay marriage nationwide. Although I had reservations about the way that it was done, I celebrated the ruling along with my fellow same-gender loving Americans. I really felt that the decision was a move in the right direction and that consenting adults should not be denied the right to marry based on their sexual preference.

The freedom of association extends to the right to engage in romantic partnerships and that right should be respected equally for homosexual couples as they do for heterosexual couples. The government (federal, state and municipal levels) are to grant equal treatment under the law for all citizens regardless of color, creed, race and sexual orientation. Loving v. Virginia, which overturned miscegenation laws in America, was the landmark case that practically suggested that marriage itself is a fundamental right. Of course, we can disagree on whether marriage is a fundamental right but with Loving v. Virginia and Obergefell v. Hodges, the freedom to marry is now recognized as a right protected by the Constitution and it must be honored.

Marriage is one of the “basic civil rights of man,” fundamental to our very existence and survival. – Loving v. Virginia, 1967

As some of the petitioners in these cases demonstrate, marriage embodies a love that may endure even past death. It would misunderstand these men and women to say they disrespect the idea of marriage. Their plea is that they do respect it, respect it so deeply that they seek to find its fulfillment for themselves. Their hope is not to be condemned to live in loneliness, excluded from one of civilization’s oldest institutions. They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right. – Obergefell v. Hodges, 2015


I definitely concur with both of the above statements. However, I hold a very nuanced position in which I do think that it is time for members of the LGBT community to consider. For the last two years since the ruling on gay marriage, I have come to the realization that current marriage laws are completely inadequate to be applicable to a same-sex relationship. Whether it is under common law or civil law, the laws that govern marriages were developed throughout the centuries to accommodate romantic partnerships between one man and one woman without any structure to apply them to romantic partnerships of two men or two women.

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Of course, we could start the strenuous process of updating many ordinances and statutes so that they can reflect what is needed for a well-ordered legal partnership between couples of the same sex. Unfortunately, we definitely will meet a lot of pitfalls in such a process. The reason for those pitfalls will be that the dynamics of a homosexual relationship is radically different from the dynamics of a heterosexual relationship.

The reason for those pitfalls will be that the dynamics of a homosexual relationship is radically different from the dynamics of a heterosexual relationship. We do not have the simplistic husband and wife roles. The bottom is not necessarily the passive one or the top the dominant one. Then what about those that are versatile? Or versatile top? Or versatile bottom?

However, I propose a much easier recourse than that. We of the LGBT community must push for marriage to be privatized. It would get government out of our marriages and therefore nullify all the laws pertaining to them. Therefore, marriages between consenting adults would be governed by rules agreed upon by the involved parties. It would be very much similar to a prenuptial agreement outlining the rights and responsibilities of each person within the marriage.



About Patrick Washington

Patrick N. Washington is a resident and native of Central Virginia. He has been engaged in political activism since he was a teenager. Patrick is the former vice-chair of the Petersburg Republican Committee. He presently serves as secretary of the Hopewell Republican Committee and as vice-chair of the Hopewell Electoral Board. He is also an ordained minister and has presided over the Enlightenment Synagogue since 2012.