In a classic scene of the movie The Princess Bride the priest at the wedding ceremony asks “Mawage. Wat is mawage? Wuv . . . Twoo wuv!” If you’ve seen this clip then you will know what a ridiculous proposition the entire wedding scene is. The bride and groom don’t like each other let alone love one another. This is a marriage of convenience.
Other story lines show that marriage for love was by far the exception rather than the rule. Think of the popular films Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility and Elizabeth. Would these film’s narratives be nearly as compelling if the main characters simply married out of convenience or because of a dowry? A non-fictional question: Do you really think that King Henry the VIII married his six wives for love?
Marriage for love is a relatively new invention by western society. Marriage itself is a function of the church. Two people can enter into a legally binding long-term relationship at any city hall or county clerk’s office. Heck, you can even get a drive-thru ceremony in Vegas and all of the legal rights conferred upon the couple are valid. These events have nothing to do with religion, but still count the same in society’s mind.
To this day, if a Roman Catholic couple is married anywhere but in the church, then the church does not officially recognize it. Does this mean that their marriage isn’t valid? Of course not.
This is where the gay community is missing the point and losing the hearts and minds of America. It is the prerogative and the right of ANY religious organization to approve or disapprove of gay relationships. Yet we, as a community, are bent on equal rights and the ability to use the term “marriage”. But do we really think that we can gain these rights by trying to litigate and depend on left-leaning courts to shape the public dialogue? We are simply arguing the wrong way.
The government at all levels should afford for the exact same rights between two people that want to enter into a long-term relationship. This is the right thing to do. Churches should be able to evaluate their doctrinal positions on the issue and be free to decide to bless these relationships or tell them to go to hell. This is the right thing to do.
When we frame this issue this way instead of getting caught up in semantics we allow for a more productive dialogue to move ahead. If we do not, then there will surely be plenty of depressed Princess Buttercups out there for decades to come.