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Unlike many of my fellow conservatives, I am not in favor of a constitutional amendment declaring that marriage be limited to a man and a woman. It’s one of the two major issues on which President Bush and I must agree to disagree. The other one is President Fox of Mexico. Mr. Bush thinks he’s a friend, whereas I consider him Jacques Chirac in cowboy boots.
Again, unlike my colleagues on the right side of the political spectrum, I don’t object because I regard the Constitution as sacrosanct. I mean, really, this is a document that already has two amendments that deal strictly with booze!
The reason I don’t become hysterical at the notion of gays and lesbians tying the knot is because, Pollyanna that I am, I see the glass as half or even two-thirds full.
For openers, being libertarian at heart, I am in favor of people doing pretty much whatever they like so long as it doesn’t hurt others or frighten the horses. I simply don’t see how it affects my wife or me if Harry marries Larry or Sherry marries Mary. So, if it makes a lot of people happy, I think that’s a boon for everybody. Happiness, I’m convinced, is contagious.
For another thing, I’ve already concluded that all those extra ceremonies can only be a boon for the economy. When it comes to spreading the wealth around, nothing short of hosting a Super Bowl primes the money pump quite like a spree of marriages. Even poor people splurge like drunken sailors when marrying off a daughter.
Get a couple of lesbians pledging their troth and you get to double the amount lavished on flowers, booze, canapes, bridal gowns, musicians, silver service gifts, honeymoons and trousseaus. And, eventually and inevitably, there’ll be the accountants, the furniture movers and the divorce attorneys, carving out their own sizeable slices of the wedding cake.
One does wonder what sort of practical advice parents feel called upon to offer on those special pre-nuptial occasions. Do doting mothers tell their daughters about the birds and the birds, while well-meaning, but slightly stammering, dads give their sons the lowdown on the bees and the bees?
I can only hope that these young folks know what they’ll be letting themselves in for. As they have heard, but never before had reason to heed, living together is about as much like being married as leading a Boy Scout troop is like being president of the United States. Suddenly, they’ll have to learn a whole new vocabulary. Expressions such as “Just for that, you can sleep on the couch,” “I’d love to, but I’ve got this terrible headache” and “That’s the last straw – I’m going home to father!” will become all too commonplace.
Still, I know I don’t speak for the majority. Most Americans, although they favor civil unions, are opposed to same-sex marriages. The fact is, most Americans wished they, themselves, were involved in civil unions, rather than the more typical uncivil sort. Basically, the opposition to gay marriages comes down to tradition. The truth is, those opposed to tampering with the institution are not homophobic ogres. They simply feel that for centuries, marriage has meant the joining of a man and a woman in holy matrimony, and they see no good reason to change things.
As usual, I, the single greatest compromiser since the glory days of Henry Clay, have come up with an obvious solution. The real hang-up, so far as I can see, is the word itself. Heterosexuals wish, rightly or wrongly, to maintain their copyright on “marriage.” Fine and dandy, I say. I say, let the unions between gays and lesbians be called “carriages.” Under my plan, the carriage trade would have all the legal and financial rights as their married brethren. The sole distinction between the two alliances would be a single consonant. What could be fairer than that?
Frankly, I can’t imagine anybody objecting to my plan. It would give gays and lesbians everything they want, with the possible exception of something to be cranky about.
And while I can see people of my political bent initially digging in their heels, I would hope they would quickly come to their senses. For, as we all know, married folks tend to vote Republican more often than not. So, why shouldn’t we assume the same would hold true for carried people?