Rear Window Ethics Rear Window Ethics: South Africa Legalizes Gay Marriage

Thursday, December 02, 2004

South Africa Legalizes Gay Marriage

ABC News:

A South African court has delivered a watershed judgement on gay rights that could see same-sex couples getting married within the next year.

The Supreme Court of Appeal has ruled in favour of a lesbian couple, who requested to have the common-law definition of marriage changed from being a "union between a man and a woman" to a "union between two persons".

Wasn't it just a few years ago that people were picketing outside South African embassies to protest a country that was desperately hanging onto a backward, racist government? When did South Africa become more progressive than us? More importantly, what does that say about America today? Our government is trying to enact the very law that just was overturned by a country that only ten years ago was one of the most discriminating in the world.

My dad and I were talking about this issue over Thanksgiving--specifically the hang-ups over the wording and definition of a "marriage" versus that of a "civil union"--and I decided that in order to make a level playing field, anyone who has been joined by a member of the clergy should consider themselves in a marriage, while those who have gone to a city or state official should consider themselves in a civil union.

Why is it, if a straight couple gets joined by Captain Stubing on The Love Boat, they're considered married when the good ol' captain has never been ordained into ministry? Elvis impersonators perform five minute "marriages" in Las Vegas drive-throughs, and people are getting their panties in a bunch about wording when it comes to gay marriage?

If we're going to get bogged down with definitions of words, we might as well settle the interpretations as they pertain to past and present unions between straight couples.