If marriage is a right, then the government needs to start hooking people up

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Published by: Dan Calabrese on Wednesday March 27th, 2013

By DAN CALABRESE - The Office of the Public Spouse.

I can't totally take credit for this one because it came about in a discussion between Rob and me yesterday. Those discussions, if you were to read them, would often present a rather disturbing look inside our two brains.

Anyway, we both agree that gay marriage cannot be an equal rights issue for the simple reason that no one has a right to get married. Marriage is a union freely entered into between two parties. Gay or straight, no one can be married unless another person freely agrees to enter into the union with them. That means, by definition, marriage is not a right because a right is something that cannot be denied to you.

Otherwise all these single people who are looking but coming up empty could claim that their rights were being violated, and could petition the government for redress of their grievance. And the government would have to provide redress - if marriage were a right.

How would that work? Well, it was decided in Gideon v. Wainright (as highlighted in the book Gideon's Trumpet by Anthony Lewis, who just died a couple of days ago), that defendants in criminal cases have the right to an attorney. And if they lack the means or the methods by which to get their own, the government will provide one for them.

Same diff, right? Some might say the options available to you in the Office of the Public Defender are not as desirable as the lawyers you could get on your own if you had the money, but it's something. You rely on the government to provide you with what you need, you take what you can get.

So if marriage is a right, then the government will have to start hooking some people up via the Office of the Public Spouse. Now Rob and I think some guidelines are in order here. This is the government, after all. If you snare a mate via the Office of the Public Spouse:

1. No one gets a spouse that's too good looking. That's not fair to those who married homely people of their own volition.

2. No discrimination based on sex. That means you don't get to specify that your spouse must be male or must be female. You take what you can get. "You mean you're providing me with a dude to marry?" "What are you, a hater?"

3. No one brings up Ephesians 5:22. Ever. This is not some theocracy. Take that backwards, preachy crap to church and leave us out of it.

4. No vows, other than promising to avoid judgmentalism, to respect differentness and to be accepting of all choices, blah blah blah . . .

5. Everyone joins the government employee union. Not just the public spouses. You too. Solidarity!

The more I think about it, the more I think this really needs to happen. I will not rest until marriage is equal because government sees to it. Of course, I'm already happily married and my wife is a knockout. But I'm just looking out for you.

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