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Letter to the Editor: There's No Such Thing as Marriage

States treat marriage like a temporary property contract, and neither gay nor straight couples would want it if they knew what they were getting into.

In general the idea that all people should be treated equal is a sound starting point for a discussion about same sex marriage. Everyone should be treated equally—but there's no such thing as marriage.

What U.S. states pass off as marriage isn't marriage at all—it's just a really bad property contract between two people and the government.

We are arguing about the definition of marriage as to sexual orientation, but we forget that marriage was also supposed to be about a lifelong commitment. However, that commitment went away with "no-fault" divorce, which replaced marriage with a lifelong contract with the government over your income and property.

In California, for example, if you're married longer than 10 years and one person makes more than the other, then the person who makes more has to pay spousal support to the other for the rest of their lives. Divorce courts punish good behavior and reward bad behavior.

"Till death do us part" means absolutely nothing to the courts, but if your spouse is in jail, you're going to have to pay him/her alimony.

Marriage is also a bad one-size-fits-all contract that was designed for heterosexual virgin teenagers starting life together, and applies those rules to all groups.

So, if grandma dies and grandpa marries a 20 year old then she, as wife, is first in line to make medical and financial decisions over his adult children. That's just plain wrong. Marriage at 70 is not the same as marriage at 18 and should not be treated as such.

In the case of same sex partners, men and women are different. Two men marrying is not the same as two women marrying, or a woman and man marrying who can have children. Relationships with children, including same sex adoptions, are different than those without, yet all we have is a one-size-fits-all option.

Half of all marriages end in divorce and the other half end in death. The entire system is broken and needs to be replaced.

If the state is going to treat marriage as a temporary property contract, then it should be set up that way from the beginning. Or, alternatively, we should just phase out marriage altogether in favor of customizable civil unions where the terms of the agreement are spelled out in advance so the two people joining can create the kind of union that applies to them.

What we have now is broken and neither straight nor gay individuals would want it if they knew what they were getting into.

I'm Marc Perkel, and I approve this message!

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