Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Times: Marriage saves lives

Thursday, February 14, 2013, 16:34 by Alison Bezzina

I was just sitting quietly at my desk typing and working away when, suddenly, I was startled by a loud cheer from the office next door.

Being Valentine’s Day I thought that someone must have gone down on one knee and proposed.

Considering that this year it is estimated that more than 6 million people will propose on or around Valentine’s Day, I was rather disappointed to find out that the applause from the office next door was simply for a bouquet of roses that was sent to a colleague of mine.

This seemingly little incident got me wondering, or rather digressing into the reflective and contemplative abyss, otherwise known as questioning life as we know it.

When will ALL those who are ready to make a life-long commitment to each other be able to publically and legally do so?

When will the law be truly blind and start treating everyone equally?

And why, oh why do we insist on making something so simple, sound so complicated?

Whilst public opinion has come in leaps and bounds on the matter of same sex marriage, whilst more countries around the world are introducing this legislation and lo and behold not rotting in hell, little ol’ Malta is still dragging its feet in the mud.

With the exception of Alternattiva Demokratika, the other two parties are moving at snake’s pace, (pun intended) procrastinating, shuffling, lingering, shifting and waffling about; arguing on how the law need or need not be changed, and how all they have in mind is “the best interest of the child.”

From where I stand today it seems that both parties are suddenly in favour of some form of legal recognition of same sex relationships, and though the Labour Party’s proposals seem to be a little bit closer to earth, truth of the matter is that they are still very far away from what should actually happen. Truth of the matter is that both parties are still afraid of losing the votes they so much desire.

Personally I don’t believe that same-sex marriage should be introduced in Malta.

No, same-sex couples should not have to enter a same-sex marriage, because whilst it might not have occurred to the blue or the red clan, same sex couples are first and foremost humans. After that, they are citizens of this same country; And after that, they are in a consensual committed relationship. Period. The fact that they are of the same sex should not feature in any way whatsoever.

We should not need to introduce any new legislation; we should not need any fancy new names with second level diluted arrangements that sound like marriage.

All we need is to open our eyes, our minds, and our souls, and simply extend marriage to all couples, equally and fairly.

Studies consistently and repeatedly demonstrate that married people tend to be better off on many levels; be it, financially, emotionally, psychologically and even medically.

Last year, USA Today reported that married people are twice as likely to survive coronary bypass surgery and be alive fifteen years later.

Generally speaking married people fare better, so denying same-sex couples the opportunity to marry is denying them the opportunity to equal well-being.

Marriage automatically establishes a legal and social relationship that throws the jurisdiction of responsibility squarely in the lap of the spouse.

So, simply put, marriage makes it easier for spouses to be there for each other, no matter what the situation. For example, in the case of a medical, financial or even legal crisis, the burden of support and decision-making will typically fall in the laps of the spouse, but when couples are still unmarried, it falls on other members of the family, who in the case of homosexual couples, could very likely be estranged.

But opponents of ‘the marriage for all idea’ are afraid that same-sex couples would undermine the institution of marriage.

But how can more marriages be bad for the institution of marriage?

It is only bad marriages that harm the institution of marriage, and such cases will be as common as they already are in the heterosexual world today.

So whilst opponents will continue to oppose this, the truth is that marriage for all will one day become a reality. It might take a long time for this to happen, and an even longer time for this to seem normal, because let’s face it, to this day even interracial and interfaith marriage continue to be looked upon suspiciously.

But I’m hopeful, very hopeful, because all of those who had one time opposed marriage for racial and religious reasons are the same forces that are currently opposing ‘marriage for all’ today; I therefore dare believe that they will have the same ‘success’ this time around.

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