Marriage != Marriage

The nation is raging about gay marriage this week, and just about everyone is all worked up over what I see as merely, ironically enough, homonyms/homographs.

Part of our society believes that marriage is a covenant before God, between a man and a woman, and was instituted at the beginning of human history. I am going to lose a bunch of you at this point when I say that I believe this, but please read on, for a little bit longer, I might just surprise you.

Another part of our society believes that marriage is a contract between two consenting adults and the government, and is defined by the government. I believe this as well. And now I have just lost the rest of my readers…

If you are still here, you are hopefully asking, “How does that work, aren’t they are conflicting opinions?!?!”

Well since you asked, I do not believe they are, and here is why…

The fundamental problem is that marriage is both of these things, or rather I should say that marriage-a is the first, and marriage-b is the second, but marriage-a is not the same as marriage-b. At some point in the past, marriage-a was always entered into at the same time as marriage-b, and the two became associated so closely that they became the same thing, for at that point in time they were compatible, and there was no issue.

The problem is that now marriage-a and marriage-b are no longer the same thing, but we have not been able to comprehend that they are not the same thing. One group is shouting that we need to change marriage to allow for the two adults to be of the same gender, and another group is shouting that marriage cannot be changed, it is defined by God as between a man and woman. If we can all understand that we are arguing about different things, and remove the association between the two things, I think we will all be able to un-wad our panties, at least about this.

I see marriage-a as defined by a religion (term used very loosely here), and as such has many definitions, including conflicting ones. However, if the marriage is only relevant within the context of the religion, it really does not matter much whether the definitions differ, since those adherents of religion-a should only really be concerned with how marriage is defined in religion-a, and how marriage is defined in religion-b only affects those who are adherents of religion-b.

Likewise, if we can limit marriage-b to the governmental realm, it is free to be defined by the government as it so desires, and since the definition only matters insofar as it affects the interactions between the government and the parties involved, and it does not have any bearing on the definitions of marriage-a, then we should not have any problem.

Thus two consenting adults are free to participate, or not, in the the governmental definition of marriage, such as the people of the governed country have determined it should be defined. Those two same people are also free to participate, or not, in the marriage as defined by the religion, or not, of their choice. The two institutions of marriage need not be entered into at the same time, and they are most definitely not entered into for the same purpose.

All those who have chosen to enter into the governmental institution of marriage should be treated equally insofar as the it affects the interactions with the government. Not an exclusive list by any means, but this should apply to tax status, ability to legally co-own property, participate in shared health care plans, be able to make decisions about their partner’s health care when that partner is not able to do so themselves, etc.

Likewise, all religions should be free to have their own definition of marriage, and it would only affect those who are adherents of that religion, and thus affects no one else. Separation of church and state is just as much, if not more so, to protect the church and religious freedom from the state, as it is to protect the state from the church.

It all comes down to words, but our society has so far been able to deal with the word “fair” meaning both a place to get ripped off by carnies, and something that is just and equitable, I think we should be able to deal with marriage having two different meanings as well.

New look for the site

Last year I put some work into moving our personal site off of a Python code base running on Apache to a Java/Wicket/Hibernate code base running on Tomcat, and I finally got around to getting it on the live site today.

I made the change for a couple of reasons. The first was that I was going to be moving to a new position at Cisco, which was using Java/Wicket/Hibernate, but the move was not going to happen for a couple of months, and I wanted to ramp up early on the technologies, so what better way than to re-write our site from the ground up – jump in the deep end as it were.

The second reason was that while I like Python, it really is more of a scripting language than something that is good for writing applications in, and it does not encourage you to maintain good code hygiene, and thus I had let the code become something of a tangled mess that was hard to make changes to unless I was in it pretty often. I think I have structured my code a bit better with the new site, so I should be able to come back to it in 6 months and make some changes without trying to figure out what moron wrote the code and why he did it the way that he did 😉

Third but not last, the newer technologies are going to make it easier to add dynamic content to the pages that do exist, without doing complete overhauls of the pages. Hence the links to current blog and twitter posts from the front page.

Hope you like the new look!

for Grandma

My Grandma passed on this week.

She was one of the most Godly, loving, kind people that I have known, I think that everyone who has met her has had their lives made a little bit better. This all sounds quite trite, but in her case, it really was true.

She will be missed tremendously, yet we know that she is in Heaven, reunited with Grandpa at last. She would never say it as she would not want anyone to feel any less loved, but I always had the feeling ever since Grandpa passed on that she was ready to go. She missed Grandpa horribly, and I am so glad that she is with him again.

In a world that is sadly lacking in heroes and role models, my Grandma was both. She persevered through the trials of life, from losing her own mother at a very early age, to having to be a single mother for the first two years of my dads life while my Grandpa was serving our country during the war. The way that she lived her life as a follower of Christ, and confident of God’s grace, is an inspiration to me, and I am sure to others.

I remember being deeply thankful for my Grandma and Grandpa’s devotion to each other – a fiftieth wedding anniversary is an uncommon thing, and their faithfulness to each other and to their vows before God is still an inspiration to me for my own marriage. I certainly hope and pray that my wife and I can follow in their footsteps and grow closer and be more in love with each other as the years go by.

Happy Independence Day

It has been said that those who control the language control the future. I have been trying for years now to take back a little corner of the language, by wishing people a “Happy Independence Day”, rather than “Happy Fourth”, or “Happy Fourth of July”. Especially when someone wishes me a “Happy Fourth”, I make sure to respond with a “Happy Independence Day!”

Join me in bringing back meaning to the day – it is not just the fourth day of the seventh month people, it is our country’s birthday!

Purell invasion

Suddenly these oversized Purell dispensers are everywhere at work – at the elevators, anywhere there are more than a few light switches. We are all eventually going to die off because our immune systems will have become so weak from disuse they will not be able to fight off anything…