[Marxism] Letter to a local newspaper on gay marriage

Jurriaan Bendien andromeda246 at hetnet.nl
Fri May 28 07:25:34 MDT 2004

I take a different view - why shouldn't it be possible for all different
forms of personal relationships that people actually have to be legally
recognised and validated under the law ? Think of it this way - in business
you can make a great variety of different legal contracts specifying rights
and duties with respect to commodities, money, property assets and capital.
Which should what applies to the reign of capital, not apply to the reign of
people ?

For people in different life situations, legal recognition can have real
personal and social benefits. Here in Holland, you can have heterosexual
marriage, same-sex marriage, living-together contracts, etc. which can
affect your taxes, property ownership, rights to the custody of children,
and income. It is not just that the government has no business to interfere
in people's relationships and sex lives, provided they respect civil norms
and duties, but also that if people want to have specific living
arrangements, human experience shows they will have them, regardless of
whether they are legal or not legal. At most, the law can ensure that those
relationships are operated in a responsible way, which honour civil
obligations, and the law can attach consequences to them, which reflect
accepted social norms and customs.

Personally I am not against marriage, I aim to do it with a woman at some
stage, but the point is, I personally would do it only for love, and no
other consideration. I consider that this is the only proper meaning of
marriage. A lot of the problems that arise in regard to marriage are due to
the fact that there is no other way for people to live together, or be
together, other than through marriage, or no other way to survive or have
social recognition, but if a variety of relationship contracts are possible,
it would be easier to specify clearly what the obligations and
responsibilities are ("what sort of relationship it is") and make the full
variety of relationships that people actually want to have in terms of
living arrangements, personal property, children and income, possible.

This view of relationship law emphasises the jurisprudential principle that
the law should facilitate the real relationships people want to have and do
have, and ensure that they are conducted in a responsible way, without
forcing the nature of relationships that people can have and will have
anyhow. It is not that the law should prevent non-abusive relationships from
happening, but instead specify that if you have such-and-such a
relationship, then you must honour the rights and obligations which that
involves, as citizens. If that is the norm in business, I don't see why it
shouldn't apply to personal relationships.

If there is a real fraud in bourgeois society, it is that whereas it
emphasised the sanctity of private property and the right to information
privacy ("business secrets" and so on), nevertheless in practice people's
formal civil and human rights are constantly violated through intrusions and
inspections. This amounts to trying to force people into a specific mode of
behaviour of development which goes well beyond setting limits for socially
acceptable behaviour, which adds to the health problems people have, instead
of making people healthier, more responsible and more autonomous.


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