Monday, January 3, 2005

Thanks to a lot of gay people who don’t know when they have it good, there is a controversy raging in America over who has the right to get married. At times, it must appear to the young women of this nation that the only men who are eager to tie the knot are homosexuals.

I happen to be of two minds on the issue. On the one hand, I am a traditionalist. I believe in marriage between a man and a woman. Yet, honesty dictates that I confess to having been thrice-married. So, in my case at least, it’s been a man and three women.

A strong argument in favor of gay unions is that it would benefit the economy. More marriages means more engagement rings, wedding gifts, bachelor dinners, floral bouquets and, inevitably, more work for divorce attorneys.

As someone with strong libertarian leanings, I don’t really care what anybody does so long as it doesn’t infringe on my freedoms or my satellite reception. So if two men decide they want to pledge their troth, I figure it’s none of my business, so long as I don’t have to dance with the bride.

The only problem I really foresee is that once you open the door to state-sanctioned unions between two consenting adults, on what basis do you ban marriages between brother and sister, or brother and brother? What logical argument can you then make against joining father and daughter, or mother and son? Is anybody seriously going to argue that the integrity of the gene pool mustn’t be tainted by such unnatural couplings? All you have to do is tune in the Jerry Springer Show to realize that it’s way too late to slam that particular barn door.

Some people would argue that same-sex marriages should be illegal because the singular purpose of marriage is the creation of children. If that were the case, you would next have to outlaw unions between people in their sixties and seventies, and between younger couples who have no wish to propagate the species.

As you see, it is next to impossible to define exactly what constitutes or should constitute a marriage. To those on either side who insist that the sole determining factor should be the desire to commit to a lifelong union, I can only say, “Hold on! Not so darn fast!” God knows I hate to be a wet blanket. But I’m not so sure I’m all that anxious for the state of California to give its official blessing to that very special loving relationship that exists between my dog Duke and my right leg.

Burt Prelutsky is an award-winning TV writer. His TV movie credits are “Aunt Mary,” “Homeward Bound,” “A Small Killing,” “Hobson’s Choice” and “A Winner Never Quits: The Pete Gray Story.” Television writing credits include MASH, The Bob Newhart Show, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Dragnet, McMillan & Wife, Family Ties, Diagnosis Murder, Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman and Rhoda.

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