But even though I think the government should have nothing to do with marriage, since it already does, it needs to at least do it fairly. Civil unions only exist in 3 states and they give far less rights than marriages. So I'd vote for anything that made civil unions equal to marriage or made the legal part of marriage gender-neutral.
But regardless, I don't think that a license or a ceremony make a marriage. Marriage is when one person decides to join their life with another in a committed, spiritually-mentally-sexually intimate relationship. There are many relationships that have never had a ceremony or a legal document that I would consider marriages.
And weddings, UGH. I hate traditional heterosexual weddings, they're so freaking misogynistic. The woman wears white to represent her 'purity,' while the man wears what-the-hell-ever because HE doesn't need to be pure. HIS sexuality does not exist for the sole purpose of pleasing his spouse. She walks down the aisle while he waits at the altar for her to be given to him -- he does not meet her halfway, she does ALL the work. She wears a veil on the way up to symbolize her lack of personhood -- she does not become a person until her husband legitimizes her by marrying her. Until then, she's just a body. Also, she's given away by her father to her husband, because she must of course be owned by a man at all times: this is just a business transaction with flowers. And this is supposed to be the happiest day of her life -- it's the day a man proves her worth by 'tying himself down' to her. There aren't any phrases that describe a woman losing her freedom to a man, which is what really happens, but in a ridiculous reversal, the woman is described as 'the ball and chain' (again, with the lack of personhood), 'my old lady', 'the missus' (as if women are masters of men), 'the boss', etc. Also, a woman usually wears a corset or some other restrictive undergarment, restricting her breathing and squishing her innards, because women need to be controlled, and they are not allowed to indulge themselves -- all the good parts of a meal must go to the man, and her body should reflect that. And the final, most disgusting thing of all is that at the end, the speaker says 'you may now kiss the bride' -- because sex is properly done when a man is the instigator and the woman is passive. She does not show desire, but passively allows herself to be used for the pleasure of the man. And the phrasing! 'You (person) may now kiss the bride (thing)'! Then afterwards, society tells women that their status depends on whether or not a man has legitimized them -- Ms. Mrs. Miss. Men have the same title regardless of marital status. Don't even get me started on the practice of 'Mrs. HUSBAND'S NAME.' Last name is bad enough! The practice of a woman taking her husband's name is more proof that she has been sold from her father-owner to her husband-owner. (the second Ben and I can decide on a surname and afford the legal fees we're both changing our last names -- we do want to have matching surnames to symbolize our family unit, but we want them to represent US)
And women buy into this. In high school, girls wear their boyfriend's class ring or jacket, to prove that they have worth. Many don't realize that their desperate desire for a boyfriend has little to do with romance and much more to do with feeling worthy. Worthy of love, worthy of notice, worthy of personhood. If a woman felt like a whole person, instead of a decorative item in need of a human (male) arm to rest upon, she wouldn't feel like she needs a man at all times, and would not settle for one who treats her like shit. She also might realize that perhaps she doesn't even want a man, but rather a woman. And vice versa -- if a man wasn't expected to find a decoration, but instead an equal partner, he would not look for the 'prettiest' or most 'feminine', but instead for the person who matched him best -- and he might just find that that person is male. ((In a later post I want to go deeper into how I believe sexism is the root of heterosexism (aka homophobia). This one is long enough))
DISCLAIMER: I didn't write this because of anger against MEN. I wrote it out of anger against SOCIETY at LARGE, because both men and women are responsible for sexism. Some of the most sexist people I have ever met have been women. Societal habits are set up in a way that keeps men in the position of oppressor and women in the position of oppressed (not to mention those who don't fall neatly in a category). And that is hurtful to ALL people.