Jonathan Edwards, Tiger Woods, and Prop 8

Jonathan Edwards and Tiger Woods. Those two names don’t make me think about health care or golf. Instead, especially when mentioned in the same sentence, they bring to mind words like infidelity and lies. Let’s not be fooled. Playing a great round of 18 holes doesn’t make you a moral man and neither does running for office. Edwards and Woods made vows to be faithful to their wives, not to me. So it’s weird that I feel cheated and disappointed (but not at all surprised). We’ve come to expect and perhaps accept that married men stray. Cheating isn’t like tripping over a curb. You don’t “slip up.” No one’s pants breakaway like they do in some TV comic pratfall. You don’t “fall” into bed. It’s action and decision. Just like marriage.

Marriage is essentially a legal vow to be each other’s one and only. And, it doesn’t mean one and only Scrabble partner or bill-paying buddy. When you get down to it, what essentially separates “lovers” from “spouses” is a formal agreement to be sole sexual partners, until death do us part. That’s the biggest distinguishing factor. After all, your best friend can be a lifetime companion for you, emotionally and financially. And a lover might say forever, but those are just words and only words when there is a legal option available to show you “really mean it” and sign on the dotted line.

For 2.5 weeks now, the courts have listened to testimony to decide whether or not to overturn Prop 8, the proposition banning gay marriage. No matter where you sit on the fence, gay, straight, married, or single, you have to admit that marriage has been cheapened by public infidelities and a 50% divorce rate. Still, gay people in this country are fighting for the right to marry. Maybe there’s something better, a step above marriage they should be legalizing for their relationships instead. After all, if you want to learn to be a great golfer, emulate Tiger Woods. But if you want a lifetime commitment, why not aim higher?

One Reply to “Jonathan Edwards, Tiger Woods, and Prop 8”

  1. EAB

    Hear, hear. Why co-opt a model that doesn’t promise to fairly serve or accept…& never really did. There has to be a higher standard, not taken for granted. I sometimes wonder why couples even knock on the door for access to a retreat that is, and ever was, designed to reject them on all fronts. It seems debasing to crave that particular brand of acceptance. Committed families and couples should be able to forge a declared place in society on the same merits of their contribution to communal efforts, as any religious sanctioned joining. Those institutions can claim a higher ground, and a value-added ceremony if they like. A community is made more whole for every couple who makes an earnest commitment, ceremonial or not. Recognizing that contribution if only in a temporal way seems only fair. Someday civil society may see that. Who is it that divides the cares of life and multiplies the good they can do? Who is it that decreases practical costs to general society by making a stable home? Who has the potential to be caregivers to those in need around them? Who fosters neighborhoods that live and breathe?Committed couples, that’s who. Not just couples sanctioned by religious institution. Not just couples who have gone through a civil ceremony. The compact between two people lives, even before a contractual or ceremonial action takes place, if it ever does.

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