The conservatives are absolutely right. Marriage in this country is a mess. In the last 30 years, marriage has become one of a menu of options rather than the standard, and marriages are not taken seriously. People divorce a lot, make pre-nuptial agreements in preparation for divorce, re-marry, re-divorce, and pretty much treat the former sacrament as they would an apartment lease.
Marriage is, in fact, under attack. The trouble is, they have the wrong target. For inexplicable reasons my fellow Americans have chosen as their enemy homosexuals wishing to marry. Apparently the tolerance of these unions is corroding the entire institution.
Piffle. The problem is divorce. Easy, painless no-fault divorces and remarriages debase the currency of a sacrament. Who values a contract you can tear up with $100 and an hour with an attorney?
So, if we are to protect marriage from the destructive influence of convenience, it’s obvious what’s needed: A constitutional amendment forbidding divorce. Leave your mate if you wish, but you’re still married in my America. We have a standard to uphold here.
Some people may find this draconian, and it could be a hard sell. There’s a second less preferable option: A constitutional amendment barring re-marriage. If your marriage is so horrible that you can’t stand it one more minute, it can be dissolved. But that was your chance. We can’t have people abusing the seriousness of the institution.
If there’s squawking and whining about this one too, and it’s not politically practical, there’s only one other possibility. Marriages must be made painfully expensive after divorce. Perhaps $10,000 for a second marriage, $100,000 for a third, and $1 million for any afterwards. If there’s no other way to get our citizens to understand the power of marriage, money may have to do.
I know some of you are going to say that this is unreasonable, unworkable, and an unnecessary intervention of government in a deeply personal matter. There are going to be complaints of interference in religious belief as well. But if you ask your government to help you defend marriage as an institution, we’re going to have to do that the best and most equitable way for everyone.
The alternative would be to let people decide what marriage means on their own and just approve and record the union. But I guess you didn’t want that, did you?