Marriage is hard work.
In a way, it’s amazing that the institution has lasted in its current form as long as it has. Socially, we’ve changed so much that the purpose of marriage is different now than it used to be. I am three days away from my eighth wedding anniversary, and each and every one of those years has been worthwhile, but difficult. The stresses of career and parenting and money and everything else can take a real toll on both parties in any marriage.
When you add in the difficulties of prejudice and hatred from the outside, it’s got to be damn near insurmountable. And over the last few years, it’s been a hotly debated topic around the country thanks to the efforts by many to make marriage legal for gay couples. In California, we gave those couples that right before Proposition 8 took it away again.
And, yes, I know that voters were part of passing Proposition 8, but anyone who thinks the system wasn’t gamed on that particular proposition isn’t paying attention. It’s a fairly easy system to manipulate, especially when you’re selling fear and hatred, which unfortunately is still a fairly easy thing to use to mobilize voters.
Right now, work is underway to get Proposition 8 reversed, and I’m impressed by the various efforts being made to win hearts and minds. I personally will never understand why anyone would try to deny someone else the right to be married to whoever they love, and I think we’ll look back at this particular scuffle over a fairly fundamental civil right and be embarrassed at some point, sooner rather than later.
For now, though, it’s a very real and significant struggle, and I think the following short film, made as part of a particularly savvy campaign, makes a wonderful point:
I’ve said this before, but the campaign they’re running right now makes the point explicit. People keep talking about how radically marriage will change if we allow same-sex couples to be married, but that’s nonsense. Marriage is marriage, and anyone who wants to wade in and deal with the difficulties of it should be welcome to try. When people say the divorce rate would change or that there would be some sort of landslide of depravity as a result, it’s just crazy. Marriage hasn’t been “sacred” for a long time, and it’s not about religion anymore. The moment it became a legal contract, it stopped being a religious sacrament, and it’s my opinion that the churches in this country shouldn’t have any say in this debate at all. Yes, they should be allowed to say what they will or won’t sanction within their own faith, but they shouldn’t have any say at all about what contracts are or aren’t allowed for the rest of us.
Hats off to Mike White and Justin Long for their work here and to Josh Gordon and Will Speck for writing and directing it. I’m very curious to see how this one’s going to play out later this year.
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