Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Til Death

October 28, 2009

A headline caught my eye yesterday that stopped me in my tracks. According to my morning newscast, there is a Californian who is pushing to get a measure on the 2010 ballot that would ban divorce. Mind you, I am not a big fan of divorce; I don't know anyone who is. However, I do know that there are circumstances under which divorce is warranted--necessary, even. I was appalled that there was a proposal on the table to take away this option.

Naturally, I did a little research. It bothers me tremendously when people catch a sound byte or a snippet of information and run wild with assumptions. So I checked it out. I did a little reading, including perusing interviews and this man's own website, and it's pretty clear that this satirist, John Marcotte, is poking fun at the recent battle ground that was (and is) Proposition 8, the recent bid to overturn the legality of gay marriage. According to him, he feels that Prop 8 didn't go far enough in 'protecting marriage,' so the logical step is to take it one step further and 'rescue marriage' by banning divorce altogether. The t-shirt promoting his cause has a picture of a wedded couple, bound by chains. The t-shirt's caption reads, "You said, 'Til Death Do Us Part.' You're not dead yet."

Okay, I get the joke. It's funny, really. Funny, that is, unless people miss the satire and begin to take him seriously. Believe me, there is that danger. I mean, the news reported it as a serious effort to get backing for his cause. There is, in fact, an actual proposal to get it on the ballot. And I can see people, steadfast in their earnest belief that marriage is a sacred, unbreakable bond, flocking toward the cause, some in all sincerity, some in smug superiority of their own successful marriages.

I don't take marriage lightly. I, too, believe that it is a sacred bond. I know very few people who take that step thinking of that marriage as a temporary state. No one goes into a marriage planning for its eventual demise. And yet, circumstances sometimes change lives so dramatically that a divorce is ultimately a legal way to pronounce what has, in fact, already occurred--that two people have gone down such different paths away from each other that it is impossible (or at the very least, not desirable) to find a common path once again. Then there are other circumstances, even more dramatic and potentially harmful which sometimes lead to divorce, and rightfully so--physical or emotional abuse, alcohol and drug addiction, habitual deceit, or abandonment.

Marcotte has done his job. He's gotten his name out there, and careful readers will see his satirical viewpoint. However, in a society not known for its careful reading or attention to detail, I worry that he will indeed have started the ball rolling toward giving Californians the dubious distinction of not only being a state to ban marriage between two loving human beings, but to also to enforce a continued union of those who no longer wish to be joined.


  1. Wow.

    That's really intersting and a bit scary.

    I'm not a fan of divorce, but I think a ban would just keep people from wanting to get married. It's is kinda funny, as long as nobody takes it too seriously.

  2. It's far too hard to get divorced. It should be equally as hard to get married. You've got to really want it. That's why gay marriages should be the best, because they are working so hard to get it.

  3. I think it would be very hard to miss the sarcasm involved in this petition and website. I ordered one of the t-shirts for my hubby for Christmas - and I know he'll understand the black humor behind the message - and also that we support gay marriage as well. Why should heterosexual marriages be the only ones to suffer? Let all partake and suffer! ;-)

  4. This reminds me of my own satirical essay that I wrote in class, eh?

  5. It is sad that people would actually jump on the bandwagon without getting the humor. Sad but true. Thought provoking post, Donna.