I hope they know what they're getting themselves into.
I speak of same-sex couples who are hoping to marry. Longtime conservative litigator Ted Olson says it is just a matter of time before they'll be free to do so.
Olson argued successfully against California's Proposition 8 -- a ballot measure passed overwhelmingly by voters -- which banned same-sex marriage.
He argued that the measure violates the U.S. Constitution's equal protection clause in the 14th Amendment -- that, essentially, if a state sanctions a marriage contract between two human beings, a man and a woman, it cannot forbid two other human beings, a woman and a woman, from entering the same contract.
Once you take all the emotion out of it -- once you follow Olson's argument, based upon several legal precedents -- it's hard not to arrive at the same position.
The concept may conflict with your traditions and religious values -- you may find it odd for a judge to say, "I now declare you wife and wife" -- but if you follow Olson's argument, it becomes clear that a state has no legal basis for banning same-sex marriage.
At least that is the conclusion I eventually came to.
Still, I hope same-sex couples know what they're getting themselves into.
Sure, I know they want their relationships to be recognized and validated equally by society, just as heterosexual people are able to do through marriage.
I know there are lots of financial benefits that go along with marriage -- pension, health insurance and Social Security benefits -- but various forms of domestic partnerships and civil unions already cover that in many states.
I know that married people live longer than single people. There's something to be said for having a lifelong companion to support you during rough patches.
Still, are same-sex couples aware of what is to come?
While they've been eager to embrace the concept of marriage, heterosexuals have been flocking away from it in droves. Fewer of us marry anymore, and many of those who do divorce anyway.
It would appear that those who remain married are resentful. Why else do they spend every waking moment trying to pair up single people?
They target heterosexual fellows such as me and push single women at us -- oftentimes not very attractive single women -- with hopes that something will catch fire, a marriage will ensue and we will join them in their state of marital aggravation and misery.
Every six months, my own dear sweet mother gives me six months to marry or else. She calls me and says, "You have four months, six days, 12 hours and 32 minutes to get married."
I understand it's worse for single women. Their mothers, aunts and married sisters tell them their biological clocks are ticking, that they're going to turn into spinsters and end up old and lonely and die of a broken heart.
Married people can be heartless.
I just want to warn same-sex couples: You're playing with fire on this one. Throughout human history, you have enjoyed a reprieve from one of the most burdensome institutions mankind has ever created.
You better be careful what you wish for.
The way things are going, the day may very well come when most of you are married and raising children. You'll tool around in minivans, coughing from the cold your kids gave you, while you squabble with your spouse over the most insignificant of things.
While you're doing society's heavy lifting, we single heterosexuals will be at the beach -- laughing, relaxing and drinking adult beverages from glasses with little umbrellas in them.
And dodging phone calls from married people.
©2010 Tom Purcell. Tom Purcell, a freelance writer is also a humor columnist for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, and is nationally syndicated exclusively by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate. For more info contact Cari Dawson Bartley at 800 696 7561 or email [email protected]. E-mail Tom at [email protected].