May 11th, 2010

me

On the sanctity of marriage

My brother-in-law told me something on the weekend that I guess I knew but it didn't really hit home til then.

Doctors are required by law to report child abuse. If they see a child who is clearly being abused, they are required to report that to the police. But if they witness a married woman who is clearly being abused, they are required to keep the doctor-patient confidentiality and cannot report it.

I know I haven't thought all the way around this idea, it only kind of hit me on the weekend. Grown adults are responsible for the choices that they make in life. They can choose, by consent, to remain in abusive situations. Outside interference can exacerbate situations.

But what really struck me was the idea that the sanctity of an abusive marriage has more protection than is afforded, in this country, the idea of a union between two consenting, loving homosexual people. That two gay people wanting to unite and formalise their love is abhorrent and will bring down society but a guy beating down on his wife repeatedly is their business and we don't need to interfere (and is part of society that we are ok about protecting?). Why is what goes on behind the closed doors of the domestic abuse situation not our business but what goes on behind closed doors of gay people is totally ours to regulate?