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A Sit-In at the Altar?

It seems that some heterosexual couples are refusing to get married, claiming that it would be unjust to marry while same-sex couples are “denied” the same right.

The New York Times reports that the protest is spreading among some young couples. “Whether it makes sense or not, some heterosexual couples, mostly in their in 20s and 30s, are protesting the inability of gay and lesbian couples to marry by putting off their own marriage. Unless wedded bliss is available to everyone, in every state, they say, they want no part of it.”

The “whether it makes sense or not” part of that statement is really important. Even some of their friends and family members aren’t buying it. And it’s not as though they have taken a vow of celibacy.

Consider this couple:

Some of those delaying marriage are cynical types who seem happy to stick it out. They think the idea of marriage is antiquated and want to be tied to a spouse as much they might want to move in with the in-laws after the honeymoon.

“I didn’t have the wedding fantasies some little girls have,” said Sarah Augusto, 25, a sociology graduate student in Davis, Calif., who has been committed to Jon Bell, 26, a museum exhibit designer, since college graduation three years ago.

But some honestly wish they would walk the aisle, Mr. Bell for one. “Sarah has changed the way I thought about things a ton,” he said. “I was really excited about getting married. Going into high school that was the goal, to meet a nice girl and get married to her.”

This young man’s problem seems to have more to do with his girlfriend than with marriage law.

Reporter Kayleen Schaefer suggests that celebrities Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie gave the idea momentum when they refused to marry, citing the illegal status of same-sex marriage as the cause. “Angie and I will consider tying the knot when everyone else in this country who wants to be married is legally able.” That “everyone else” is an incredibly expansive category, to say the least.

Interestingly enough, the Times covered this story in the paper’s “Fashion & Style” section — a fact that indicates something of the seriousness of the issue.

The young have often looked for an avenue of protest. The couples cited in this article, for one reason or another, have decided to make a statement about marriage by tying their own decision not to marry to the same-sex marriage controversy.

Their logic will not hold. Same-sex couples are not being “denied” a right. They are being denied the right to redefine marriage.

Should we look into the future, when same-sex marriage might hypothetically be legal, and see the day when same-sex couples similarly “refuse” to get married until “everyone else” has the same “right?”