Now that homosexual relationships are winning legal, binding status, some people are calling for similar laws ratifying friendship:
Now, a number of scholars are seeking to shore up friendship in a surprising way: by granting it legal recognition. Some of the rights and privileges restricted to family, they argue, should be given to friends. These could be invoked on a case-by-case basis – eligibility to take time off to care for a sick friend under an equivalent of the Family and Medical Leave Act, for example. Or they could take the form of an official legal arrangement between two friends, designating a bundle of mutual rights and privileges – literally “friends with benefits,” as Laura Rosenbury, a law professor at Washington University, puts it. One scholar even suggests giving friends standing in the tax code, allowing taxpayers to write off certain “friend expenditures.”
Such changes, proponents say, could contribute to a shift in how our society values personal relationships. In part, they say, the point is to acknowledge that society has already changed: as more people are living outside of marriage, friendships have become the primary relationships on which many Americans rely. But a broader aim is to recognize the universal social and psychological benefits of friendship, which rival those of other relationships, notably marriage, that receive active state support. New laws could elevate friendship’s status, recasting it as an essential part of our lives, rather than a luxury often sacrificed to other priorities.
Changes of this kind would “allow you to say, these are people who matter deeply to me,” said Rachel Moran, a law professor at the University of California at Berkeley who is one of the thinkers in favor of friendship law. “I want that to count, not only in my own intimate life, but in the eyes of the law.”
That’s all single people need! It’s hard enough to find someone to marry. Think of the agony of rejection when you can’t even find a friend willing to commit to you. Notice also how this ties into the deconstruction of marriage into its component parts that we blogged about recently.
This is also a creepy manifestation of the revived religion of the state, in which some people really do want the government to ratify, control, and regulate EVERYTHING. That is, to become “totalitarian”; from the word “total.”
HT: Motte Brown at Boundless