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« Lesson of the Day | Main | Gay Marriage the Second »

March 18, 2004

Gay Marriage the First: Standing Ground

being a Rambling and Annotated Screed of some Length and in Multiple Portions. this Being part I of a Projected Three, on the Efficacy of Gay Marriage intitiatives, whether Pro or Counter


Jon'n. Darby, late of Weokahatchee

A frustrating thing about the gay marriage debate is the number of people who defend marriage as a spiritual union in one breath only to reduce it to the purely biological with the next. More frustrating still is that they see no inconsistency. "Marriage is a sacred institution created by God"; they argue, "and its purpose is for having children." It must be defended, don't you see, for two men or two women can't make babies- it's a scientific fact. (That a high percentage of people who make this argument have no trouble believing that humans can be manufactured from dirt or ribs, that 90 year old women can have healthy babies and virgins can give birth to demigods makes it even more an absurdist's dream.)

When confronted with the unarguable facts that countless heterosexual couples marry every year with no intentions, often without even the ability, to reproduce, it doesn't faze the people making the statement. Penile-vaginal sex is just intrinsically holier and ultimately marriage is about hetero-sex and babies, even when it's not (just as homosexuality is unnatural, regardless of how often it occurs in nature).

Personally I think any woman would do better to die a spinster than to marry a man who sees her as a device to carry a uterus from place to place, but to each his own (unless his own is a he).

I was asked recently why I care whether gay marriage is legalized or not. After all, it really won't affect my life in the slightest now or in the foreseeable future; I'm not in a committed relationship and in fact I haven’t even had a date since before Gore was elected. I would much prefer to see all of the sound and fury surrounding the issue focused on passing federal anti-discrimination legislation that would protect competent gay employees from being fired solely due to their orientation.

Further, I’ve argued for years that if activists truly want to succeed in gaining the same rights for committed gay couples that are currently available to committed straight couples then they should stop calling it gay marriage. The word marriage carries more baggage than Paris Hilton's bellboy, besides which it’s not even what gays are seeking: they can already get married in any church that will let them. It is the rights afforded by the state that they seek: inheritance of pensions, health benefits, the right to visit ailing partners in hospital without the consent of blood relatives, automatic power of attorney when necessary, the right to file taxes jointly, facilitation of resident alien status should they fall in love with a non-American citizen, etc. etc. etc..

Whether they have the blessings of the church is up to the church. The Federal government can no more require the Baptist church to recognize gay couples as on par with heterosexual couples than it can order the Catholic Church to allow their priests or divorcees to marry within its sanctuary (though the same priests and divorcees can most certainly marry down the street at the City Hall with no moral judgment or required pledge that they’re going to reproduce). We are talking strictly about the renderings of Cæsar, not the renderings of God- our souls we’ll worry about ourselves. That should not be hard to understand.

For the reasons above, I’ve argued for years that they should call it domestic partnership registration (or something like it) rather than marriage and word it in such a way that it has the same rights as marriage but is also open to eligible straight couples. (To paraphrase Lazarus Long, you’ll get much farther appealing to peoples’s self interests than to their ration or better natures.) Frankly, I still think from a purely political standpoint it’s a better idea than gay marriage.

However, it’s not just gay activists who call it gay marriage; straight activists and the media insist on doing so as well. So semantics be damned; gay marriage it is, pure and simple.

That said, I am 100% in favor of gay marriage now and it is completely a matter of principal. I became an advocate the moment valiant Dubya (1st Lt., AWOL division, retired) proposed his asinine amendment to the Constitution, the first to deal with public morality since the overwhelming success of Prohibition. The line is drawn- the battlefield is to be the swampy ground of gay marriage. I’d rather the battle take place on the plains of domestic partnership or better yet on the fields of anti-discrimination legislation, but it’s not, so to borrow Captain John Parker’s speech from Lexington:

Stand your ground, don’t fire unless fired upon, but if they mean to have a war, let it begin here.

Dubya shot and the blast knocked many moderates off the fence. That a lying pandering fish-brained deficit-loving hypocrite could or would ignore so many other more pressing matters and propose an AMENDMENT TO THE CONSTITUTION to deliberately override the rights of states to determine their own marriage laws strictly so that he can dehumanize gays for the benefit of people so convinced that a manic-depressive desert sky-god cares what consenting adults may or may not do with their ding-dongs that it determines who they’ll vote for is, in a word, nauseous, and affects the rights of all Americans whether they realize it or not.

And speaking of things that are nauseous (a word used here in its proper context, incidentally), check out this article. It will be the subject of the almost immediately to follow second portion of this multiposting.


Posted by Jon at 03:01 PM