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Gay Marriage Battles Rage Across The U.S.
And the comments fly on the BBC. Here's one from the article, from a lesbian woman who married in Oregon, then had her marriage struck down:

Li said: "I am a mixed race person - and my parents married before the courts across America had struck down all the remaining barriers to mixed race couples. Today, no-one would deny mixed race couples the right to marry.

"Same sex marriage is the civil rights issue of our time."

And it seems (western) voices outside the Theocratic States Of America are much more reasonable. Here are a few of the reader comments below the BBC piece:

People who reject same sex marriage fear an erosion of heterosexual relationships. However, insecurity is not a valid reason to prevent couples gaining the rights that heterosexual people enjoy. There is no moral issue here; mankind has and continues to put words into God's mouth to voice their insecurities, and it is time they accepted other humans' civil rights, ie where everyone can enjoy the benefits in which others currently hold a monopoly. We live in the real world, not in their belief system. Mark, Southampton

Only people who are truly insecure with their own faith and beliefs feel threatened by others believing or doing differently. I have my own faith and ideas, I feel very secure with them, and so why should I care what others do, as long as it doesn't hurt anyone?
Anje, Cologne Germany

As a male, twice divorced; for all the religous overtone cast upon it, marriage and the civil rights attached to it have more to do with property rights then with the moral fabric of society. If two people love, create a household, contribute to society, and succeed at a life long commitment - more power to them. We are all God's creatures for those who live a spiritual life and we are all equal for those who live a secular life.
Peter, Edmonton, Alberta Canada

There are two separate questions here. The first is should the state allow same sex couple to marry. The second is should the church allow same sex couples to marry. I don't think that the church should have any say in the state's decision nor the state in the church's. Especially not in America where they claim to have a separation of church and state. I think that a civil marriage between any two people should be allowed regardless of race, gender etc. On a civil level it is a question of equal rights. The church however should have every right to say that it won't marry same sex couples in a religious ceremony and the state should have no say in the matter.
Roz, Munich, Germany (British ex-pat)

This calls to mind a piece by Michael Kinsley I read a while back, suggesting that the state shouldn't be in the marriage business at all -- which is my contention as well. Kinsley writes:

That solution is to end the institution of marriage. Or rather (he hastens to clarify, Dear) the solution is to end the institution of government-sanctioned marriage. Or, framed to appeal to conservatives: End the government monopoly on marriage. Wait, I've got it: Privatize marriage. These slogans all mean the same thing. Let churches and other religious institutions continue to offer marriage ceremonies. Let department stores and casinos get into the act if they want. Let each organization decide for itself what kinds of couples it wants to offer marriage to. Let couples celebrate their union in any way they choose and consider themselves married whenever they want. Let others be free to consider them not married, under rules these others may prefer. And, yes, if three people want to get married, or one person wants to marry herself, and someone else wants to conduct a ceremony and declare them married, let 'em. If you and your government aren't implicated, what do you care?

Posted by aalkon at April 23, 2005 8:38 AM

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Comments

This is a fun argument. Game on! Hoist the colors!

Posted by: Crid at April 23, 2005 1:17 AM

The british ex-pat from Germany largely summed up my argument for the US gov to fully recognize gay joined couples on the same grounds as straight joined (married) couples. I would go a step farther and rename civil marriage to civil union for all so people don't get confused about why gay's should be able to 'unionize.' Purely economic reasons and to make court cases less confusing when dealing with communal property of ex-life-partners.

Crid, I've already had this argument with you. I would've linked to it to save on redundance, but it's no longer archived.

Posted by: Little ted at April 23, 2005 2:03 AM

One issue is that "privatizing" marriage won't completely get the government out of the picture unless you also "privatize" divorce. And somehow I just don't see the government letting go of control over child support requirements . . . .

Posted by: JenL at April 23, 2005 7:16 AM

But that's a different issue. Child support is not tied to marriage, not at all. Your penis or vagina made it, you've got to pay for it.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at April 23, 2005 7:59 AM

By the way, I've always found it wrong that it's illegal for more than two people to marry, or a brother and sister to marry.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at April 23, 2005 8:10 AM

JenL: Good point!

Posted by: Crid at April 23, 2005 8:38 AM

Hi Jen !


>>And somehow I just don't see the government

>>letting go of control over child support requirements . . .


Or public health: what about testing for STDs and HIV ? That's usually done at marriage time, no ?


Unless nowadays the US gov't (I use the term to include both Federal and State) is planning on carrying out such tests when one's driver's license or passport is renewed, or when one registers to vote (in a Republican-controlled district ?), or when one registers for unemployment benefits, or something on that order.



L'Amerloque

Posted by: L'Amerloque at April 23, 2005 9:29 AM

A fun argument, Crid? The only thing I remember about your argument is "What can gay marriage do for society?" Then when the question gets answered, you pretend not to hear it, and you keep right on asking it.

Your idea of fun? I bet you were the type of kid to stick his fingers in his ears and go "Lalalalalalalalala..." to drown people out.

Posted by: Patrick, The Goddess Fan at April 23, 2005 3:56 PM

From the beginning, the tribe has held its members responsible for carrying out the duties of the tribe. Today, laws, based on British common law for the most part, do the same, tracking the rights and privileges of inheritance by state recordkeeping.

If the state is taken out of the marriage business, just how do you intend for the law to operate to see that you inherit the things which belong to your family?

Posted by: Radwaste at April 23, 2005 4:27 PM

Why can't your family be whomever the hell you want it to be?

Posted by: Amy Alkon at April 23, 2005 7:26 PM

Biology.

Posted by: Cridland at April 23, 2005 7:53 PM

Biology, eh? Well, I was adopted at birth. Does that mean my family aren't the people who raised and loved me?

I'm not saying biology doesn't matter, but I maintain that I also have the right to choose who I consider "family".

Posted by: Kimberly at April 24, 2005 1:40 AM

Exactly! Great point, Kimberly. Good to see you back.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at April 24, 2005 1:53 AM

> I'm not saying biology doesn't matter, but
> I maintain that I also have the right to
> choose who I consider "family".

The boomer generation and their weaker-willed successors --drenched in consumer fulfillment, medical advance, and relative isolation from real dangers-- have developed some unhealthy fascinations. These include empowerment, expression, unity, and choice. That last one is our topic of the moment, and don't hold the list against me, this is improv.

The short answer to your point goes OK fine, but no more tears over deadbeat Dads and incompetent crackhead Moms, allright? Because they've merely "exercised their right to choose who they consider 'family'."

We have responsibilities to each other, and we don't get to pick 'em.

Posted by: Crid at April 24, 2005 9:51 AM

You're right about child support not being tied to marriage, of course. I'd originally been thinking about things like the property settlement portion of a divorce, then drifted.

While I fully support getting government out of the marriage business, I wonder whether those who chose a non-government, non-standard marriage are still going to ask the courts to handle disputes about who gets to keep the house after marriage. Seems to me, you'd almost have to say "the government didn't help you create this condition, and it won't help you undo it," but since when has any government ever declined to meddle?

Posted by: JenL at April 24, 2005 12:01 PM

Well, people should also go into a marriage realistically -- with provisions for division of assets if it ends. That said, I think, in my experience, asking people to behave according to common sense is far too much.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at April 24, 2005 12:21 PM

> asking people to behave according to common
> sense is far too much.

Exactly, hence we have legal certification of marriage.

Posted by: Crid at April 24, 2005 1:05 PM

Thanks, Crid, for making my previous argument for me: Exactly why gay people need it as much as straight people, as long as it's the standard by which legal affairs are decided!

Posted by: Amy Alkon at April 24, 2005 1:07 PM

Huh? Legal standards don't fall out of the wind and treat everyone equally, like the weather. They get put there to further certain purposes.

In any case, never forget that the marriage laws which presently apply to gay people are precisely the ones that apply to straights.

Posted by: Cridland at April 24, 2005 4:48 PM

>Or public health: what about testing for STDs and HIV ? That's usually done at marriage time, no ?

Yes, that's usually done at marriage time and for no useful purpose. If someone doesn't know whether or not their spouse to be has a disease, then they've either already caught it or they are both virgins and have no disease.

>One issue is that "privatizing" marriage won't completely get the government out of the picture unless you also "privatize" divorce

Civil marriage largely exists only to sort out divorce. The same would be true if the state were to stop calling it marriage.

>By the way, I've always found it wrong that it's illegal for more than two people to marry, or a brother and sister to marry.

A church is free to frown on such an arrangement, but I don't see why government is.

>Exactly, hence we have legal certification of marriage.

Which would still exist if we stopped calling it 'marriage.' And if we stopped calling it marriage, then religious opposition to gay marriage would have less of a leg to stand on.

Posted by: Little ted at April 24, 2005 6:21 PM

> And if we stopped calling it marriage, then
> religious opposition to gay marriage would
> have less of a leg to stand on.

1) As a practical prospect, you're more likely to end the homeowner's deduction. 2) Religious opposition has its own channels and needs no support from outside the sanctuary. 3) Gay marriage enthusiasts, almost to a man, want "marriage," not anything else. Note that they think it's a matter of "rights."

Posted by: Crid at April 24, 2005 8:12 PM

>Gay marriage enthusiasts, almost to a man, want "marriage," not anything else.

And professional baseball players play baseball professionally and, almost to a man, play no other sports professionally.

Since you are correct by definition of 'gay marriage enthusiast,' I will not disagree with this assertion. What I will say is that I keep hearing from the spokespeople of the gay community and from the few homosexuals that I know is that they don't care what you call their unions as long as they get the economic and legal benefits that married couples have.

What's that saying? Something about rights not rites?

Posted by: Little ted at April 25, 2005 12:15 AM

Hi !


>>>Or public health: what about testing for STDs and HIV ?

>>>That's usually done at marriage time, no ?



>>>Yes, that's usually done at marriage time and

>>>for no useful purpose. If someone doesn't know

>>>whether or not their spouse to be has a disease,

>>>then they've either already caught it or they are

>>>both virgins and have no disease.

This whole thread is a dialogue of the (puerile) deaf. A least Alice in W. wasn't deaf.


No useful purpose ? Wake up. Grow up. Be an adult instead of reasoning like a 6-year old. You do youself a disservice, you do us a disservice and you do our country (whether your a "conservative" or a "leftist" or a childlike "libertarian" who makes little allowances for other people and their capacities – or lack of them) a singular disservice.


Government is a necessary structure, whether you like it or not. Part of a government's task is to provide for the public good, notably by taking care of certain problems of public health. One of those tasks is tracking communicable diseases. One way it can track them is by mandatory tests at "marriage" time. Whether or not the two spouses (straight or gay, who cares ?) have or don't have a disease, whether they know it or not, is quite secondary to the overall public health issue.


I suppose that the next thing you'll be saying is that "government" should not ensure (by public or private means) that water be drinkable, that air be breathable, that unwanted fires be extinguished, and that, say, electricity voltage be standardized.


Bon vent.


L'Amerloque


Posted by: L'Amerloque at April 25, 2005 4:19 AM

Oh.

And what useful thing does government do when it realizes that spouse A has herpes? How exactly does government track it? Does government put his/her name on a list? No. How does government protect the general public from this person's venerial disease? Does it start testing potential cures on that person? No. Does it castrate him, if a man? No. Does it kill him/her to prevent an epidemic? No. So how EXACTLY does government prevent the transmission of venerial diseases by conducting mandatory testing at 'marriage.'

It's far more childlike to thrash about in a tantrum and spew nanny-state rhetoric without reaching a point or answering 'how' and 'why' than it is to point out government waste.

Posted by: Little ted at April 25, 2005 11:45 AM

I could be wrong, but I believe that the argument for gay marriage began about the time that doctors wouldn't let partners in to see their dying mates. While it may have something to do with tax breaks, I think those in the queer community are primarily concerned about being able to make the life and death choices for their dearest ones when it is not possible for the individuals to do so.

Posted by: Goddyss at April 25, 2005 2:48 PM

> they don't care what you call their unions as
> long as they get the economic and legal
> benefits that married couples have.

Then Dude, I'm in. But as you've noted so often, nobody gives a rat's ass what I think. So let's just get some starbucks and sit down and watch the fireworks...

The freakiest of the far right is immobile about this. The freakiest of the pro-marriage forces can never surrender their presumption that this is the purest sort of civil rights battle... (This allows them to pretend the outcome is ordained as voting rights for seems to have been in retrospect. Matt Welch is covering similar territory on his blog this week.)

So like I said, let's all enjoy the commotion.

Pro-marriage types will

Posted by: Cridland at April 25, 2005 3:17 PM

>The freakiest of the far right is immobile about this. The freakiest of the pro-marriage forces can never surrender their presumption that this is the purest sort of civil rights battle.

Definitely agree. The big reason that I want to do away with government sanctioned 'marriages' in favor of government sanctioned 'civil unions' (for both gay and straight) is so we can get these two sides to realize that they are usually not talking about the same thing. I also realize this would be political suicide for any politician to suggest and so easy for an opponent to make the public misconstrue that politician's meaning that this will never, ever happen.

Posted by: Little ted at April 25, 2005 10:16 PM

> 'civil unions' (for both gay and straight)

Bzzt! I don't want to end marriage for straights, I want them to do it BETTER. Better than I did, fer starters.

> two sides to realize that they are usually
> not talking about the same thing.

Rereading the thread didn't help. How would that work, exactly?

Posted by: Crid at April 26, 2005 1:35 AM

>Rereading the thread didn't help. How would that work, exactly?

You're right on this one. That civil marriage has been called marriage makes it so no one really realizes that what goes on in the church has literally nothing to do with what goes on at the county courthouse. Maybe I'll write a book explaining the difference so no one will buy it.

Posted by: Little ted at April 26, 2005 10:29 AM

what he said... totally agree

Posted by: online sports betting at July 1, 2006 7:09 PM

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