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Gay Cowboys Get Screwed
January 20, 2006 11:16 PM   Subscribe

Judge rules same-sex marriage ban in Maryland unconstitutional. The progression towards equal rights moves ever on--NPR offers further coverage and an overview of current gay rights cases in the US. Meanwhile, in Oklahoma a reminder of why this fight must be won.
posted by schroedinger (72 comments total)

 
This is a fine example of why the government shouldn't be involved in the business of marraige at all.
posted by I Love Tacos at 11:30 PM on January 20, 2006


(the last link I mean. It's sad.)
posted by I Love Tacos at 11:30 PM on January 20, 2006


You said it, I Love Tacos. I can see having gender-blind legal domestic partnerships... But marriage, no matter what genders are involved, is a religous institution... Let the different cults make their own decisions.
posted by brundlefly at 11:44 PM on January 20, 2006


But marriage, no matter what genders are involved, is a religous institution

Not exclusively a religious institution, now or ever.
posted by solid-one-love at 11:53 PM on January 20, 2006


Marriage is a legal contract with ceremony.
posted by TwelveTwo at 12:00 AM on January 21, 2006


But who wants to be institutionalized?
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:02 AM on January 21, 2006


But who wants to be institutionalized?
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:02 AM PST on January 21 [!]

I agree with this sentiment; I have no interest in being formally married. However, in some countries (USA included) there is no alternative civil union with quite the same legal guarantees that marriage offers.
posted by mek at 12:06 AM on January 21, 2006


I wish everyone in America was aware of the story in that last link; what a huge & utter injustice...
posted by jonson at 12:13 AM on January 21, 2006


Blah. I should rephrase. Marriage should be a purely religous institution. That it's not is the problem. Let the psycho dispensationalist Christians (etc.) refuse to marry gay couples. Let the Unitarian Universalists (etc.) marry anyone they feel like. Let there be a single legal designation of "domestic partnership" that is gender blind. Take the word "marriage" out of the law books all together.

Of course I realize this isn't going to happen any time soon, but I can dream, right?
posted by brundlefly at 12:16 AM on January 21, 2006


"the cousins [...] are suing for back rent for the years he lived on the ranch."

That makes me want to break something. >:[
posted by slater at 12:27 AM on January 21, 2006


They probably didn't even know they could sue. I bet some greedy lawyer saw the story and thought, "Let's sue those fags!" and then the cousins were all, "Okay!"

I hate people so much sometimes.
posted by gunthersghost at 12:35 AM on January 21, 2006


I should rephrase. Marriage should be a purely religous institution.

Couldn't disagree more. Maybe I'm kinda conservative, but I don't think you should have to seek out a church to get married. Handing marriage over to the churches means that atheists could never get married without compromising their beliefs (or lack thereof).

Marriage is a contract. No outside agency need be involved at all in the signing of the contract. As far as I'm concerned, it should be good enough that any two people can declare themselves as married, and they shouldn't even need to apply for a license.

Churches should have no involvement in the contract proper. If folks want to 'solemnize' the marriage with a religious ceremony, that's their business, but it should not be required, in the same way that a church's involvement should not be required if you want to sell a car or hire someone to mow your lawn (nor should you need to get a license from the state to do these things)
posted by solid-one-love at 1:24 AM on January 21, 2006


Solid-one-love, I think you misunderstand those who want marriage to be completely religious. What they mean is that the contract will not be called a marriage. The marriage license will instead be a civil union, for everyone.

The term marriage will be reserved to 'solemnization' by a church or other private organization, it doesn't matter since the government won't regulate marriage at all. Churches could issue unique marriage certificates, and could create all the restictions they want, or have none at all, or force people to only marry underwater, whatever.

Of course, this solution isn't a comprimise at all, because it give homosexuals the same rights as heterosexuals, and that is precisely what the religious right wants to avoid.
posted by [expletive deleted] at 1:40 AM on January 21, 2006


That last story made me ill. And they're suing him for back rent?? Unfreakinbelievable! How about he countersues for "wages" for taking care of the ranch, nursing his lover when he was dying, etc? That's a pretty penny.

I have to say though, a will being "one witness short" is pretty lax, but it does happen (I've seen it before). Otherwise, the guy wouldn't have had a problem with the court. Gah, this is so sad. Maybe there should be marriages (in a 'religion') and civil unions (not religious, like going to City Hall or a Vegas Drive-thru), applicable for every couple, gay or straight. It comes down to legal rights (inheritance, adoption, making choices for loved ones in the hospital, etc) and being treated equal under the law.
posted by NorthernSky at 1:47 AM on January 21, 2006


kjh still won't marry me.
posted by clyde at 2:34 AM on January 21, 2006


I support gay marriage, but going through the courts isn't the way to do it.

Homophobes still have a solid majority, and they'll just amend the constitution to reflect their bigotry. That will make the struggle for equal rights even harder.
posted by Jatayu das at 3:17 AM on January 21, 2006


because it give homosexuals the same rights as heterosexuals, and that is precisely what the religious right wants to avoid.

Then one should ask self, why ? What to they expect to gain, what to lose ?
posted by elpapacito at 3:30 AM on January 21, 2006


Jatayu das: Yes, homophobes have a solid majority, that's why its a good think it takes more than a simple majority to ammend the US Constitution, isn't it? Screw 'em. We ended segrigation through the courts because it was the only way we could manage it, today they support that decision. If the only way we can end the massive injustice suffered by American homosexuals is through the courts then we should take that route. Yes, I'll agree that its not the optimal, or proper, way to achieve the result; but so what?
posted by sotonohito at 3:42 AM on January 21, 2006


What do they expect to gain, what to lose ?

basically reconstructionists want to live in a Godly society -- that UNDER GOD thing. They feel the US culture and government has been hijacked by secular humanists, evil people, and backslidden or otherwise non-born again Christians who are living too much in the world. They believe the US has been given special oomph by the Creator in the past, and they fear we will lose this dispensation should present trends continue.

Gay marriage is just a hot-button issue here, thanks to the Sodom and Gomorrah story. Reconstructionists fear the OT God, at least in those areas where it doesn't effect them personally.

As I get older I have less and less faith that the political strength of the religious right taliban will wane. Mebbe with 5 conservative Catholics on the court the pendulum will swing, but I'm pretty sure McCain's going to win in 2008 so I just think things are going to be fucked for the rest of my time here.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 3:49 AM on January 21, 2006


This happened in quite a terrible way to Christine Lee Littleton... She was married quite happily to a man for years, but his will was contested by a family relative on the grounds that she's transsexual. The Texas court actually allowed it. Later rulings in Kansas seem to contradict the Texas court's simplistic and ignorant findings, but the US Supreme Court refused to hear the Littleton case, effectively meaning that transsexuals in Texas can't get married at all.

I really hope the pendulum starts to swing the other way... The FPP makes me a little hopeful. More, please! :)
posted by jiawen at 3:55 AM on January 21, 2006


Invalidating a will becuase its missing one (but not both) signature is almost unheard of. Witness signatures are the most technical of all the details that go into making a will valid, and most courts will uphold obviously valid wills despite a deficiency in the number of signatures. The obvious conclusion, to me, is that it's not just the cousins that were out "get a fag" - the court was happy to join in.
posted by thewittyname at 4:05 AM on January 21, 2006


what happens if an American citizen moves temporarily to a country where gay marriages (or civil unions, whatever they're called, as long as the union is recognised) are legal, and gets married there, and then moves back to the US?

And what, instead, if it's non-American citizens who married in another country then move to the US - is that different? Would their citizenship dictate which unions are upheld? So, say, as long as they retain Spanish citizenship they're married, if they take US citizenship they're not?

Sorry if this sounds like a dumb question. I was just wondering how it works at international level, with immigration... So far, if a heterosexual couple gets married in country x then moves to country y they don't have to get married again or request another license (right?) - but is there a specific requirement that those countries have identical marriage laws? If it doesn't, then, shouldn't the same be done with gay couples?
posted by funambulist at 4:36 AM on January 21, 2006


The real threat here seems to be cousins, IMO.
posted by signal at 4:46 AM on January 21, 2006


I think signal has it: wtf with the cousins stepping in? I think they saw that they could get a good chunk of cash, and so they went for it.
posted by lester at 6:12 AM on January 21, 2006


My grade two teacher came out maybe 20 years ago, a Catholic grade school teacher no less. Most adults suspected that she was lesbian. She had a long time friend who turned out to be her partner. Her Catholic co-workers didn't have a problem with it. I don't know how many parents knew but there wasn't a big stink over it. Her partner's family did have a huge problem and never accepted them. They broke all ties.

My lesbian teacher (Sorry, I don't know how to disambiguate this story without stating it that way - I'm obviously not going to use names) eventually retired and started a business and bought a home with her partner. They went on trips with each other and lived much like any other couple in the world. Eventually her partner died after a lengthy illness. The wills were pretty specific and she was to inherit the business which they created together, the house they bought and lived in together etc.

The family who disowned them contested the will and ended up inheriting the bulk of the property. Because their was no legal marriage the family was able to convince the courts that they were entitled to the money.

This took place in Canada by the way but it illustrates why either the government needs to get out of the marriage business and only recognize domestic partnerships or marriage needs to be available to all. There are too many property rights and other laws that rely on marriage.

Canada has decided to legalize gay marriage, and I'm fine with that. A lot of people can't get over the marriage word however. The only other possibility would be that the license you get from the government is a recognition of your domestic partnership and it's up to the church to say that two people are married. Obviously a Catholic or Baptist church won't marry two people of the same gender (and I don't think they should be forced to) but other denominations exist or will come up that won't bat an eyelash at it.
posted by substrate at 6:47 AM on January 21, 2006


Invalidating a will becuase its missing one (but not both) signature is almost unheard of.

Regardless, they should have anticipated, given the prevailing attitude, that judges and litigants would exploit technicalities. The "no gays" state constitutional amendments that are all the rage can serve to cloak this kind of personal bigotry in the law.

As I said here: even if you are lucky enough to find a community or enclave within a red state in which you can live free from bigotry, you can't fully protect your rights unless you move to a state whose laws, legislatures, and courts recognize the legitimacy of your relationship.

I hope that Mr. Beaumont can engage the public-interest legal machinery to fight the cousins' claim to the estate. If the state court considers itself bound by U.S. Supreme Court precedent (suprisingly enough, some judges think that this is very much an open question,) he could mount a successful challenge to his treatment by the courts under the doctrine of Romer v. Evans. I wish him all the best.
posted by Saucy Intruder at 6:53 AM on January 21, 2006


substrate that's terrible. But I have to ask, and I guess this is open to anyone, how does a situation like that work? I mean even if the marriage wasn't legally-recognized, how can a family contest a will that says one person inherit's another's property? If I willed everything I owned to a random person, I don't see how my family could contest it should go to them. Not challengeing inheritance rights here, just curious.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 7:15 AM on January 21, 2006


what happens if an American citizen moves temporarily to a country where gay marriages (or civil unions, whatever they're called, as long as the union is recognised) are legal, and gets married there, and then moves back to the US?

Absolutely nothing. There is no recourse if the American citizen wishes to return to the United States with said spouse. Perhaps if the foreign spouse had a huge amount of money they might be taxed. But no. My rights as a married citizen mean nothing.

BTW, in Ontario now, if you live with the same person for more than 5 years, you are actually legally a couple, no matter what either partner says.
posted by gesamtkunstwerk at 7:29 AM on January 21, 2006


In Ontario, what happens if you've been living with 2 people for more than 5 years? Legal threesome? :)
posted by tomplus2 at 7:59 AM on January 21, 2006


Only if you're doing it in a club, apparently. ;)
posted by Hildegarde at 8:04 AM on January 21, 2006


what happens if an American citizen moves temporarily to a country where gay marriages (or civil unions, whatever they're called, as long as the union is recognised) are legal, and gets married there, and then moves back to the US?

The Feds don't care, and will apply whatever definition of marriage they feel like. The American homosexual would not be allowed to import his or her sweetie under family-immigration law. Whatever state they move to might or might not acknowledge the marriage for their own purposes.

And what, instead, if it's non-American citizens who married in another country then move to the US - is that different?

The Feds wouldn't care. They apply their own definitions, not the country-of-origin's.

If I willed everything I owned to a random person, I don't see how my family could contest it should go to them.

If you can wait around long enough for her to sober up for a bit, you could have a good chat with Anna Nicole Smith about just this topic.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 8:14 AM on January 21, 2006


Goddamnit. I fought long and hard against that stupid ammendment to the Michigan state constitution that the rural retards got through, and it's just not fair, y'know? This is what always bothers me about the motherfucking "conservatives" on the court— the explicit small-government philosophy that they trumpet is always trumped by "moral" views exactly at the moment when it would be most in line with the intention of the predominant founders to step the fuck out of the way. Instead of being the Madisons and Jeffersons our country needs, we're stuck with the backwards puritanism of John Adams. I'm still not sure why there isn't a militant group of gays willing to use force to protect their rights, ala the Black Panthers.
posted by klangklangston at 8:20 AM on January 21, 2006


I plan on rubbing each loss of rights into the face of every fcuker who voted for Bush. I think the loss of abortion rights is going to hit us all hard. Sure it's easy to be against abortion... until you have an ugly little problem that threatens to chew up your next 19 years.

I'm normally not a bitter person, but Americans are sitting back and letting things happen. Gay rights today, straight rights tomorrow.
posted by gesamtkunstwerk at 8:26 AM on January 21, 2006


Marriage should be a purely religous institution.

why?
posted by mcsweetie at 8:28 AM on January 21, 2006


I'm still not sure why there isn't a militant group of gays willing to use force to protect their rights, ala the Black Panthers.

Because they would be casted as terrorist and wouldn't advance their cause. Extreme right would kill for a new "scarecrow" enemy to justify restriction of freedom, reduction of rights. Who do you think introduced the Black Bloc in the protesters scene ? It was an attempt to paint protesters as "dangerous commies hippies", but as they attract media attention because of the sensation media give to violence , some people think that doing like the Blocs will attract the media attention. It will, but the opinionist will paint it as evil or as according the networks executive decide people should think.
posted by elpapacito at 8:32 AM on January 21, 2006


mcsweetie

Because it clearly can't be a purely governmental institution, and church and state must have separate institutions.
posted by Richard Daly at 8:36 AM on January 21, 2006


I am so pissed about this. I mean, I know this type of shit happens all the time, but this reminder about how fucked up things are really bothers me.

The religious right is sending us right back to the times when the puritans arrived. And as gesamtkunstwerk says, it appears Americans are just letting it happen.

My biggest fear is next the religious right will be coming after the non-Christian next. Of course, they'll say "Judeo-Christian" but it really is about Christians. Muslims -- who already are getting the shaft in light of the current War on Terror® are the first target, but they'll eventually come after me, the godless heathen. In my state, because I do not worship a god, I cannot run for public office.* The president's dad said that people like me should not be citizens. After all, it is people like me that complain about prayer in schools and the teaching of evolution the most. Can't happen here? It already is.

*Texas law states that those seeking public office may be "excluded from holding office" if she/he does not "acknowledge the existence of a Supreme Being." If I did begin to believe in the Flying Spaghetti Monster, it would be fine. I just have to believe in some monotheistic god.
posted by birdherder at 8:49 AM on January 21, 2006


In related news -- Allegations ABC Canceled Reality Show With Gay Couple To Placate Christian Audiences.
posted by ericb at 8:56 AM on January 21, 2006


Richard Daly: "Because it clearly can't be a purely governmental institution, and church and state must have separate institutions."

Well, here in Germany the principle is that there is almost complete separation of "church wedding" and "legal marriage". It is possible to be married "in the eyes of the state" and never have set foot in any religious establishment, be it church, mosque or temple. A marriage ceremony performed by any clergyman, on the other hand (subject to whatever restrictions their faith imposes on them) has no legally binding status and will in fact be performed only after a standesamtliche Trauung (at the civil registry office) has taken place. This is, in my opinion, a pretty fair system that allows both the religious and the legal aspect to coexist peacefully, and which separates the issues quite nicely: if people want to be joined according to their traditional rites, they can do so, but this will have no effect on their legal relationship. If they want to gain the advantages a legally recognized marriage or partnership offers, they have have to go to the organization responsible for providing those benefits, namely, the government.

So, to take the example from this posting: if this had taken place over here, the couple would have been able to ignore all religious issues and gone straight to the next civil registry office and have themselves entered as partners, with all the rights and benefits accorded to this institution, and the cousins would have been SOL.
posted by PontifexPrimus at 9:03 AM on January 21, 2006


You guys can debate the proper role of government in marriage and the potential virtues of civil unions all you want. But as long as heterosexuals can get legally married and my partner and I cannot, we are in a situation of intolerable inequality that results in tragic situations like the one in that last link. Liberals who spend their time weighing the possibility that civil unions might sound "equal enough" to make everyone happy are cowards. And conservatives are just doing what they've always done, shoving schoolchildren born the wrong color down the steps of schools to protect the integrity of whites-only water fountains.

Marriage should be for everyone, because we were all raised with the same concept of marriage as the highest ideal of commitment between two people. The rest is footnotes, and the rest of the world is realizing this fast. Feel free to give the GOP's cynical wedge-issue talking points all the intellectual assistance you want, but you will be buried in time.
posted by digaman at 9:10 AM on January 21, 2006


This gets my blood boiling, mostly because of those goddamn cousin who are looking to profit on the back of a man who cared for and lost his committed partner. May they all find misery and loneliness for the rest of their days...

(However, I'm excited that all the news stories I've been able to find about this appear to be derived from the same Columbia News Service dispatch -- I didn't realize until I found the source article that the "Columbia" refers to the effort of journalism school students at my alma mater, not some city's paper! Roar, Lions, roar...)
posted by delfuego at 9:21 AM on January 21, 2006


(And of course, "cousin" = "cousins". Perhaps I should caffeinate?)
posted by delfuego at 9:21 AM on January 21, 2006


Oh and by the way, as has been posted here before, my partner and I already got married, in the eyes of our families, friends, and the universe. So now where are our legal rights? That is the question.

On preview: yeah delfuego, the Columbia j-school rocks.
posted by digaman at 9:22 AM on January 21, 2006


The Feds wouldn't care. They apply their own definitions, not the country-of-origin's.

I figured that, but that's not really how it works with 'traditional' marriage is it?

If a married hetero couple from the Netherlands moves to the US, they're still married for the law in the US too, but if they're gay, they aren't -- even if it's the very same marriage law in their country of origin, and, regardless of whether the married couple is gay or hetero, that law is inherently different from the US marriage laws, different legal definition, context, system, etc. It's an extra contradiction.

I'm wondering if there's a procedure or reciprocal treatment convention (aside from the generic ones) specific to marriage, that says if you're married in your country of origin and the marriage complies with our laws in the US then just show us the documents when you come here and you're married for us too, if it doesn't comply you're not.

In any case I reckon - as a total non-expert in legal matters - that the fact some countries have recognised gay unions and others haven't does present an additional problem for immigration. I wonder if there have been court cases raising that specific issue.
posted by funambulist at 9:42 AM on January 21, 2006


*applauds digaman*
posted by papakwanz at 9:44 AM on January 21, 2006


This gets my blood boiling, mostly because of those goddamn cousin who are looking to profit on the back of a man who cared for and lost his committed partner.

Well, if I understood correctly, it says the money will get scattered across all of them, so they won't even get rich from this!

Not that greed is better or any more ethical, but it could at least be more understandable from a cynical point of view. But if it's not really about money, they're just doing it out of spite, which makes it all even more pathetic.
posted by funambulist at 9:52 AM on January 21, 2006


I figured that, but that's not really how it works with 'traditional' marriage is it?

AFAIK, mostly it is. At least for immigration terms, if you want to import your spouse you need to have a marriage that's legally valid in your home country --and-- that meets the federal definition. That doesn't make it any less blinkered and wrong, but they're being consistent, just consistently wrong. Think of it as necessary and sufficient conditions -- having a legal marriage back home is only a necessary condition, meeting the federal definition of a marriage is sufficient.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 10:13 AM on January 21, 2006


In my state, because I do not worship a god, I cannot run for public office.*

This is one of those things where the truth is bad enough that it doesn't need to be embellished.

Yes, there are words to that effect in the Texas state constitution. It is shameful (but hardly surprising) that they have not yet been removed.

But they're legally dead, with no legal force at all. That provision could never, ever be legally enforced, and pretending that there actually is such a prohibition really in force is either ignorant or dishonest. You can run for public office all you want in Texas, and hold office if you win.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 10:18 AM on January 21, 2006


You guys can debate the proper role of government in marriage and the potential virtues of civil unions all you want. But as long as heterosexuals can get legally married and my partner and I cannot, we are in a situation of intolerable inequality that results in tragic situations like the one in that last link. Liberals who spend their time weighing the possibility that civil unions might sound "equal enough" to make everyone happy are cowards.

I would agree, but I don't think anyone here is taking that position. No one is suggesting the civil union as a sort of second-class marriage. We (or at least I) have been advocating changing the name of the contract from marriage to civil union or domestic partnership. That's for heterosexual couples as well as homosexual couples. That is more than "equal enough."
posted by brundlefly at 10:30 AM on January 21, 2006


Liberals who spend their time weighing the possibility that civil unions might sound "equal enough" to make everyone happy are cowards

You know...on the one hand, I can see the merit in the arguments I've heard that there should be "baby steps" in this area, and that it's more important to get the concrete benefits of ANY kind of legally-recognized same-sex union immediately, and work on the semantics later.

On the other hand, the whole "equal enough" civil union thing just sounds scarily close to "separate but equal" Apartheid-type thinking, that I can't help but think that it's just going to perpetuate the discrimination, by making a distinction between "real" marriage and "that thing you gay people like to pretend is similar". It's transparently (to me) a basic civil/human rights issue, and people's views on same-sex marriage are now one of my personal sanity tests (I'm still waiting to hear a single logical reason to have it be illegal).

As to what ROU_Xenophobe said: religious provisions about civil office could never be legally enforced, but it does most definitely seem to be the case that anyone who wishes to run for public office in many parts of the US had better damned well at least pretend to be a church-goin', god-fearin' Christian if they ever hope to be elected.
posted by biscotti at 10:44 AM on January 21, 2006


Now that's more like it --

Dying NJ woman wins right to pass benefits to her surviving partner.
posted by ericb at 10:44 AM on January 21, 2006


ericb, thanks for the link. I'd been following that story pretty closely--the right decision was made.
posted by bardic at 11:22 AM on January 21, 2006


I'm still not sure why there isn't a militant group of gays willing to use force to protect their rights, ala the Black Panthers.

Because they'll probably get sued if they call themselves the Pink Panthers.
posted by dr_dank at 11:36 AM on January 21, 2006


Pink Panthers strike again.
posted by ericb at 12:36 PM on January 21, 2006


We (or at least I) have been advocating changing the name of the contract from marriage to civil union or domestic partnership. That's for heterosexual couples as well as homosexual couples. That is more than "equal enough."

You have a point, brundlefly, but while we're at it, why don't we change the words "home," "apartment," and "house" to "domestic habitation nexus" so that apartment dwellers don't feel slighted? Well, one reason is that words have power, social context, and history, and the word "marriage" is so deeply embedded in our psyches after hundreds of years of use (and despite its changing legal definitions), I see no reason to substitute a dry-sounding neologism for a perfectly functional and beautiful word that can evoke the best of what we are as people.

Somehow I can't quite imagine the words JUST SIGNED A CIVIL CONTRACT, written in soap on the back of a car, inspiring the same feelings in the newly wedded and their families as JUST MARRIED, as they drive off to their honeymoon. Perhaps we should substitute the phrase "initial trial period" for "honeymoon"? I think not. But I take your point.
posted by digaman at 12:57 PM on January 21, 2006


Liberals who spend their time weighing the possibility that civil unions might sound "equal enough" to make everyone happy are cowards. - digiman

Hear hear. This is why even here in the UK, where we have the much-lauded Civil Partnership Act, I feel I'm considered 2nd class.

I don't care for religion much as a way of life. We have in this country civil marriages: there was no reason not to open that institution up to gay folks. Yet another reason not to vote Labour every chance I get.
posted by dash_slot- at 12:58 PM on January 21, 2006


Marriage should be for everyone, because we were all raised with the same concept of marriage as the highest ideal of commitment between two people. The rest is footnotes, and the rest of the world is realizing this fast.

This is the obvious truth, to those whose minds are not clouded by bigotry. It seems to me that the debate is critically undermined from the start, since the word "marriage" does indeed mean two distinct, unrelated things in the US: it refers both to the civil contract two people enter into to form the legal unit of a "household", as well as a religious ceremony/sacrament.

Until the two differing meanings are clearly parsed, a real debate can't happen. That the government at the state or federal level is at all telling people who can and can't enter into a legal contract solely on the basis of GENDER is obvious, blatant bigotry, and should be addressed as such.

That many churches don't want to perform same sex marriage ceremonies is, unfortunately, their business--that prejudice should just speak for itself, and hopefully inform people about the true attitudes of a particular place of worship.

The attempts to call the legal contract a "civil union" are, in my view, an attempt to avoid the loaded word 'marriage', and its mutually exclusive dual meanings.

Also, FWIW, the powers that be in the religious right political movement could really give a shit if gay people get married, just like they really could give a shit about abortion--it's a wedge issue. That leadership uses those issues to fire up its base and get them voting for their people--not to actually fight these issues. The leadership of the religious right, just like most in those positions, cares about power first. If bashing gays or abortion rights gets them power, then they'll bash away.
posted by LooseFilter at 12:58 PM on January 21, 2006


I wish somebody would name and shame the cousins. I'd like to know who these greedy, nasty people are and I'm only sorry that living on the wrong side of the Atlantic I can't go and picket them.
posted by Flitcraft at 12:59 PM on January 21, 2006


All quite true, Loose. In this case, I'll add, the most obvious "leaders of the religious right" exploiting that wedge issue mostly blatantly and cynically are sitting in the White House. Haven't heard the phrase "defense of marriage" pass Bush's lips lately? Well heck, that election was months ago.
posted by digaman at 1:03 PM on January 21, 2006


digaman--yep, exactly. All that furor around election time, and now...not a peep. What I wonder is, how stupid are the people to whom this rhetoric appeals, that they don't realize something that completely obvious? I suppose that bigotry clouds the perceptions that badly.

....sigh....

I'm ultimately optimistic, though--most of my family still lives in the deep south (Louisiana & Mississippi), and I'm actually surprised at some of the conversations that come up at holiday parties and such when I'm back home. When push comes to shove, and people really start thinking about it, some do (gasp!) discover that they don't want to choose prejudice and hate.

It's sort of the next chapter in America's civil rights struggle--who would've thought, in 1961 or so, that we really would have come as far as we have? (w/r/t race relations.) Long way to go, sure, but long way come, too. Doesn't mean that getting there won't suck, but I'm optimistic that we'll get there.
posted by LooseFilter at 1:18 PM on January 21, 2006


Biscotti hit the nail on the fuggin' head. I'm tired of people thinking we should appease the religious right in any way (even though they won't even accept this) by making it, as he said, "that thing you gay people like to pretend is similar."

It's just like pro-marijuana activists disingenuously arguing for 'medical marijuana.'
posted by Lockeownzj00 at 1:37 PM on January 21, 2006


digaman, who's advocating scrubbing the word marriage from the language altogether? I'm just saying that the government should have no hand in it.

That said, I do like the idea of calling the honeymoon a "trial period." We should lobby for that.
posted by brundlefly at 1:39 PM on January 21, 2006


Reaching back a bit in this thread, I want to applaud Germany's very sensible system. And I agree, I would settle for domestic partner status if my partner and I had the same protection under the laws as married people. Hell, I'd actually prefer it. But the problem is, we have so many churches, and many of them hate each other. Most churches will marry us already, so there really isn't the possibility that we could comprimize on a purely civil arrangement.

As always, I love your link ericb. I saw a lot parallels to my coming out experience. My formerly bigoted homophobic brother, absolutely adores my partner. My homophobic dad denies he was every homophobic, and many of my parents' homophobic friends were actually the first to seem really comfortable with me after I came out.

The only people I really fear are the proto fascist, politicized religious Right. Sometimes I really do want to form a pink panther movement. I hate to follow the stereotype, but I just can't hit people, I can't take militancy seriously. Too bad. I'd love to wear pink camoflage fatigues and a hip baret.
posted by gesamtkunstwerk at 1:40 PM on January 21, 2006


digaman: Marriage should be for everyone, because we were all raised with the same concept of marriage as the highest ideal of commitment between two people.

I do understand that the feeling of being excluded, kept away from a love-commitment can really feel bad, but watch out for too wide generalization. I wasn't raised with the idea that marriage is the highest commitment, I was told that love is the highest commitment, it's the sentiment that counts not the formalities.

So call it civil union, call it marriage, call it klaklakla if you want a formalization or a ritualization of commitment I
think you shouldn't be too concerned about the label, because it's NOT the label that matters.

If you are thinking also about the contractual-legal implication, if civil union raises the same legal obligation that a marrige
rise, then they're the same objects even if with different labels. You may notice that giving two different labels to the
same object doesn't seem to have any reasonable cause (and indeed it only pleases lawyers by increasing confusion) but
it would be a miserable price to pay for an acceptable compromise.

Except that such compromise is NOT needed : many religious extremist proclaim that "gay marriage" will ruin family and will cause
whatever unspeakable evil, so they want to protect "marriage" family and all they see as moral and good ...but as a matter of FACT nobody would force religious people to marry in a "gay way" nor would they be excluded from marriage the way they like it. It's just a pretext and pure expression of bigotry, an attempt to impose morality on a country.

Fuck that, that's taliban. U.S. better get rid of that taliban plague before moralizing about what other countries should do with
terrorists.
posted by elpapacito at 5:36 PM on January 21, 2006


"I wish somebody would name and shame the cousins"

I suspect that they are the type that would gladly go on Springer and wallow in it.
posted by 2sheets at 6:41 PM on January 21, 2006


From the piece on his wedding that digaman linked to:

As we were making preparations for our ceremony, Senate majority leader Bill Frist equated same-sex marriage and "prostitution or illegal commercial drug activity in the home." Supreme Court justice Antonin Scalia unleashed a 21-page torrent of warnings from the highest bench in the land, comparing homosexuality to "fornication, bigamy, adultery, adult incest, bestiality and obscenity."

This kind of thinking makes my gut feel full of lead, and I get so hopelessly frustrated about this topic. When people truly believe this kind of thing (and down here in the dirty, a lot of them do), I cannot even come up with a starting point to try and have a logical discussion with them. When people are so far removed from reason and tolerance, where do you even begin to appeal to them? I fundamentally cannot even understand this type of blatant discrimination, and how politicians get away every single day with enforcing their own religious beliefs on the rest of the citizens, despite seperation of church and state supposedly being one of the fundamental principles of this country. It makes me want to throttle people.

That said, cheers digaman for the link (that was great and well written besides) and cheers to that judge in Baltimore.
posted by Meredith at 7:09 PM on January 21, 2006



digaman says:
But as long as heterosexuals can get legally married and my partner and I cannot, we are in a situation of intolerable inequality ...

Speaking as a gay man interested in being married myself, I'd like to see this inequality remedied as soon as possible.

Which is why I wish the leaders of the gay rights movement would learn to think strategically. It was pretty obvious to many even before George W. was elected (for some value of "elected") that pushing gay marriage at that time was going to cause more harm than good. There's a strong case to be made that the gay marriage wedge issue is what gave Bush his second term.

Before y'all flame me for being a shrinking violet, I appreciate the good that activism has done. The key words are as soon as possible. The cause of gay marriage has been set back, probably by several decades, because of an inability to prioritize and a preoccupation with tactical-level battles that end up harming the larger purpose.

Let's stop talking about the way things ought to be and start talking about what concrete, realizable steps we can take -- now and in the future -- that eventually lead to where we want to go.
posted by nickp at 7:14 PM on January 21, 2006


The Right really can't be appeased. If they could, I'd give it a try. They fear us, because ultimately, they know that they've lost the battle.

Digaman-- you look like a great couple.
posted by gesamtkunstwerk at 7:58 PM on January 21, 2006


Thanks guys. We've been together 11 years now.
posted by digaman at 11:10 PM on January 21, 2006


Supreme Court justice Antonin Scalia unleashed a 21-page torrent of warnings from the highest bench in the land, comparing homosexuality to "fornication, bigamy, adultery, adult incest, bestiality and obscenity."

Say what? You have got to be shittin' me: you can't have a retard like that as a freakin' Supreme Court justice! I mean, sweet jaysus, surely there must be some sort of intellectual qualifications required for the position!

The more I learn about how you guys run things down there, the more convinced I am that you have it all bass-ackward. Why the hell would you have a pinheaded shitbrain as your Supreme justice?!
posted by five fresh fish at 11:49 PM on January 21, 2006


woot. another win.

eventually, you realize, we here in massachusetts want a thankyou note (albeit one with a little joke about losing the 2004 elections >_<)
posted by es_de_bah at 6:17 PM on January 22, 2006


My partner and I got our gay partnership formalized in Germany. It's not called 'marriage', and is not legally the same as what straight couples get. However, that fact got a challenge thrown out of court.

As was said above, the legal hitching is something you do at the city registry office. Some couples do it casual, some do it fancy. Some go directly to church afterwards to do the traditional ceremony. We did ours casual, with a live webcast.

Fun thing is, we can still get 'married' for the 'first' time, once we end up in the right country for that. Or, if in the UK, we can do their version, and still get 'married' latter. LOL!

Of course, all that doesn't make it possible for me to bring my spouse home to America. The "Land of the Free" says we're just a pair of perverts. All the shit they taught in school about our freedom was so much bullshit, designed to make us willing to go get killed in some war. Freedom ain't free, but neither is America, damnit.
posted by Goofyy at 6:53 AM on January 23, 2006


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