Queer Wars: Return to Prop 8
March 27, 2013 3:53 PM   Subscribe

A Primer for Straights on the Politics of ‘Gay’ Marriage

"I’m sure your Facebook has been flooded with red equal signs from the Human Rights Campaign. Gay, Lesbians, Trans, Bisexual, and Straight people all voicing their strong support for marriage equality. You might have even changed your profile picture. These voice in favor of same sex marriage run the gambit from heartfelt conversation stories to simple reposts. What might surprise you is that not all of your queer and LGBTQ friends are necessarily as pumped about this as you might be. Which is weird right? Why would these people who have so much to gain from getting access to the institution of marriage not be totally pumped? Isn’t this what they want? And even weirder they seem to be fighting each other about same-sex marriage. You might be thinking WTF. Don’t worry that’s what this is here for. This may be the first time you have seen or felt the deep divisions within the LGBTQ and Queer communities. Most of the time we tend to keep these discussions to ourselves (it’s our secret agenda) but in light of our current situation I will give you a glimpse into some of key issues that are glossed over in mainstream discussion. Of course, I will not endeavour to speak for any other members of the community as I try to summarize some of the different positions about the equal rights and marriage debate."
And more:
Why The Transgender Community Hates HRC
Why I Support Same Sex Marriage as a Civil Right, But Not as a Strategy to Achieve Structural Change
posted by lookoutbelow (107 comments total) 31 users marked this as a favorite
 
thank you
posted by Conrad-Casserole at 3:55 PM on March 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


There was a pretty good post on SRSDiscussion today about the equal sign symbol:
But going beyond the activities and non-activities of the HRC: the equal sign is an explicit symbolization of the homophobic, transphobic, bigoted idea that the pride flag and all it stands for is "too gay" and flamboyant for the mainstream. It's the easy way to display your political stances without having anyone question your gender identity or orientation. It's the physical embodiment of "I'm not gay but," much like the rebranding of feminism to "egalitarianism."

Furthermore, the pride flag was designed by LGBTQ individuals and is not associated with any one organization, making it ideal for showing support of all causes (or any of the other flags, like the bisexual and gender queer flags). It came into modern usage primarily to avoid another type of misappropriation: that of the pink triangle and Holocaust imagery/associations.
posted by NoraReed at 4:06 PM on March 27, 2013 [6 favorites]


Nancy Polikoff's book "Beyond (Straight and Gay) Marriage" laid out some additional issues surrounding the way the law deals with various domestic relationships, some of the pitfalls therein, and some other options that could potentially better serve various household and family structures.
posted by eviemath at 4:09 PM on March 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


In conversations I've had with friends about this, I get the sense that some of the anti-marriage sentiment comes from the notion that gay people are "special", i.e., better than or at least different than straight people in some positive way, and that asserting marriage rights in some way marginalizes or brings gay people down to the level of "boring", "normal" straight people. True or false, that attitude culturally ghettoizes us and has facilitated continued discrimination as the relationship between gays and straights has normalized.

Marriage might help enforce economic or social privilege of subsets of gay men and women within the culture at large. But it also guarantees rights to all who choose that option. Having the choice and the legal rights, regardless of orientation, is perhaps more important than the economic issues at hand. There has always been economic inequality, the scope of which seems broader than sexuality and which can be addressed with or without marriage rights. With the rights in place, it seems arguably tougher to discriminate against all of us regardless of our economic status or choice of relationship. It's easy to take rights away through omission, but tougher to take rights away, after they've been recognized. Marriage is one piece in that larger picture. An important piece, but only one piece.

I also probably wouldn't put much stock in the claim that same-sex marriage is somehow the end-all in itself for the gay rights movement, no more than anyone could claim that Loving v. Virginia recognizing the right to interracial marriage had suddenly, immediately cured America of all its racial ills. It's just setting one stone right in the larger pavement.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:15 PM on March 27, 2013 [27 favorites]


I get that there are some GLBT people who don't think that marriage is the right institution for them. I know some straight people who feel the same way.

What I don't get is the "antiassimilationist" desire to deny the GLBT folks who do want to get married the right to do so.

I can kind of understand the frustration with seeing resources diverted to the marriage cause, and away from other causes, but it is still progress, isn't it?
posted by sparklemotion at 4:23 PM on March 27, 2013 [8 favorites]


What I don't get is the "antiassimilationist" desire

In any small group, the first members to be visible are those that can't or won't conform to societies' norms. The most vocal, original members generally reject most or all of the larger society's trappings. Follow-on generations (who benefit from the openness of the original members) do not have to or necessarily want to wholly remove themselves from social mores, so in some cases the originalist members perceive that the newer groups are betraying "the cause" by wanting aspects of the larger culture.

I apologize for any insult or unclearness on my part. I don't have a lot of the language to express this, and it's a realization that has only hit me recently.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 4:29 PM on March 27, 2013 [18 favorites]


The primary FPP link references a Towleroad link that slams Barney Frank for his 'incremental' strategy on how he chose to support LGBT rights and legislation. I believe that he, like Obama, had a strategic long game in mind. Get incremental moves for LGB ... and then go for T.

And later 'in the game' he did: MTPC Applauds Rep. Barney Frank for introducing trans-inclusive Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA).

Frank and Obama know how to manage their strategies and the long game. I'm thankful that they are on my/ our side.
posted by ericb at 4:30 PM on March 27, 2013 [4 favorites]


I think the "antiassimilationist" movement stems from a desire to remove special protections from a particular class of relationship. If we're going to have state recognition of marriage, then, yeah, everyone should be able to get married, but why are we providing all of these economic and legal benefits for people who want to structure their relationships in a fairly narrow way?

So, yeah, I think "marriage equality" sucks less than what we have now, but I really wish we'd managed to find the political will to ally with the far right, and pushed to get the government out of marriage altogether.

That, and the HRC's fumbling of Prop 8, in a manner that looked deliberately like it chose fundraising over social progress, still pisses me off.
posted by straw at 4:30 PM on March 27, 2013 [2 favorites]


That was great, thanks. And a useful primer for some LGBT people, too, who often seem to labour under the delusion that we're all on board with the HRC campaign.

Doesn't quite capture my feelings as a gay dude, though, which is more or less apathy towards an issue I see as a middle-class, first world problem.
posted by dontjumplarry at 4:33 PM on March 27, 2013


I changed my avatar to the equals-sign. Basically because "why not." It took almost zero effort and the way I see it, it was kind of like wearing a supportive t-shirt for the past couple days - unlikely to affect any actual change, but for my gay and lesbian friends (and strangers) who might be stressing over the SCOTUS arguments, just adding my little show of support.

I have my problems with HRC, but I was kind of hoping that the sign would be seen as meaning, "I'm just one of many who are in support of marriage equality," and not, "I support the actions of the HRC," though the more I read about it, the more I realize that isn't as clear as I might have hoped.

My closest gay lawyer friend (not my closest friend, but the closest who is both gay and a lawyer) has major problems with HRC, mostly due to its opacity with how its money is spent. He strongly recommends donating to Lambda Legal instead.

He is also of the opinion that he'd rather not have gays and lesbians get suspect class status, for what he calls the "Ainsley Hayes reason," referring to the episode in the West Wing where Ainsley is explaining her opposition to the ERA, saying "A new amendment under the law declaring that I am equal to a man? I am mortified to discover that I wasn't before." I'm not sure I agree with him there, considering that SSM will be far from the last battle on the road to equality, but I also think it's an important distinction here - if, say, Prop 8 can die under rational basis (and it really, really should) then that is by all accounts better than having it die under strict scrutiny and strikes a better blow for LGBT rights than suspect status classification could.

An another subject, a friend of mine remarked that a friend of his said today, "the only thing worst than the flood of pro-SSM people with their equals-sign avatars is the flood of anti-SSM people with their plus-sign necklaces. I thought that was clever. In response, said friend changed his own avatar to the Swiss flag, stating that he wasn't behind the HRC, but wanted to show that he is a Christian in favor of equal rights for all. I liked that.
posted by Navelgazer at 4:35 PM on March 27, 2013 [8 favorites]


Resources have been directed towards marriage because for most LGB people in the western world, that was the next really big barrier to equality (trans people are still waiting for more basic rights). If we lived in Uganda, we'd obviously be more worried about decriminalisation.

In Canada, I feel like we really have won the major legal battles once we gained marriage equality. We have lots of movement to make in regards to cultural battles, but at least the government isn't systematically discriminating against LGB people.
posted by jb at 4:37 PM on March 27, 2013


And later 'in the game' he did: MTPC Applauds Rep. Barney Frank for introducing trans-inclusive Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA).

Yeah, after he threw trans people under the bus in a previous ENDA fight.

Of course, a non-trans-inclusive ENDA screws everyone. Great, your homophobic boss can't fire you because you're gay. It's not like there's no possibility your homophobic boss will construe your sexuality as gender non-conformity and fire you for that instead.
posted by hoyland at 4:38 PM on March 27, 2013 [3 favorites]


(and for my own part I'm a straight guy and a big fan of Janet Halley and I get nervous around this sort of politicking which looks from my outsider perspective to be trying to assign too much of a homogenous identity on a group who, far from assimilation, should be finally permitted to just be who they are as individuals. Love, sex and relationships mean vastly different things to different people. For a lot of them they mean marriage, and I want that door as open to all as possible. But I am, indeed, and outsider and I appreciate this post.)
posted by Navelgazer at 4:40 PM on March 27, 2013


The "Why The Transgender Community Hates HRC" link is really fascinating. It has a local politics quality to it, with named individuals involved. It was also posted in 2007, so in hindsight the disputes over strategy now have much more clarity to them. This bit in particular:
Transpeople were never consulted and had no input whatsoever regarding the push for gay marriage, but the Religious Right anti-gay marriage laws get interpreted by the courts in such a way that they had the negative affect in some cases of wiping out existing pro-trans marriage and even identity rights.

We're also pissed that the same people who demanded (and still demand) that we accept 'incremental progress' when it comes to trans rights hypocritically have no intention of accepting 'incremental progress' when it comes to legal recognition of same-sex relationships.
The incremental progress route was shown to be plainly wrong for pursuing anti-discrimination laws, given the subsequent conservative backlash. But not accepting incremental progress seems to have been enormously successful in pursuing same-sex marriage. Going to the courts and the ballot box has not been the high-risk gamble it looked like in 2007.
posted by ddbeck at 4:40 PM on March 27, 2013 [2 favorites]


Dan Savage has an argument that pair marriage deserves some degree of special status. It's unique as being a mutual commitment in which there can be no diffusion of responsibility. That is not a good reason to deny poly families the bundle of 1000+ legal benefits currently given to pair married people, but it is a reason to think that giving pair marriage special status is not arbitrary privilege.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 4:42 PM on March 27, 2013 [3 favorites]


Also: a lot of time, energy and money is also being put into the non-marriage battles. GLSEN is fighting to get GSAs in more schools (including middle schools), the It Gets Better and Trevor projects (and Pink Shirt Day in Canada) are part of the effort to address bullying and suicide, and many people are out there trying acting in small and large ways to support LGBT youth, help with health issues, etc. It's just that these aren't the subject of big ballot initiatives (for or against) in the USA, and so they aren't in the media.
posted by jb at 4:49 PM on March 27, 2013 [9 favorites]


It was also posted in 2007, so in hindsight the disputes over strategy now have much more clarity to them.

Maybe, but not necessarily in the way that the piece's author would have intended. The 2000s backlash against gay marriage arguably fueled the more recent momentum in support of gay marriage. Just as there's more to HRC than sunshine and puppies, there's more to the fight for gay marriage than people getting it wrong in the 2000s.
posted by Sticherbeast at 4:56 PM on March 27, 2013


I'm not the biggest fan of the HRC (like Navelgazer, I prefer to send my donations to Lambda Legal.) Still put up the red equals sign as my facebook avatar. Because I thought it was a nice way to show solidarity, but fairly meaningless beyond that.
posted by kyrademon at 5:00 PM on March 27, 2013 [5 favorites]


I was "anti-assimilationist" as a college leftist queer firebrand.

Then I grew the fuck up.

Gay marriage is as close as it gets to a no-brainer.

I mean, look, I have as many issues with the institution of marriage as the next anti-capitalist bisexual feminist. Not to mention the wedding industrial complex. Not to mention the fact that I've known since I was a kid that I'd never get married -- not for reasons of gayness, just because, meh.

Not to mention the central "we're here, we're queer, get used to it!" idea, that people should get to be weird, and stay weird, and I can see the ways that the institution of marriage as applied to gay people comes hand in hand with a sort of banal normativity.

But some people who are gay want to get married, and we obviously ought to allow that.

Period.

A lot of the time I think people on the left, especially people working on "identity" issues, enjoy overthinking shit more than we enjoy making people's lives better.
posted by Sara C. at 5:24 PM on March 27, 2013 [55 favorites]


I'm a gay-married (go Washington!) gay man. I'm not a big fan of HRC, but I did change my avatar to the red equals yesterday. I do have to say, as someone for whom this issue is very personal and relevant, as I was checking my Facebook news feed, I noticed that like 80% of the avatars in my feed were the red equals. Seeing such overwhelming support, even something as little as people changing their avatars, really meant a lot.
posted by xedrik at 5:24 PM on March 27, 2013 [9 favorites]


appropriate to the discussion: I just finished Dan Savage's The Commitment, which is a really funny, sweet, irreverent discussion of marriage equality and marriage/commitment in general: why people marry, what makes for a "successful" vs "failed" marriage, should people marry, and so forth. It's particularly interesting because he supported marriage equality, but didn't necessarily want to get married himself. He argues with the haters on why he should be allowed to marry and with his mother on why he personally shouldn't get married, and with his (then) boyfriend about whether tattoos are hot or "jinxy" or both.
posted by jb at 5:27 PM on March 27, 2013


I support the idea of poly-marriage, but I haven't seen one that really deals with issues of consent from all participants. Most traditional poly-systems aren't really poly; they are a series of two-way marriages between one man and each of his wives. Some have may systems built in where sister wives have to agree, but others do not.

And obviously, there are cost issues for things like health benefits, but frankly, poly-households are so few that's really a red herring.

So yeah, I'd support poly-marriages that are consensual (unlike some FLDS marriages), but I'm no lawyer and extending all the rights of marriage to more than one other partner may open a kettle of fish that I don't understand.
posted by jb at 5:34 PM on March 27, 2013 [2 favorites]


ddbeck: The incremental progress route was shown to be plainly wrong for pursuing anti-discrimination laws, given the subsequent conservative backlash. But not accepting incremental progress seems to have been enormously successful in pursuing same-sex marriage. Going to the courts and the ballot box has not been the high-risk gamble it looked like in 2007.

I don't think that's true for either case. I don't see any plausible counterfactual history where anti-discrimination law happens in a non-incremental manner that doesn't engender a conservative backlash. It's just that if we had made the non-incremental drive for anti-discrimination law, we would probably have to suffer through more Roe V. Wade comparisons.

With regards to SSM, I don't see where they didn't take an incremental approach. We went state-by-state instead of federal, went through whatever avenue (judicial, legislative, electoral) available, and where we couldn't get marriage in full we went with civil unions and domestic partnerships. They aren't marriage, but they do provide for substantial and tangible benefits for same-sex couples, and we have seen those state move from pseudo-marriage to full-fledged marriage. I mean, we're still doing this strategy: Colorado just approved civil unions within the week. So I don't see where incrementalism isn't in play there.
posted by Weebot at 5:34 PM on March 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


I think the "antiassimilationist" movement stems from a desire to remove special protections from a particular class of relationship. If we're going to have state recognition of marriage, then, yeah, everyone should be able to get married, but why are we providing all of these economic and legal benefits for people who want to structure their relationships in a fairly narrow way?

Totally.

Last year, some friends got married and asked if I would object to their wedding. For real. So I did (most. nerve-wracking thing. ever.). And this is pretty much the argument I made.

And then they got married and we all danced and celebrated all night, because they loved each other and we loved them and because anybody who wants to get married should be able to. It just shouldn't be a thing that comes bundled with increased rights.
posted by davidjmcgee at 5:38 PM on March 27, 2013 [10 favorites]


As a man who is attracted to women I prefer the term 'otherfucker' (as opposed to gayfolk's 'samefucker') It's so much more colrful than 'straight.' Beyond that, not a bad article, although I simply fall into the 'gay people are people, they deserve the same choices as everyone else" camp.
posted by jonmc at 5:43 PM on March 27, 2013 [4 favorites]


NoraReed: "the equal sign is an explicit symbolization of the homophobic, transphobic, bigoted idea that the pride flag and all it stands for is "too gay" and flamboyant for the mainstream"

Look. I see where you're coming from, and I agree that it sucks.

However, I'm gonna pick the symbol of the movement that worked and won us marriage equality in several states and numerous other victories, rather than the symbol of our parents' generation that inspired DOMA and institutionalized neglect of the AIDS crisis. If I need to be "less gay" in order to win equal protection under the law, I guess I'll begrudgingly tone the few bits of gay culture that don't actually have anything to do with being gay.

There's a lot to dislike about the HRC, but they were very smart to disassociate themselves from the 1960s counterculture by ditching the rainbows.
posted by schmod at 5:47 PM on March 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


What might surprise you is that not all of your queer and LGBTQ friends are necessarily as pumped about this as you might be.

I truly could give a shit whether my lesbian, gay, and transgender friends are "as pumped about this" as I am. I want this because it is morally and legally right.

But they all are pretty god damned pumped and they all fucking put that HRC avatar on their FB pages.
posted by Ironmouth at 5:52 PM on March 27, 2013 [5 favorites]


Weebot: In the case of anti-discrimination, I understood the incremental approach to have been a failure because another option was to be inclusive from the outset, which might've been valuable in weathering the conservative backlash that followed. I agree that the conservative backlash was inevitable and an incremental approach didn't and couldn't have changed that.

As for SSM, arguing before state and federal courts that SSM is a right under existing law doesn't look very incremental to me. Going to the MA supreme court in 2004 or the SCOTUS yesterday, and arguing unequivocally that SSM is a right under existing law weren't exactly baby steps to equality.
posted by ddbeck at 6:07 PM on March 27, 2013


In conversations I've had with friends about this, I get the sense that some of the anti-marriage sentiment comes from the notion that gay people are "special", i.e., better than or at least different than straight people in some positive way, and that asserting marriage rights in some way marginalizes or brings gay people down to the level of "boring", "normal" straight people. True or false, that attitude culturally ghettoizes us and has facilitated continued discrimination as the relationship between gays and straights has normalized.

Here's a slight twist on that idea that you might find more amenable: some of the anti-marriage sentiment comes from the notion that gay culture is special, that the lived experience of generations of queers whose incentives to challenge the social norms and prevailing models for human relationships revealed alternatives to marriage which are superior.

I know many gay men of my generation formed lasting emotional relationships that persisted after an initial period of intense sexual connection, leaving both partners free to engage in sexual relationships with others while enjoying intimacy, trust and love as they grew old together.

I think for many people, monogamy is unsatisfying, and its status as a powerful social norm is pernicious. The gay liberation movement offered a challenge to that status quo, and the gay marriage movement reinfornces it.

Regarding the Human Rights Campaign: they have refused to take a position against the death penalty because it's not a LGBTQ issue. Of course, it is a human rights issue, but the Human Rights Campaign isn't a human rights organization. It's just a group that doesn't want the word Gay as part of its name.
posted by layceepee at 6:09 PM on March 27, 2013 [3 favorites]


Dan Savage is a bigoted piece of shit and I'd like it if people stopped citing him on things.
posted by Pope Guilty at 6:18 PM on March 27, 2013 [12 favorites]


However, I'm gonna pick the symbol of the movement that worked and won us marriage equality in several states and numerous other victories, rather than the symbol of our parents' generation that inspired DOMA and institutionalized neglect of the AIDS crisis.

What has the HRC actually done? I'll admit I'm coming from a context that doesn't think particularly highly of the HRC, so I'm inclined to be cynical, but the HRC really isn't the group I think of when talking about working for or winning marriage equality.

Suppose a miracle occurs and the Supreme Court rules that same sex marriage must be permitted everywhere. The HRC is conspicuously absent from the timeline. (Maybe Lambda Legal is in a fight with the HRC and left them off, but I doubt it.) When I hear "HRC" I think fundraising dinners, the ENDA debacle and then, a distant third, the corporate equality ratings. (Looking at their website, I see they've expanded into rating hospitals and municipalities, too.) In other words, if I want to get something done, the HRC isn't who I'm calling first.
posted by hoyland at 6:18 PM on March 27, 2013 [2 favorites]


Having looked over the links, I think this quote about coalition politics comes to mind (from Bernice Reagan by way of Bonnie Honig):

"Coalition politics is not easy. When you feel like you might 'keel over at any minute and die,' when 'you feel threatened to the core,' then 'you're really doing coaltion work.'"

I think that the one under-appreciated factor is that the LGBT community is just how difficult maintaining such a diverse coalition can be, especially when you're thought of as a single constituency group analogous to, say, the Latino community, where immigration reform is the big issue to organize around and everyone is relatively on-board. Which isn't to say that the Latino community doesn't have it's own factions, but that the LGBT community has far more prominent divisions (it's even right there in the acronym moniker!).
posted by Weebot at 6:21 PM on March 27, 2013 [4 favorites]


Meh, I don't need all my queer allies to be pro marriage. Not all my single friends want to get married either. But I do think that my government shouldn't treat one group of law-abiding U.S. citizens differently from other law-abiding U.S. citizens.
posted by _paegan_ at 6:22 PM on March 27, 2013 [4 favorites]


I definitely agree that same-sex marriage needs to happen, and that the political efforts to make it happen have been incredible. I made the post because I think that the politics of it are interesting in the queer community, and shouldn't be forgotten even as we celebrate getting these rights.

One of the most interesting things to me is the importance of societal recognition of the legitimacy of relationships (what marriage is about, really). Lacking such recognition, queer communities have developed all sorts of other institutions that serve such a function, but the advent of same-sex marriage will be obviously beneficial in terms of institutional recognition. We just have to remember that ending public discrimination won't be sufficient.
posted by lookoutbelow at 6:31 PM on March 27, 2013


ddbeck: I think that arguing in state court is pretty incremental, particularly since you can pick and choose which state has the most favorable laws, precedent, and judicial system. Eventually, once the amendments and statues started coming up in response, we began to pick and choose our states by how friendly their legislatures are and the possible compositions of their electorate (for ballot initiatives).

Remember, the federal court strategy has been an option for a while now, but was specifically not taken up by any prominent LGBT group for fear of a bad ruling that would set hard-to-undo precedent. Ted Olson and David Boies basically took it upon themselves to pursue this legal strategy, and eventually the groups decided to come along for the ride.
posted by Weebot at 6:31 PM on March 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


"I can kind of understand the frustration with seeing resources diverted to the marriage cause, and away from other causes, but it is still progress, isn't it?"

I understand that, though honestly, for a lot of groups marriage is the issue that funds all their other activism. So that means that money that comes in from a fundraising appeal about HEY LOOK MARRIAGE then goes to do things like advocating for trans inclusion in cultural competency standards or public education campaigns that talk broadly about LGBT experience. A lot of groups that do LGBT advocacy work are trying to pivot now as much as possible, but are really worried about sustaining the momentum (which is why public education is really, I think, the long run winner).

Also, something else to note: Anti-marriage queer groups represent a tiny minority of LGBT people. There's a leveling of discourse that happens — especially with the internet — where groups get a disproportionate level of attention, which I think is ultimately a good thing because I think that queer critiques make the movement stronger, but from looking at polling data, it's like 95 percent of LGBT people support marriage for same sex couples, and the ones that don't are disproportionately old.
posted by klangklangston at 6:36 PM on March 27, 2013 [3 favorites]


Of course, while civil marriage continues to be a thing, it should be a thing everyone is entitled to, but I'd ultimately really like to see the government get out of the love business. Sure, I understand the practicality behind having the ability to form financial/administrative unions, but why can't the person I do that with be my sister, or my best platonic friend?
posted by threeants at 6:37 PM on March 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


One of the other advantages of focusing on marriage is that, honestly, it distracts the opposition a lot too. It lets us get past more progressive legislation in other places.

(And GLAAD has said that trans issues are the next big priority, which will hopefully help get out that public ed that needs to happen nationally.)
posted by klangklangston at 6:37 PM on March 27, 2013 [2 favorites]


...The incremental progress route was shown to be plainly wrong for pursuing anti-discrimination laws, given the subsequent conservative backlash. But not accepting incremental progress seems to have been enormously successful in pursuing same-sex marriage...
posted by ddbeck

That's simply not true. I worked on (then) LGB civil rights legislation, including domestic partnerships, starting in 1982 in Massachusetts, with the first bill being signed by Gov. Dukakis. It took about 30 years until MA legalized SSM via increasing levels of housing and job protections, domestic partnerships, adoption rights, employer DP benefits, and so on. Finally reaching SSM was a small step along that route - I am sure there will be further legislation and court decisions needed.

In Washington state, where I went on with my activism, our first attempted SSM license was in 1971 (by Faygele ben Miriam). I and my then-partner were the first female couple to register a DP in Washington in about 1992 - in WA, only same-sex couples or complementary sex couples impacted by retirement benefits, have access to DP. In the 20 years since then, about every other year we've had successful legislative efforts by Cal Anderson, his former aide and senatorial replacement Ed Murray, and Representative Jamie Petersen, among others. This culminated in changing all marriage-related state laws to be gender-neutral, and when that was challenged by bigoted initiative, affirming SSM by defeating that initiative. Incrementalism is exactly what Cal and Ed termed it, and it worked beautifully, if slowly, for WA.
posted by Dreidl at 6:40 PM on March 27, 2013 [11 favorites]


"As for SSM, arguing before state and federal courts that SSM is a right under existing law doesn't look very incremental to me. Going to the MA supreme court in 2004 or the SCOTUS yesterday, and arguing unequivocally that SSM is a right under existing law weren't exactly baby steps to equality."

So, I can actually speak a little bit about this in California: EQCA won a lawsuit in 2008 to legalize marriage for same sex couples. What preceded that was 10 years of deliberate legislative and civil work to make that decision inevitable. That included getting only tangentially connected riders attached to bills on, say, child rearing or licensure statutes or data collection, where the riders specifically entered into the legislative record that LGBT people weren't a threat to children, or we harmed by discriminatory practices or needed cultural competency standards to include them. It included domestic partner bills and gender non-discrimination bills and all sorts of other laws passed with the explicit goal of creating a legal background where marriage was inevitable.

Honestly, if you don't think that incrementalism was essential to legal victories for LGBT people, you haven't actually got a great grasp on what preceded the victories LGBT people have had.
posted by klangklangston at 6:54 PM on March 27, 2013 [11 favorites]


I'm all for gay marriage, I just wish it wasn't the main focus. Anti-discrimination laws are a lot more important, but don't get the attention or fundraising. I am totally stoked about these court cases, but mostly because there the a chance that LGBT people might get heightened scrutiny.

As for HRC, I'm not a huge fan of them, pretty much for the reasons stated above. But back when hating on LGBT people was the major republican strategy (as opposed to an obsessive and popular hobby), seeing an HRC equality sticker made me feel better, like I wasn't alone. Seeing one still brightens my day a little, and that's why I have one on my car.
posted by Garm at 7:06 PM on March 27, 2013


Also, can we start using QUILTBAG? I still really want that one to catch on.
posted by Garm at 7:08 PM on March 27, 2013 [9 favorites]


The thing about the pride flag is not that it's too "gay", it's that it feels a little exclusive.

I, as a straight ally, don't generally feel comfortable flying the pride flag or wearing rainbow colours, because it really seems like the symbol of a group that I don't belong to, and I want to respect that I don't belong by not appropriating.

Regardless of how one feels about the HRC, an "equality" sign is something that straights and GLBTs alike can see as representing them and their beliefs.

of course I didn't change my fb icon at all, due to a combination of high-minded ideas about the SCOTUS not being influenced by popularity contests and laziness
posted by sparklemotion at 7:10 PM on March 27, 2013 [7 favorites]


Here's a slight twist on that idea that you might find more amenable: some of the anti-marriage sentiment comes from the notion that gay culture is special, that the lived experience of generations of queers whose incentives to challenge the social norms and prevailing models for human relationships revealed alternatives to marriage which are superior.

It may die, you know. Gay culture. Talleyrand always wins the Revolution, and Robespierre always gets the knife. I wonder if people will mind very much, or if it'll be like the Shakers: a certain reverence for the artifacts, but an extinct culture nonetheless.

How much of what is essential to gay culture is an artifact of the closet? Camp and irony, parody; it all starts with distance and doubleness, being on the outside looking in and willing oneself to mimic what another does without thought. We may find out yet, in our lifetimes.

Or maybe not. You can't erase all differences though acceptance, even if acceptance is wholehearted. It will be interesting to see.
posted by Diablevert at 7:12 PM on March 27, 2013 [3 favorites]


I think for many people, monogamy is unsatisfying

Marriage and monogamy have no legal/official relation, however. Even in states that may still have adultery laws on the books, is there anywhere that enforces it? I know plenty of openly non monogamous married people.

Dan Savage is a bigoted piece of shit and I'd like it if people stopped citing him on things.

While he may not be perfect, in general when I hear him talk about trans issues on the podcast he doesn't come across this way at all (one of those links was from 10 years ago, the others from 3-4 years ago and if you listen to the podcast over the years you can see his evolution on this issue). Even on the trans issue, I think he does way more good than harm. You're free to disagree, but I certainly won't stop "citing" him over it.
posted by wildcrdj at 7:17 PM on March 27, 2013 [6 favorites]


> That's simply not true.
> you haven't actually got a great grasp on what preceded the victories LGBT people have had.

OK, withdrawn. Apparently there's more to the story. Though in my defense, a lot of the story has been either invisible or opaque, without the benefit of the fanfare that accompanies election day results and judges handing down opinions.
posted by ddbeck at 7:21 PM on March 27, 2013


(God I hate all the TLAs nd FLAs flying about. Use words, ffs. oops)

Genuine social conservatives may have had religious or "traditional" qualms about same-sex marriage, but please don't lose sight of the fact that the conservative establishment didn't pursue anti-same-sex marriage because of convictions, they pursued it because it was a very effective wedge issue that helped push people into their tent.

Therefore, same-sex marriage has been worthy of an intense, strong focus to beat the opposition into the ground, to defang it as a right-wing rallying point. The success of this effort is obvious - Republicans are quietly (or not so quietly) retiring it as a campaign issue.

Rights can be banal. Marriages can be banal. They can also be life-changing and life-defining choices. My marriage is the single best thing I've ever been involved with, it sustains me, and the best I could wish for anyone is that they find a relationship as great as my marriage. Whatever your orientation.

Those who would belittle marriage, or the importance of according same-sex marriage the same status and recognition, can go fuck themselves, or who/whatever they think they should be fucking.
posted by Artful Codger at 7:28 PM on March 27, 2013 [3 favorites]


...The incremental progress route was shown to be plainly wrong for pursuing anti-discrimination laws, given the subsequent conservative backlash.

Millions who have obtained relief under these laws would disagree. Don't let the pictures conservatives draw obscure the reality of these laws.
posted by Ironmouth at 7:30 PM on March 27, 2013


I've never been much interested in marriage, and I'm not religious, so I've long thought "Meh, ditch the whole thing. Civil unions for everybody if they want 'em. " But I know marriage is important to some people, and if its available to some it should be available to others.

But...anybody who thinks that there's any chance to abolish marriage (or some close analog like civil unions) any time in the foreseeable future is just kidding themself. It just ain't going to happen. And that's probably a good thing. Roughly this kind of institution--one that encourages something like pair-bonding and a comparatively stable platform for child-rearing--has served us pretty well, and it would be insane to cast it off in anything even vaguely resembling haste. And I say this as somebody who also doesn't care about monogamy and doesn't want kids.

Anyway: marraige equality: sane and good. Radical social experimentation with the fundamental institution of society on the basis of shaky reasoning and notoriously poorly-supported theories: not a good idea. You don't want to get married, don't get married. That's what I did. But the institution, quaint as it might seem to some, works well. It's not for me, but I rest easer knowing that it's not going away any time soon.
posted by Fists O'Fury at 7:45 PM on March 27, 2013 [3 favorites]


Re gay culture "dying" because of this --

Bullshit.

Firstly, I know plenty of people who are heavily involved in said subculture, and are married. The idea that marriage is for squares, and allowing marriage will somehow pollute gay culture by turning everyone boring is almost as stupid as the idea that allowing gays to marry will somehow tarnish the institution.

Secondly, just like in flamboyant hetero subcultures, people who want to get married will, and people who don't want to get married won't. Nobody is worried that the existence of marriage as an institution is ruining football or knitting circles or steampunk or comic book conventions. Nobody thinks hetero marriage is a problem for art made by the many, many straight artists who exist.

Thirdly, back in the day when the gay rights movement was in its infancy, there were several factions, each with their own approach. Just like now, there were people who were more into the cultural scenes (drag, camp, etc), more into revolutionary politics, or more into "acceptance" and working within the system to pass civil rights legislation that would help the gay community. The idea that the 70's was all about flamboyant gay liberationists and the movement now is about a bunch of boring "normals" who just want to watch Ellen and drive Subarus is an absolute fallacy that manages to render the real individuals in these diverse factions invisible in the name of... being Right on the internet, or whatever, I guess?

Fourthly, if gay culture is so weak that simply being recognized as worthy human beings is enough to kill it, maybe gay culture isn't that awesome.
posted by Sara C. at 7:53 PM on March 27, 2013 [7 favorites]


Fourthly, if gay culture is so weak that simply being recognized as worthy human beings is enough to kill it, maybe gay culture isn't that awesome.

This logic is pretty terrible. Is there any culture that has disappeared because of the presence of a larger or more powerful culture that one would suggest simply wasn't 'awesome enough'?
posted by hoyland at 8:06 PM on March 27, 2013 [2 favorites]


Anyone who thinks hetero married couples are all monogamous and boring is welcome to check out FetLife.
posted by desjardins at 8:06 PM on March 27, 2013


So I made this link back at the beginning of the thread? Let me explain it some more. Polikoff is a legal scholar who argues that same sex marriage is important from a civil rights perspective. But/and also, she looks at the protections and purposes of marriage as a legal institution, and shows examples where even extending marriage to same sex couples leaves out many families and households, but also gives exampes for how various legal jurisdictions which the same basic legal structure as the US do certain things differently, and how this can all be drawn together to protect all families and households. In addition to getting civil rights for same sex romantic couples, which she agrees is totes a good and important thing.

For example, a significant proportion of families in present-day US don't consist of a romantically paired couple of parents along with some kids. Neither is this the historical norm. In addition to non-hetero couples, biological parents also often share parenting duties with their own biological relatives (a live-in grandparent, for example), and sometimes even with another adult whom they are neither related to nor romantically involved with. Polikoff looks at ways to maintain such families in the event of the death of the legal, biological parent, that can be based on actual parenting-type relationships in existence beforehand.

Then there's issues of who should be appointed to make legal and medical decisions for you in the event that you become incapacitated but don't have a living will (which is most people without kids). She also discusses legal bases for making this decision based on your actual close relationships (romantic or not) prior to your becoming incapacitated rather than societal assumptions around familial relationships.

Or, say you own a house that you've been living in with your household, no matter what your familial or romantic relationships to others in your household are, for many years. For whatever reason, the property is just in your name. And then you die. Polikoff discusses how your household can be protected and not kicked out of their home in a way that doesn't rely on you being romantically involved with another household member or them being your next of kin.

I'm just giving the brief overview - she gives real examples to convince the reader that what she addresses in the book are real issues, not hypotheticals. It's a good read whether yo care about same sex marriage one way or another or couldn't care less, because it's really eye opening how these sort of legal framework issues can potentially affect each of us no matter our sexuality or relationship status.
posted by eviemath at 8:14 PM on March 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


My feelings about this are complicated. I'm intersex by birth, and so is my spouse--that's one of the things that brought us together. Like 1 in 150 Americans (numbers that do vary by nation, due to ethnic and environmental factors), we were both born sexually intermediate, though with different physical statuses. She was assigned male at birth and surgically altered in infancy; I was assigned female and not surgically altered until later in life. These surgical alterations of intersex bodies are typically imposed without our consent and can have rather drastic effects, such as the loss of sexual sensation and/or fertility, and the assignment of a child to a sex with which they do not identify. In fact, neither my wife nor I turned out to identify with the sexes we were assigned at birth, and we've both since gender transitioned.

Like most openly intersex people, my spouse and I are strongly opposed to the forced sex changes that are imposed on people like us in childhood. And one of the main reasons these procedures are said to be justified by our medicolegal system is that they are necessary to allow intersex children to grow up to be able to marry and have satisfying adult relationships. My wife and I do indeed live in a state that changed its constitution by referendum to limit marriage to "one man and one woman." In fact, in our state, if a couple that is not composed of "one man and one woman" goes elsewhere to marry, this is deemed a felony and punishable by jail time and a $10,000 fine.

My spouse and I married out of state. I live as a man and she lives as a woman, but we were both born intersex. According to our birth certificates (I've been able to change mine; she can't change hers because her birth state requires genital reassignment surgery that (1) she's considered a "poor candidate" for due to her infant genital reassignment, (2) we can't afford, and (3) she doesn't want anyway, since she'd like to keep what little physical sensation she retains), we share the same birth certificate binary sex. And our state based sex determinations for marriage purposes on birth certificates. So we could potentially face very negative consequences, and invalidating same-sex marriage bans would make our lives more secure.

Thus, as intersex people, we'd like to see an end to same-sex marriage bans.

But it's also true that one of the central reasons we got married was that I have health insurance, and my spouse, who's disabled, really needed it. Fine, we benefit (at least until some person or institution challenges the legality of our marriage)--but there are plenty of other disabled and trans and otherwise marginalized people who deserve good health insurance just as much. The whole system of providing people with benefits that are dependent upon getting married is ludicrous. We're poly. What if we add another partner to our marriage? Zie won't be recognized as such at law, and can't get any benefits.

Further, even though my wife now has medical benefits under my plan, she's treated very poorly by medical practitioners in our conservative state, who are so focused on her sex and gender variance that they pay scant attention to her totally unrelated medical needs. What we really need in terms of LGBT+ rights are protections for trans and intersex people that would make it clear to these doctors and nurses that their unequal treatment of people like us is impermissible. Same-sex marriage protection isn't going to do that for people like us.

And we're white, in a very segregated state where that is a big advantage. And at least I have a job.

Frankly, I'm not pleased that so much LGBT+ political capital has been spent on same-sex marriage. Yes, it's relevant to our lives, but there are so many other needs that haven't been addressed. The people who will benefit most from equal same-sex marriage laws are the most privileged in the LGBT+ communities. I've fought for same-sex marriage. I've gone campaigning door-to-door, I've given money. But I worry that I've given my time and energy to people in my own community that may not have my back when we are supposed to finally get around to working on the rights of the "fringes."
posted by DrMew at 8:16 PM on March 27, 2013 [37 favorites]


I have been bothered by a few things:

-- I wish I had seen this public solidarity when the Supreme Court was hearing arguments against a provision of the Voting Rights Act.

-- I get frustrated by the idea that if gay marriage is federally legalized, we won't have to worry about other issues in the gay community, or that the ONLY other issue in the gay community is transphobia.

-- I am on my boyfriend's health plan as a domestic partner, and he has to pay $200 more in taxes a month because of that. If we were married, he wouldn't have to. I don't think that's right, and I do think the issue is beyond straight marriage and same sex marriage.

These issues are complex and I don't want to see this movement, and what it could spawn, paralyzed by symbolism.
posted by girlmightlive at 8:17 PM on March 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


or that the ONLY other issue in the gay community is transphobia.

Given that the relationship between the LGB and the T is fraught at best, I don't think anyone is suffering from this delusion.
posted by hoyland at 8:19 PM on March 27, 2013


The people who will benefit most from equal same-sex marriage laws are the most privileged in the LGBT+ communities.

Is this true?

It seems to me that the nice thing about universally available marriage in all 50 states, and forcing states to recognize marriages performed in other states just like the Constitution mandates, would be that anyone could get married, regardless of race or class.

It seems to me that, right now, with the patchwork of states that allow gay marriage, a well off couple can just fly to New York or wherever, get married, and then hire attorneys and talk to HR and patch together some legal assurances that their individual marriage will be respected inasmuch as that's possible.

If gay marriage were universally available in the US, you'd just go down to the courthouse. And your hospital and your health plan and your kids' school would be forced to recognize it, just as they are forced to recognize other marriages. If anything, it seems like gay marriage would be an equalizer rather than something only for the privileged as it is right now.
posted by Sara C. at 8:26 PM on March 27, 2013 [3 favorites]


If anything, it seems like gay marriage would be an equalizer rather than something only for the privileged as it is right now.

The issue is that if you're marginally employed and facing discrimination because you're queer, whether or not you can get married might not be as high on your list of concerns as it is on other people's. So you might accept postponing the ability to marry for better non-discrimination protection, for example.
posted by hoyland at 8:33 PM on March 27, 2013


In other words, it's totally an equalizer, but there's a certain amount of privilege involved in having marriage be your top priority.
posted by hoyland at 8:34 PM on March 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


What I'm sick of seeing is the endless memes touting the message of "Everyone deserves love!" Oh for fuck's sake if that's not a red herring. GLBTQs have LOVE what we lack is equal legal status! But yes, straight allies, make this about love because that makes you feel fuzzy inside.

(Also, marriage = love is so laughable as to be just downright hilarious. Yes, people have ALWAYS married for love and all married people are totally in love all the time!)
posted by sonika at 8:39 PM on March 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


In other words, it's totally an equalizer, but there's a certain amount of privilege involved in having marriage be your top priority.

That's the thought I was trying to convey with my comment about transphobia. Just as much as there are people who think "we don't need voting rights laws anymore because we have a black president," the privilege issue is why some gay people I know resent the laser-like focus on marriage.
posted by girlmightlive at 8:40 PM on March 27, 2013


Legalizing same-sex marriage will end discrimination against gay people just like legalizing interracial marriage ended racism.
posted by notme at 8:42 PM on March 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


Also, can we start using QUILTBAG? I still really want that one to catch on.

Ugh. Please, no. I sincerely believe that one of the biggest problems in LGBTQ activism is that it's all lumped together. It's problematic for a couple reasons, not least of which is that it means that we're all seen as a homogenous group.

Queerness and other variations on the theme are horizontal identities--that is, they arise independently of one's family background. Queerness isn't hereditary; queer kids do not equal queer parents. Unlike hereditary things, most queer people don't grow up in queer culture--it's something that they come to on their own, as a teenager or later. (This is maybe changing with kids who are young right now, but for ten year old me, twenty-five years ago, it was pretty accurate.) So "queer culture"--any acronym for it--has no shared culture to fall back on.

Many identity groups and ethnic groups can be assumed to have at least some sort of shared background--people from area X are overwhelmingly religion Y and grew up eating food Z--and while you're not always going to hit the mark with assumptions in that vein, the odds are decent that you will sometimes. But with queers, it's different.

I'm a queer (sex and gender) soft butch mostly asexual lesbian. My partner grew up a hundred miles away from me and is a gay trans man. Our cultural backgrounds have basically no resemblance at all--and if you threw, say, a gay man from NYC, or a trans woman from San Francisco, or any number of other people into the mix, you would find...more total lack of commonalities. Other than the fact that we all bone (or don't bone, in some cases) people in ways that the Christian Right doesn't approve of, there's basically nothing. There's no shared culture, or religion, or comfort food, or holiday tradition--there's nothing that you can say is distinctively LGBT/LGBTQ/QUILTBAG/whatever, and I'd argue that you'll find more differences than you do commonalities.

Saying anything about queer people is always, always going to either leave out or misrepresent a substantial portion of the population that you're discussing. I understand why we've all been lumped together, especially because things like gay marriage, etc, tend to affect us as a group, but I think that it does a grave disservice to the less-populated letters (primarily the trans and intersex contingents, but also, realistically, it de-emphasizes who's not a gay white cisman). It also leaves out other aspects of queerness--poly people are the obvious group, but I'm sure that there are others that I'm not immediately thinking of.

I'm super in favor of gay marriage, not least because it would immediately benefit me in huge ways. (Health insurance, ahoy.) But I worry that the reason it's drawn so much attention is because it's been spearheaded by the G and L contingents of the queer spectrum--the "most normal" parts, if you'll forgive it. But by lumping everyone together, we allow the G and L bits to become the default, and I fear that the unique needs of other members of the not-really-a-community will be erased in the process.
posted by MeghanC at 8:48 PM on March 27, 2013 [11 favorites]


The issue is that if you're marginally employed and facing discrimination because you're queer, whether or not you can get married might not be as high on your list of concerns as it is on other people's.

So, let's never do anything because we'll never find that perfect vanguard cause to get behind that is the MOST helpful to the LEAST privileged people, ever. I guess.

This is sort of a "perfect is the enemy of the good" line of reasoning.

I agree that ENDA laws are probably more important than gay marriage. I agree that gay rights, as a cause, is something that is not even remotely solved.

But I think it's stupid to oppose progress because it's not the best possible progress, or because it's possible to find other causes to support, or because it's not a magic bullet issue that's not going to solve every problem for everyone.

There were probably people during the 60's who thought the Freedom Rides to register black voters in the south were silly because, shit, these potential black voters are impoverished and their children are going uneducated and they're not even allowed to sit in the front of the damn bus. That doesn't mean registering black voters wasn't a worthwhile thing to do.
posted by Sara C. at 8:59 PM on March 27, 2013 [4 favorites]


we allow the G and L bits to become the default, and I fear that the unique needs of other members of the not-really-a-community will be erased in the process.

Preach it. As a B, I see this all the time. I get it, I have assumed straight privilege because I'm married to a cis member of the opposite sex. But... I have quite a lot personally invested in LGBTQ politics. Being a stealth queer often means being ignored by both the straight AND LGBTQ communities.

Also, please use "same sex marriage" not "gay marriage." Plenty of bisexuals, intersex, and trans* folks who don't identify as G or L are fighting for the legal right to marry.
posted by sonika at 9:03 PM on March 27, 2013 [5 favorites]


Dan Savage is a bigoted piece of shit and I'd like it if people stopped citing him on things.

And whenever I look up all of the supposed occasions of his terrible bigotry, I find that he has a) changed his mind or b) was misquoted/misunderstood in the first place (as with his supposed bi-phobia, which was never true).

No, he's not a soft-spoken man. He says things in a harsh way and often without thinking them through. Id be shocked if he hasn't offended just about everyone on the planet at least once. That said, I've found him to be just about one of the most sensitive commentators on all manner of things - from kink to coming out to family issues to grief - and a hell of a lot more honest and less annoying than the policing, fractalling, perfection-enemy-of-the-good activist types.

And his writing on marriage is still excellent.
posted by jb at 9:05 PM on March 27, 2013 [5 favorites]


Pope Guilty: "Dan Savage is a bigoted piece of shit and I'd like it if people stopped citing him on things."

Read that link, and it doesn't present a compelling case for its headline, and belittles actual transphobia.

Hopefully, our society is going to become more accepting of transgendered persons. However, we're not going to get there by yelling about grammar or condemning people who are not completely 100% behind the cause. Those tactics won't be effective until at least 50% of the population is on our side.
posted by schmod at 9:19 PM on March 27, 2013 [2 favorites]


Transphobic or no, Dan Savage is still shitty to bi folks:
[B]efore angry bisexuals start pounding away at their keyboards, consider this: My current position on bisexuals winding up with opposite-sex partners (you're mostly straight) is a hell of a lot more charitable than my previous position (you're cowards, liars, cheats, etc.). [source]
So, it has nothing to do with statistics or the way he's been saying for years that bisexuals don't actually exist, so if your'e gay or lesbian don't date someone who says they're bi because they'll just break your heart when it turns out they were straight after all? Hm.

As a bi man (who doesn't identify politically as such but nevertheless is), married to a bi woman, I can think of some other reasons than "people who say they're bi are mostly straight" for why we ended up this way. He's no longer calling us cowards, liars and cheats? Wow, how... thoughtful of him.
posted by hades at 11:53 PM on March 27, 2013 [4 favorites]


"I, as a straight ally, don't generally feel comfortable flying the pride flag or wearing rainbow colours, because it really seems like the symbol of a group that I don't belong to, and I want to respect that I don't belong by not appropriating."

Hey, as a straighto who was wearing a Queer Contingent May Day shirt the other day, it's fine to wear the rainbow and be comfortable so long as you support full equality for the LGBT community. I understand not wanting to appropriate, and I probably wouldn't be strapping on the pink triangle, but showing solidarity with a rainbow flag is something that PFLAG and GSAs have been doing forever.

"What I'm sick of seeing is the endless memes touting the message of "Everyone deserves love!" Oh for fuck's sake if that's not a red herring. GLBTQs have LOVE what we lack is equal legal status! But yes, straight allies, make this about love because that makes you feel fuzzy inside. "

Sorry you're sick of it, but the honest truth is that we've already got you and don't need to convince you of anything. Rights framing loses votes. People interpret it in terms of this minority trying to worm special privileges out of the straight majority; people in focus groups volunteer descriptors like "whiny" and "entitled." Doesn't matter that they're wrong, what matters is how to get the outcome that actually results in those rights, which means making the conversation about love. Love framing wins votes.

"Also, please use "same sex marriage" not "gay marriage." Plenty of bisexuals, intersex, and trans* folks who don't identify as G or L are fighting for the legal right to marry."

Actually, it's marriage for same-sex couples. It's not a different kind of marriage; it's the same kind of marriage only for a different set of couples.

(Also, the real reason why broadcasting something as "gay marriage" is dumb isn't because it alienates too many people within the movement — they'll grouse but still vote for it — but because too many straight people still think "gay" and "lesbian" are slurs, "gay" especially. Which is also why it's not GLBT in the big orgs' messaging: "lesbian and gay" tests significantly better than "gay and lesbian." Voters think "gay and lesbian" is a slur, even a lot of folks who vote with us.)
posted by klangklangston at 11:54 PM on March 27, 2013 [4 favorites]


(And, yes, I know that quote I posted is almost seven years old, but he reposted it a few weeks ago without comment. If his opinions have changed in the interim, I haven't seen much evidence of it.)
posted by hades at 12:00 AM on March 28, 2013


It seems to me that the nice thing about universally available marriage in all 50 states, and forcing states to recognize marriages performed in other states just like the Constitution mandates, would be that anyone could get married, regardless of race or class.

Except currently, in the US, marriage (OSM or SSM) is increasingly a class privilege. Here are some figures:
For men 1970-2011, about a 30% decrease in marriage rates at earnings under -10% of average, with a larger proportion of men being married the more they make. Less <12% decrease for guys earning median or more.
For women 1970-2011, a roughly similar decrease in marriage rates EXCEPT for women in the top 5% of earners - they have INCREASED their marriage rates by more than 10%!
posted by Dreidl at 12:49 AM on March 28, 2013


Sure, I understand the practicality behind having the ability to form financial/administrative unions, but why can't the person I do that with be my sister, or my best platonic friend?

You can in the Netherlands, through a samenlevingscontract, which gives you some, but not all of the right of marriage or civil partnership. Basically it's up to you to decide what to put into the contract, but you do get some tax breaks from it.
posted by MartinWisse at 4:40 AM on March 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


A big "thank you" to those who have shared their own stories in this thread.
posted by jepler at 5:20 AM on March 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


I get so discouraged by the sort of idealistic lust there is for pyrrhic victories.

Yeah, there are issues with marriage as it's practiced now, but the whole instinct to refuse to accept any progress but an outright (and, in the context of US society, at least, impossible) ground-up revision of the legal recognition of relationships is just so emblematic of why the left has been largely stalled for the last thirty years.

I'm not in a relationship right now, but if I was, I would want my husband to be entitled to the rights of inheritance, and of medical authority, and of financial combination that a hypothetical wife would have, and all it takes to make that happen is changing "husband" and "wife" on the form to "spouse" and "spouse." If, as the next agenda item, you want to tackle the unbelievable legal and financial complexity of implementing some sort of ultramodern and completely non-oppressive system of relationships based on algebraic combinations of consenting adults, by all means, make that attempt, but there's no reason to scuttle a greater good because it's not perfect, because in human society, you will always be running up that same old hill. If you're good, and your proposal is good, and if you can articulate it in a way as to make people agree that it's reasonable, you'll succeed, but in the meantime, lives can be made better with an incremental improvement, too.
posted by sonascope at 5:40 AM on March 28, 2013 [4 favorites]


hades: again, it's a quote taken out of context, and it's probably true. Just as there are more Kinsey 0s in the world than Kinsey 6s, I bet there are a hell of a lot more 1s and 2s than there are 5s, 4s or even 3s. He doesn't say all bisexuals lean towards the hetero end, he says most.

And you know what? I totally understand why he's been skeptical about bisexuality in the past. As a gay man, he's met a hell of a lot of men who identify as bi because it's safer than identifying as gay -- but who really were on the path of "bi now, gay later." That said, a lot of people also go through a stage of "bi now, straight later," at least in practice, probably because we have more flexible sexuality as teens and we really are a little more bi then. Recognising this, even if it does not apply in your case, isn't being "shitty" to bi people.

but this is turning into a huge derail - unless it's just another example about how leftist orthodoxy seems more interested in destroying its allies than focusing on enemies.
posted by jb at 5:51 AM on March 28, 2013


Except currently, in the US, marriage (OSM or SSM) is increasingly a class privilege.

I don't think this is what you can conclude from those numbers. At best, you can conclude that the benefits of marriage increase with income, causing people with higher incomes to be more inclined to marry. But that doesn't make getting married in the first place a manifestation of privilege.

(Where I am, there is a weird class-based discrimination in marriage licenses. A marriage license costs $115, but that gets knocked down to $40 if you have 12 hours of 'pre-marriage education'. In other words, you're saving $6.25/hour for this education. Minimum wage here is $7.25/hour. So unless you do your 12 hours all in one day, you're probably better off trying to work those 12 hours. They're either trying to offer the religious a discount or penalise the poor.)

And you know what? I totally understand why he's been skeptical about bisexuality in the past. As a gay man, he's met a hell of a lot of men who identify as bi because it's safer than identifying as gay -- but who really were on the path of "bi now, gay later." That said, a lot of people also go through a stage of "bi now, straight later," at least in practice, probably because we have more flexible sexuality as teens and we really are a little more bi then. Recognising this, even if it does not apply in your case, isn't being "shitty" to bi people.

No, it really is being shitty to bi people. He's all "I called myself bi when I was 16 and look at me now, so they're just confused." and just totally ignores that some people are bi.
posted by hoyland at 5:59 AM on March 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


For example, which is meant to be an article about how not biphobic he is. He can't figure out that it makes sense more bi people would be in opposite-sex relationships because there are more people out there interested in opposite-sex relationships. I'm a guy. There are only so many men interested in relationships with men. There are a hell of a lot more women interested in relationships with men. Stands to reason that if I'm bi, I'd be more likely to be dating a woman, as they'd be the majority of my dating pool.

Then we have 'bi people aren't out to their partners'. Not based on any sort of research I could spot, but based on the people who write to him for advice. I see three obvious classes of questions from bi people he could get. 1) I'm bi and gay/straight people won't date me. (I'm guessing Dan Savage tells them they're really gay and to get over themselves.) 2) I'm bi and my partner is unhappy about [thing related to me being bi]. 3) I'm bi and I'm not out to my partner and [something]. Anything else, the fact the writer is bi isn't relevant. And if I were bi and writing to Dan Savage, I'd just not mention being bi unless it were directly relevant.

And then... ready for the ending?
I'm sorry, bisexual activists, but you're doing it all wrong. Instead of berating me for my alleged bi-phobia—and if I'm the enemy, you're in real trouble—berate your closeted compatriots. If they all came out tomorrow, you could put an end to bi-phobia, take over the LGBT movement, and kick my ass out of it.
You really think Dan Savage isn't a biphobic asshole?
posted by hoyland at 6:10 AM on March 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


Most of my GLBT friends don't actually seem that conflicted, though I understand that they aren't some sort of scientific sample. Some of them would like to get married and others seem to see this as a sign of acceptance and love.

One very political lesbian friend (maybe friend isn't the word, as she always seems torn between actually liking me and thinking that she shouldn't be friends with a square, straight dude) did seem a bit conflicted but (1) she lives in MA and is married, (2) she posted something saying that now that she's actually been married she has more of an understanding of why it can make sense practically, and (3) even she wants to equal marriage rights and her conflictedness is along the lines of having a long-term desire to completely re-make society.

As for those people who would rather push to abolish marriage, I have some understanding of the thinking but it doesn't seem feasible as a short or medium-term goal. I personally like being married and would resist attempts to do away with my civil marriage, and I don't think I'd be alone in taking that stance.
posted by Area Man at 6:14 AM on March 28, 2013


You really think Dan Savage isn't a biphobic asshole?

Yes, and I'm bi.
posted by jb at 6:18 AM on March 28, 2013


/No, it really is being shitty to bi people. He's all "I called myself bi when I was 16 and look at me now, so they're just confused." and just totally ignores that some people are bi.

And he's pointed this mistake out himself (that he was over generalising). He's changed his mind; people are allowed to mature like that.
posted by jb at 6:19 AM on March 28, 2013


Dan's been more than "skeptical" about bisexuality in the past. He's been poisonously contemptuous. I've been in and around Seattle for many years, and I've had the opportunity to see Dan Savage do his schtick in person, and I am telling you straight out: the man has been an absolute biphobic shithead, and in a world in which bisexuals' concerns were taken seriously, he would not be beloved. His "It Gets Better" campaign is bittersweet for me as a bi woman. He may say he's changed his mind, but every time he gets bisexuals mad, he tries to undermine them with the same old high-handed hurf-durf you-are-not-really-queer gatekeeping bullshit. The man has also been sexist and transphobic, and I have some questions about his attitudes toward race.

Basically, as far as I can tell, Dan Savage is all about what works for Dan Savage. Right now, in a lot of ways, that means he is on the right side of history. But that doesn't make him a decent human being, and it doesn't mean that the concerns of bisexuals are meaningless -- not about him and not in general.

As a bi woman, I've generally been willing to put aside the biphobia wars for the time being, aside from a few quibbles about using the term "marriage equality" instead of "gay marriage". I've been quiet as my straight ally friends use arguments for marriage equality that ignore/erase the reality of bi and trans people, because I don't want to bring down their passion for the cause. I don't think this is strategically the right time for pushing that. But the issues are real, and there are prominent gays and lesbians who are problematic in these regards. We struggled in the 90s just to create the idea of "LGBT" and we're going to struggle again.
posted by sculpin at 6:26 AM on March 28, 2013 [3 favorites]


Same-sex marriage is on the agenda, because conservatives put it there. It was conservatives who pushed laws and amendments that banned not only same sex marriage, but any acknowledgement of same-sex relationships including civil unions, private insurance benefits, medical and legal powers or attorney, hospital visitation, and custody and adoption hearings as well.

After 20 years of hearing "marriage" as the go-to conservative response on everything from exhibitions of art, to anti-discrimination law, to actual marriage I'm less and less patient with the revisionist view that LGBT* people are asking for too much here.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 6:44 AM on March 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


[Guys, maybe try to avoid entirely turning this into a Dan Savage thread?]
posted by taz (staff) at 6:45 AM on March 28, 2013


There seems to be a tendency of the left to shit on its own victories. And then people wonder why there aren't more.
posted by Ironmouth at 7:01 AM on March 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


It seems to me that, right now, with the patchwork of states that allow gay marriage, a well off couple can just fly to New York or wherever, get married, and then hire attorneys and talk to HR and patch together some legal assurances that their individual marriage will be respected inasmuch as that's possible.

I'm an employment lawyer. I have never seen or heard of anything like this. Ever.
posted by Ironmouth at 7:02 AM on March 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


Yeah, and DOMA pretty much exists to prevent people from doing exactly that.
posted by Pope Guilty at 7:31 AM on March 28, 2013


Same-sex marriage is on the agenda, because conservatives put it there.

Seriously, how freaky is it that we're having this particular discussion not a decade after SSM hate was used nationwide to secure the reelection of Dubya?
posted by Pope Guilty at 7:33 AM on March 28, 2013


I don't think it was just about Bush's reelection since many of those laws and amendments were passed in states that were conceded to Bush from the start, under the Clinton administration, or during midterm elections. In Indiana it was all about dictating what municipalities and institutions that receive state funds could and could not do WRT gay rights. I think the same was true for the Ohio legislature which, if I remember right, went into a panic over one of their state schools giving domestic partnership benefits.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 8:06 AM on March 28, 2013


Yeah, and it should be remembered that Prop 8 passed the same day Obama was elected.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 8:33 AM on March 28, 2013


Something that surprised me in the results of the Reducing Disparities (self-link) project, which is all about looking at the disparities in mental health care provided for LGBT people in California, is how much worse the outcomes are for bisexual people, who I guess I always assumed would have equal or more positive outcomes than the rest of the LGT folks, but bi folks end up self-reporting significantly more eating disorders, depression, etc. and a large part of that is that even LGT therapists often treat them as invisible or not worth helping.

(The other thing that came out of the report that was worth thinking about more for me was something that was mentioned above: That seeing LGBT as one single group for social services actually is a pretty big mistake, and each letter of the abbreviation should be treated as a separate cohort in order to reduce the disparities.)
posted by klangklangston at 8:58 AM on March 28, 2013


It's not proven that anti-SSM laws helped secure Bush's victory. I make a bet that Bush would have some regardless. Incumbent advantage, weak challenger, war on terrah, "don't change horses midstream", and so on. Also, in the echo chamber of the internet, let alone MeFi, it's easy to forget just how many voters still basically liked Bush in 2004. Anti-SSM laws may have been partially orchestrated to increase conservative turnout, but life's more complicated than that.

Prop 8 passing on the same day of Obama's election is a solid counterexample.
posted by Sticherbeast at 8:59 AM on March 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm an employment lawyer. I have never seen or heard of anything like this. Ever.

I'm bi, have a lot of friends in various parts of the LGBTQ spectrum, and know A LOT of people who got married in a state that has SSM when their state does not, and then went home and figured out what that meant for them in a practical sense.

I'm confused about what seems so outrageous about that, to you.
posted by Sara C. at 9:30 AM on March 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


"Anti-SSM laws may have been partially orchestrated to increase conservative turnout, but life's more complicated than that."

Yeah, they were pushed in states like Michigan and Ohio specifically to increase conservative turnout, but whether or not they were broadly successful in winning elections for the GOP is a matter of some debate.
posted by klangklangston at 9:35 AM on March 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm confused about what seems so outrageous about that, to you.

I can't speak for Ironmouth, but I will say that DOMA is a huge monkey wrench in that plan, at least for the time being. DOMA explicitly allows states to reject out of state SSMs, so it's not clear what getting married out of state would get you - your contractual relationships in your home state would be unaffected by your unrecognized marriage. It's also unclear what will happen to those contracts after (knock on wood) DOMA is found unconstitutional.

I'd be curious to learn more about the exact details of these relationships.
posted by Sticherbeast at 9:55 AM on March 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


Yeah, they were pushed in states like Michigan and Ohio specifically to increase conservative turnout, but whether or not they were broadly successful in winning elections for the GOP is a matter of some debate.

Right, that's my point.
posted by Sticherbeast at 9:56 AM on March 28, 2013


it's not clear what getting married out of state would get you

The only thing I can think of is that for companies who offer benefits to same sex partners but require some level of proof, a marriage license from another state might be on the list along with things like "same address and shared bank account".
posted by Blue Jello Elf at 10:12 AM on March 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


Ah, good point Blue Jello Elf.
posted by Sticherbeast at 10:15 AM on March 28, 2013


I'm a "straight"* who got this primer while deciding whether or not to get married.

In 2007, I started working at an HIV non-profit in Toronto with a whole range of gay-dudes and everything-ladies. Gay marriage had been a fait accompli for a few years, with the Michaels getting having married just a few short months after I left bible college. (I was thrilled. A few months later, I lost my faith completely.)

So, I was fully expecting my fabulous new colleagues to be stoked about gay marriage. Not so much! It was limiting. What was wrong with being slutty? Or poly? Or temporary? One colleague told me he would only consider marriage if you could choose to renew it (or not) every couple of years. Others just turned their noses up at it. After all this time of fighting for the Village, who wanted to move to suburbia?

After a year of discussion with my partner, we did decide to get married. We picked apart all of the reasons why and why not. This being Canada, health insurance didn't enter into it but inheritance and health decision-making power did. We read tons of stuff on the Alternatives to Marriage website and bought the Unmarried To Each Other book. We separated "marriage" from "wedding" from "rings" from "suburbs" from "settling down". We talked about terms like girlfriend, boyfriend, husband, wife, partner, conjoint(e) (Quebeçois for partner/spouse). We talked about alternative legal contracts, and eventually decided that for us, marriage was basically the legal contract we would want anyway and it was cheaper than DIY. We talked about marriage being a way of letting the government know about the state our relationship was already in, rather than changing anything about our relationship. We talked about the importance of the availability of divorce, and things we would commit to do before letting things get to that point.

One big thing we decided was that we were not into the whole Wedding Thing. We're introverts and we didn't want to be on stage. We kept trying to think of ways to keep it very small but every option got out of hand very quickly. So we got married on the sly. I took the afternoon off, and we married each other in our condo with 2 witnesses and our cats. We went out for cake. We told everyone else later.

And then I told people at work. The reactions stunned me. First question: was I pregnant? Did I plan it? They didn't give me a congratulatory card, which they did for others who got married, because they thought I was ashamed of it despite my grin when they asked me how my weekend was. Why else would two introverts keep such a delightful secret? Weren't my parents mad? Was I actually happy about it?

Of course, this was much less of a bad reaction than I would have gotten in the femmy-femme office environments I had been in before, where I would have been villified for having worn a casual not-white dress I already owned on my wedding day. For having neither a wedding nor engagement ring. For "letting" him wear jeans on our Big Day!

In the end, all of us — gay or straight or other, male or female or other — have to wade through the massive changes marriage is undergoing at the moment. Love marriages combined with gender role shifts and an incredible move towards individual rights rather than extended family ties are a huge sea change hundreds of years in the making (much more on that in Stephanie Coontz's fabulous Marriage, a History: How Love Conquered Marriage).

In the end, our decision to marry in the way we did didn't fit the straight narrative nor that particular queer narrative. If we're fighting for equality, acceptance, etc., both my decision to marry and my friends' decision to never not no not ever marry must both be okay, and our sexual orientations should have nothing to do with it.

*read: invisible Kinsey 2-3 in an opposite-sex relationship
posted by heatherann at 10:25 AM on March 28, 2013 [6 favorites]


DOMA explicitly allows states to reject out of state SSMs, so it's not clear what getting married out of state would get you - your contractual relationships in your home state would be unaffected by your unrecognized marriage.

Yes, that's exactly my point in suggesting that SSM in all 50 states and an end to DOMA would be equalizers rather than only helpful to a privileged few.

Right now, if you get married in another state, depending on what state you live in, and what your employer is like, and what hospitals in your area are like, etc etc etc you might be able to leverage that out of state marriage. Or you might not. Likely in a lot of cases, it depends on the couple's resources and their standing in the community.

In other words, the ONLY thing committed/married gay couples have right now is connected almost exclusively to privilege. All you have is what you can cobble together for yourself, or what you can personally convince other people to accept.

If same sex marriage were legal, I could go down to the courthouse, marry my girlfriend (FOR ANY REASON I chose, natch, even prosaic ones like health insurance or a green card), and know that I could now leverage the power of the state to force individuals to see my relationship as legitimate.

I wouldn't need to have the privilege of living in a liberal enclave, or being able to put my insurance company on the phone with my lawyer, or personally convincing a nurse that my girlfriend should be allowed to visit me in the hospital, or having a supportive family who trusts my partner's decisions.
posted by Sara C. at 10:26 AM on March 28, 2013 [5 favorites]


Salon: Gay marriage’s gay holdouts: The progressive who thinks this is the wrong fight
Polikoff and some other academics and activists had hoped the conversation about marriage would go in a different direction, perhaps even abolishing the idea of “marriage” as a contract issued by the state.

Once gay people are just like everyone else, many of these critics argue, they won’t be able to fight for new definitions of legally recognized unions that are less binding, or less restrictive. They imagined something different than being pulled into marriage, an institution often tied closely to the church, defined conservatively by the state, and celebrated as the ultimate achievement of any individual.

“What gets swept away is this interesting critique that came out of gay culture and the feminist movement. It’s all been reduced to wedding cakes,” said William Dobbs, who was active in the early years of ACT UP.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 11:40 AM on March 28, 2013


Yeah, while Polikoff is more nuanced than the headline, a lot of that still comes across as being dubious of the sit-ins because does Greensboro really need lunch counters? It's especially unfortunate when marriage gets contrasted with other goals, like it's zero sum, rather than being seen as a method to build mass support for many other social justice goals through the tactic of talking about marriage, something that's overwhelmingly popular in America.
posted by klangklangston at 1:37 PM on March 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


Of course, while civil marriage continues to be a thing, it should be a thing everyone is entitled to, but I'd ultimately really like to see the government get out of the love business. Sure, I understand the practicality behind having the ability to form financial/administrative unions, but why can't the person I do that with be my sister, or my best platonic friend?

This. Many of those 10,000,000 rights and things that are attached to marriage don't need to be. A lot make sense in other contexts, too. I think marriage is an important institution that should get them by default, but there should be other types of relationships that get them as well (e.g. it would make sense for a close friend to get a similar kind of hospital visitation rights as a spouse).
posted by cosmic.osmo at 1:49 PM on March 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


your contractual relationships in your home state would be unaffected by your unrecognized marriage. It's also unclear what will happen to those contracts after (knock on wood) DOMA is found unconstitutional.

I'd be curious to learn more about the exact details of these relationships.


I'm not sure what sort of details you want, but I'm pretty willing to answer questions.

Regarding the first part of this statement, it is, in my experience, untrue that contractual relationships were unaffected by my unrecognized marriage. As I mentioned above, I got married in Canada, as my ftm trans partner and I are the same sex under Ohio law, where we were both born and were living at the time.

Our Canadian marriage was enough for me to change my name without having to get a court order. It was also, interestingly, enough to compel the company I worked for to cover my partner as my spouse on my insurance plan. (A year later, we changed insurance providers, and it was not sufficient to convince that company to cover him, so he went without insurance at that point.) The local hospital was also happy enough to list us as married, meaning that when I had a 104 degree fever and was mostly non-responsive, he was allowed to make medical decisions for me. So that was useful.

It seems that in many places, and certainly in my experience, the laws against SSM are rather subjective. While no institution in a state that has banned SSM can be compelled to recognize them, many are willing to do so anyhow.

My understanding (as a non-lawyer who has consulted a lawyer about this) is that if DOMA were overturned, my marriage would then be legal. Marriages preformed in other jurisdictions are considered valid marriages in the US if they're legal in the state in which the newlyweds live. Most of the supposition I've heard on the matter tends to fall into the "well, when it's legal in your state, your SSM performed elsewhere will be just like any other marriage." (Please note that it's been a solid 5+ years since I spoke to anyone who had any legal background about this, so, you know. Grain of salt.)
posted by MeghanC at 7:03 PM on March 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


Assuming that DOMA gets struck down (knock on wood), I wonder what will happen to couples who are in SSMs not recognized by their home states. How would the courts deal with property acquired during the time of your then-technically-invalid marriage? Would they treat each otherwise valid out-of-state SSM as having been a valid marriage from the get-go, whereas those people who had only conducted their own technically-invalid ceremonies would need to get married in a jurisdiction that allows for SSMs?

...

Polikoff and some other academics and activists had hoped the conversation about marriage would go in a different direction, perhaps even abolishing the idea of “marriage” as a contract issued by the state.

The irony here is that the very reason why the conversation is indeed going in that direction - the very reason why these people are being interviewed at all, by outlets such as Salon - is because of the fight for same sex marriage.
posted by Sticherbeast at 10:23 AM on March 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


Our Canadian marriage was enough for me to change my name without having to get a court order. It was also, interestingly, enough to compel the company I worked for to cover my partner as my spouse on my insurance plan. (A year later, we changed insurance providers, and it was not sufficient to convince that company to cover him, so he went without insurance at that point.) The local hospital was also happy enough to list us as married, meaning that when I had a 104 degree fever and was mostly non-responsive, he was allowed to make medical decisions for me. So that was useful.

Fair enough. I stand corrected about the practical utility of out-of-state SSMs, even in states that otherwise do not recognize SSMs.

That said, it's worth pointing out that there are still serious limits to out-of-state SSMs, and that your marriage itself didn't really bind many people to a particular course of action. With regard to your insurance, as to the point Blue Jello Elf had also brought up above, you and your partner were at the mercy of your insurance providers - they had no obligation to recognize your marriage. The same goes for the hospital - it's great that they did the right thing, but they didn't have to.

I'm not telling you anything you didn't already know, of course. I'm sorry for all the difficulties that you've faced with this.

I guess my now-corrected point is that you still can't contract your way around DOMA, although you can take steps to best assert your rights within the limited space that you have.
posted by Sticherbeast at 10:33 AM on March 29, 2013




That's hilarious, but on the other hand, 2% actually seems acceptably low to me.

I'm more worried about the 66% of the population who know what the Supreme Court is, but who cannot name a single member of it. Why do I find it weird that all those Onion articles about the Supreme Court are pitched to, at most, 34% of the population?
posted by Sticherbeast at 4:48 AM on April 1, 2013


« Older "The largest DDoS attack that we have witnessed"   |   Death is always a mistake Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments