Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Write to Marry Day

When Squirrel and I were planning our wedding one of the things that really bothered me was the fact that we could. Get married, that is. Purely because we're straight.

I looked through our guest list and realized we had a number of friends coming who were gay - several of them long-term couples. It felt so ugly and discriminatory, and even though I knew our friends probably wouldn't feel this way, to me it felt like we were throwing our heterosexual privilege in their faces.

I wanted to make a big statement, like having someone read the text of the Massachusetts Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage. Preferably my flamboyant friend Pancake. In drag.

Squirrel, being much more understated and less willing to piss off our fundamental Christian relatives, wanted something a little more subtle. In the end, we compromised, and to this day I still regret the watered-down wording we chose.

So here's what I wish we would have said. It's beautiful, and spells out exactly why marriage is not a privilege but a right.

Marriage is a vital social institution. The exclusive commitment of two individuals to each other nurtures love and mutual support; it brings stability to our society. For those who choose to marry, and for their children, marriage provides an abundance of legal, financial, and social benefits. In return it imposes weighty legal, financial, and social obligations. Without question, civil marriage enhances the welfare of the community. It is a social institution of the highest importance. It is central to the way the Commonwealth identifies individuals, provides for the orderly distribution of property, ensures that children and adults are cared for and supported whenever possible from private rather than public funds, and tracks important epidemiological and demographic data. Marriage also bestows enormous private and social advantages on those who choose to marry. Civil marriage is at once a deeply personal commitment to another human being and a highly public celebration of the ideals of mutuality, companionship, intimacy, fidelity, and family. Because it fulfills yearnings for security, safe haven, and connection that express our common humanity, civil marriage is an esteemed institution, and the decision whether and whom to marry is among life's momentous acts of self-definition. It is undoubtedly for these concrete reasons, as well as for its intimately personal significance, that civil marriage has long been termed a civil right.

I am so thankful that California has made a similar decision, and I urge everyone to vote No on Proposition 8 and affirm the dignity and equality of all Californians.

Oh, and for those who are still using the "but they've got civil unions" argument? Although it probably won't be the last time anyone says this to you, it should be:

Separate is not fucking equal.

H/T to Joe for the heads-up about Write to Marry Day.


Kym said...

Yes! Sometimes legal judgments use such beautiful and touching words that they are as inspiring as poetry.

And thanks for the reminder that I rudely forgot to put a h/t to Joe for his Write to Marry Day post.

Anonymous said...

I'll be voting No on 8 on November, 4th.

Joe Cornish said...

Thank you, Kristabel, for this powerful post and for your support. Your gay friends are lucky to have you in their lives.


Anonymous said...

It's great to see so many Humboldt County bloggers come out against Prop 8.

Thanks for posting the court's decision.

Because it fulfills yearnings for security, safe haven, and connection that express our common humanity, civil marriage is an esteemed institution, and the decision whether and whom to marry is among life's momentous acts of self-definition.

It's worth repeating.

Indie said...

You are right, those would have made excellent wedding vows. I want to move to Massachusetts, where the legal language is as beautiful as wedding ceremony language!

I especially love the phrase, "brings stability to our society." I got married only 6 years ago and it certainly brought stability to my life, which before had been so uncertain and chaotic.

I only have two close gay friends, and they are two old guys who have been happily together for 25 years. They own a home together, etc, etc. But they can't go out on an evening stroll holding hands because they still live in fear and dread of other people's ignorant hatred. They can't go to dinner and celebrate anniversaries. They can't act like a couple in public. In Eureka!

If you have a look at the newspaper's vital statistics and read about the same-sex couples who are getting married, you'll see many (most?) are in their 50s, have probably been living together as "roommates" for 20 years. Why would strangers even CARE what they do enough to want to pass a law to stop them?

As Massachusetts legislators so eloquently put it, marriage adds stability to our society. Aren't things unstable enough already, economically, politically?

Jeff Muskrat said...

Prop 8 = HATE

Vote No on Prop 8!

Ernie Branscomb said...

No on 8.

I guess that I should pay more attention, but I actually had to stop and try to count the gay friends that I have. I discovered that I have many gay friends, and was actually kinda’ proud of myself for not even thinking of that as an issue. Unfortunately, my lack of awareness about some peoples differentness (if “Word Person” will allow me that word) sometimes gets me into trouble for not showing the appropriate sensitivity. I think that the sooner that we all get over the issue of people being different, the better off we will be. Everyone needs to be treated equally.

I agree with kristabel “separate is not equal”.(But, she said it more eloquently)

Bumblebee said...

Amen Sister...

love ya

and I have heard our dear lil Pancake pointing out to many over the weeks and I must agree, separate is not fucking equal!!!!

beachcomber said...

A court decision with the word "yearning" - bloody eloquent! Nice choice to print it.

Anonymous said...

Prop 8 equates HATE! Thanks for the posting!

Joel Mielke said...

Unfortunately, Ernie's way of thinking is not probably not shared by a majority of the Baby Boom generation, but a reading of the Massachusetts decision would be persuasive to a lot of tepid pro-8 voters.

Thanks for posting it.

Anonymous said...

You made me cry.

In a good way.


Carol said...

While in Massachusetts this last week I heard that there will be a question for the next election to overturn gay marriage.

Looks like Prop 8 passed, unfortunately.

Cristina said...

I don't know about the Baby Boomers, CPR. My partner's a Baby Boomer, and his oldest friend (they've known each other since 8th grade) is gay. The couples we know who've been together the longest are, coincidentally, gay, and they're all Baby Boomers too. I think the generation that came of age in the 1960's took the lessons of the 60's much more to heart than those who came of age earlier - AND many who came of age later. I've met plenty of people my age (I'm 38) who yearn for some nostalgic vision of an America that never was. Older doesn't necessarily mean "more conservative"; time moves in a circle, not a straight line.

Well, that was verbose. The lunchtime sugar obviously took its effect.

Oh, and one more thing: I'm hellaciously pissed off that this thing actually passed. So much for San Francisco values in sunny California!

Kristabel said...

Me too, Cristina. I really didn't think it would, and I'm completely appalled.

Joel Mielke said...

To the courts, dammit!