I'll share them all for a cup of coffee

Three years ago today it poured rain in Sea Isle City, N.J.

It was a torrential thunderstorm that ruled out any plans for a wedding on the beach. That downpour also coincided with high tide, producing flooding that lingered long after the rain finally stopped. Two feet of water covered the streets in the middle of town — including in front of the rented beach house on the porch of which we’d hastily relocated our ceremony.

But at least the rain had stopped by then, so I was able to carry my bride-to-be across the knee-deep street without getting the rest of us soaked. Made for some memorable wedding photos.

Plus, wedding vows are essentially a pledge to stick together and love one another come hell or high water, and it was nice to be able to check one of those off the list right there at the start.

While the weather prevented us from having our wedding ceremony on the beach there were other factors that prevented us from having it in a few other places.

The slacktivixen was raised in the Catholic Church, but our getting married in a Catholic church wasn’t an option. The church would say that we were forbidden to have a Catholic wedding because she’s a divorced ex-Catholic who was marrying a divorced Protestant. (She would say, rather, that due to the way that she was treated by the Catholic Church back when she was going through that divorce, they are forbidden to be involved in any future happy or sacred events in her life.)

It’s not just divorced people who are forbidden to marry in the Catholic Church, of course. It’s also Presbyterians, Methodists, Baptists, Pentecostals, Hindus, Jews, Muslims, Mormons, Pagans and anyone else who isn’t a Roman Catholic in good standing. That’s not an unjust discrimination on their part, it’s just how their church works. They don’t consecrate all weddings, just Catholic ones. And the parameters for what “Catholic” means there is, reasonably, something that it’s best left to Catholics to decide.

This is true of most sectarian wedding ceremonies. The ‘vixen and I could not have gotten married in a synagogue or a Hindu temple or a Jehovah’s Witness Kingdom Hall either because we are not Jewish or Hindu or Jehovah’s Witness. That makes sense and, again, it is in no way a form of unjust discrimination. We’ve attended Jewish weddings and were warmly welcomed and included in those joyous celebrations, but it would have been weirdly inappropriate for us to have tried to have one for ourselves, to have our wedding consecrated in a tradition to which we do not belong. (I haven’t yet been to a Hindu wedding, but I hope I get to go to one some day. They look awesome.)

It would be very different if the Roman Catholic Church had a monopoly on civil marriage in New Jersey — if the only way to get married legally there were to have the ceremony consecrated by a Catholic priest in a Catholic church according to Catholic rules. Then we would have been facing a real and serious form of unjust discrimination. We would have had a legitimate civil rights complaint — as would every other divorced, Protestant, ex-Catholic, Jewish, Hindu, atheist or otherwise non-Catholic couple seeking to marry in the Garden State.

But the only monopoly on legal marriage in Sea Isle City is held by city hall and city hall does not discriminate on sectarian grounds. When we went to city hall to get our marriage license, they didn’t care what sect we belonged to or if we were members in good standing or if we even belonged to any sect at all. As far as they were concerned, we were free to have whatever additional religious ceremony or ceremonies that we wanted. We could have our marriage consecrated by any sect or by no sect at all. That didn’t matter. Consecration was none of their business and they didn’t want it to be any of their business. No such religious ceremony would have any bearing on our legal status as a legally married couple, and what Trenton hath joined together no priest or bishop can put asunder.

My point here is that me being a Protestant, or a divorced Protestant, and my wife being a divorced ex-Catholic had no bearing and in no way restricted our ability to get legally married down the shore. The state of New Jersey had only a short list of stipulations and none of those had anything to do with religion: 1. We had to both be adults; 2. We had to show that neither of us was already legally married to someone else; 3. We had to show that we were not close blood relatives; and 4. We had to be members of opposite genders.

Those first three rules seem reasonable to me, but I do not see any legal basis for the fourth. The state of New Jersey has a monopoly on the legal recognition of marriage and it has chosen to exclude some couples arbitrarily. That is a real and serious form of unjust discrimination. That is a violation of civil rights. And it’s not logically or legally any different than if New Jersey were to decide to refuse marriage licenses to non-Catholics or to non-Baptists or to Capricorns or redheads.

One of the main reasons that this unjust discrimination persists — in New Jersey and in more than 40 other states in America — is due to the alleged concern of religious groups that if same-sex couples are no longer denied their right to get married, then somehow their churches will be legally compelled to consecrate the marriages of any same-sex couple that walks in off the street.

If you’ve been paying attention, you’ll realize that we’ve already shown this argument to be bogus. You’ll realize, in fact, that we’ve already shown that these religious groups ought to know that this argument is bogus. Divorced people have the legal right to marry in New Jersey, but Catholic churches in New Jersey are not legally compelled to consecrate their marriages. They are free to refuse to perform such ceremonies and they do, in fact and as a matter of course, refuse to perform such ceremonies all the time. They know this.

Everyone knows this. It’s not particularly confusing and yet, somehow, the public debate over same-sex marriage seems to be hopelessly confused on this very point.

Anyway, my anniversary today is a reminder of my happiness. And as such it is also a reminder for me of how cruel and capricious and fundamentally unfair it is that we continue to deny some couples their chance for such happiness.

  • Aimai

    This is wrong. A) All the Cathlic adoption agencies have not had to close. B) in the case of Boston’s Catholic Charities the “Church” was not the “Church.” The money and the function (facilitating adoption) were both state business. Catholic Charities was running a state function for the state and using state money. In addition, Catholic Charities’ clients were not necessarily Catholic (both the children adn the potential adoptive parents and foster parents were potentially gay). So the situation is not really as you’ve described. Its closer to a situation in which the Catholic Church not only arrogates to itself the right to refuse marriage/adoption to gay people but also uses state money to extend its activities to cover people who are not Catholic as though it were going into Jewish and Unitarian houses of worship and ordering Jews and  Unitarians to follow Catholic teachings all while using taxpayer money.

    aimai

    PS. If you don’t know these simple facts I really have to question your honesty in even bringing up the slippery slope argument.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jon.maki Jon Maki

    Congratulations to Fred and the Slacktivixen.
    (As an aside, that was three years ago already?)

    My sister, who is not at all religious, but is culturally Christian, doesn’t have any specific moral objection to same sex marriage, but did once raise some financial objections.
    Essentially – presumably because she saw that execrable Adam Sandler movie from a few years back – her concern is that people would get married fraudulently in an effort to reap the benefits of marriage, such as filing taxes jointly and/or collecting insurance and retirement benefits.
    I pointed out two things to her:

    1. People can already do that via opposite sex marriage.
    2. Human beings are more important than money.

    I don’t think I changed her mind, but she wasn’t able to come up with any sort of rebuttal.
    I’m not really certain what her basis was for believing that, even if these types of fraudulent marriages suddenly ran rampant, this would somehow create some enormous financial hardship for the government/insurance providers, but ultimately I think it was just a rationalization she’d come up with to avoid admitting that her objections are entirely based on the “ick factor.”

  • http://www.facebook.com/jon.maki Jon Maki

    Congratulations to Fred and the Slacktivixen.
    (As an aside, that was three years ago already?)

    My sister, who is not at all religious, but is culturally Christian, doesn’t have any specific moral objection to same sex marriage, but did once raise some financial objections.
    Essentially – presumably because she saw that execrable Adam Sandler movie from a few years back – her concern is that people would get married fraudulently in an effort to reap the benefits of marriage, such as filing taxes jointly and/or collecting insurance and retirement benefits.
    I pointed out two things to her:

    1. People can already do that via opposite sex marriage.
    2. Human beings are more important than money.

    I don’t think I changed her mind, but she wasn’t able to come up with any sort of rebuttal.
    I’m not really certain what her basis was for believing that, even if these types of fraudulent marriages suddenly ran rampant, this would somehow create some enormous financial hardship for the government/insurance providers, but ultimately I think it was just a rationalization she’d come up with to avoid admitting that her objections are entirely based on the “ick factor.”

  • Izzy

    In fact, insurance and retirement benefits are one of the few reasons that I–a straight girl–would consider marrying. If a friend who also doesn’t want to do the marrying-for-love bit was up for it, and I knew them well enough to be pretty sure we’d be cool being a substantial part of each other’s lives for a long time, I would *absolutely* enter into a companionate marriage for those reasons.

    And I’m not seeing where that’s a problem for anyone, frankly. 

    Also, “enormous financial hardship for insurance providers” is not a phrase that strikes fear into my heart. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/jon.maki Jon Maki

    Yeah, I don’t see it as being a problem either.  Like I said, it was really just a rationalization on her part anyway.

  • John (not McCain)

    “Over the years I have asked dozens of people to name a single instance of incest that took place with the full knowledge of the couple involved, where there was no economic or power imbalance, where the sexual and romantic relationship occurred after the age of consent, and the couple actually wishes to get married.”

    From: http://www.drivebytruckers.com/records.html#decoration

    1. The Deeper InPatterson: This song is about the only two people currently serving time in America for consensual brother/sister incest. It is one of the few songs I’ve written in the third person. Jason plays an electric mandolin through one of Barbe’s old Ampeg Gemini amps. The song also marks the return of pedal steel player John Neff, who played on our first two albums and appears on nearly half of this one.

    Lyrics:

    By the time you were born there were four other siblings with your Mama awaiting your Daddy in jail Your oldest brother was away at a home and you didn’t meet him til you were nineteen years old Old enough to know better, old enough to know better but you took to his jaw line and long sandy hair How he made you feel like none of the others and the way he looked at you touched you deep down in there. So you jumped on his bike and rode into the sunset but the sequel it started with the next morning sun and the dew on the bike seat and you all a glow from the love he put in you and a life on the run. Now, the District Attorney said He might of forgiven You had lots of reasons to turn out this way But you’ll both go to jail for them four little babies you made and delivered along the way Last night you had a dream of a Lord so forgiving He might show compassion for a heathen He damned You awoke in a jail cell, alone and so lonely Seven years in Michigan Spring 1998 – Athens GA.
    {Inspired by a magazine article about the only two people currently serving time in America for consensual brother / sister incest.}
    Lyrics by Patterson Hood / Music by Drive-By Truckers
    ©2003 Soul Dump Music (BMI)

  • Anonymous

    Happy (slightly belated) Anniversary!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Patrick-McGraw/100001988854074 Patrick McGraw

    It’s more…it’s the scriggly “I don’t want to bother shaving so I’m
    gonna pretend this is a fashion statement” thing, plus the
    lank-and-unwashed mulletish hair.

    I think of facial hair that is primarily composed of Neckbeard.

    Or the ponytail/combover combo, yipe.

    I have made a solemn vow that if I succumb to baldness, I will cut off my beautiful, touchably soft and silky hair. Because the bald pate/ponytail combo is really repulsive, and I don’t want to ever be That Guy.

  • Lori

    For the record I’ll say again that this topic has absolutely nothing to do with whether or not gay & lesbian couples should have full access to civil marriage. They should. This is a separate issue about modern marriage law. 

     I’m honestly not particularly convinced that in this era that #3 is a reasonable requirement.  It seems to fall into the same pernicious assumption that gets trotted out in opposition to same sex marriage – that the purpose of marriage is procreation.  With adoption, artificial insemination, and easy access to contraception to avoid pregnancies now and genetic screenings growing in accessibility and breadth going forward (for those who want to have a genetic biological child) the dangers of inbreeding are minimal and thus society no longer has a compelling interest in restricting these marriages.  

     
    This is true in theory, but in practice not so much. Marriage is not solely for the purpose of procreation, but the fact is that most couple do have kids. Very few people who are able to have children the “old-fashioned” way opt for adoption or artificial insemination for any reason, including health concerns. Most people just roll the dice, get pregnant and hope for the best. That’s true both because people tend to have a strong preference for having their own biological offspring and also because adoption or artificial insemination cost a lot of money and many people can’t afford them. 

    Having biological children is not likely to be a problem for any one set of first cousins or even siblings. However, it becomes a serious problem if you get enough intermarriage over enough generations, especially in a relatively small group of people.  Great Briton is dealing with a controversy of first cousin marriages because of the high incidence of birth defects in some Muslim communities. That’s not all being driven by bigotry on the part of non-Muslims either. The awareness campaign is being lead by a young Muslim woman who is concerned about the health of the children in her community.

    So, is the law supposed to say that you can marry a close relative but only if at least one of you is willing to be sterilized or if you’re willing to sign some sort of contract stating that you won’t have biological children together? Or maybe the rule should be that the state will only let close relatives get married if they can demonstrate that their relationship is an anomaly in their family. Either of those opens the door to state involvement in people’s families that is almost certainly worse than simply saying that close blood relations can’t marry at all. 

  • SisterCoyote

    There’s also the fact that, again because of human nature, there are certain power structures inherent in a family unit that cause serious issues of consent.

  • Lori

     I have made a solemn vow that if I succumb to baldness, I will cut off my beautiful, touchably soft and silky hair. Because the bald pate/ponytail combo is really repulsive, and I don’t want to ever be That Guy.  

    I wish you luck with keeping that vow because as you say, it’s not a good look. My observation is that such a vow is fair easier to make than to keep. I’m now getting to the age where a lot of my male friends are experiencing the trauma of hair loss. More than one of them is responding to it in ways that he said he never would back when he had a full head of hair. 

    I still hate the comb-over in all it’s sad, delusional forms and the bald pate/ponytail combo is an abomination, but I’m trying to learn to be a bit more compassionate about it. Which translates roughly to, “I’ll give you 6-8 months to say your emotional good-byes to your hair and then we’re going to have to have a chat.”

  • Anonymous

    Belated happy anniversary to Fred and the Slacktivixen, and thanks for sharing that wonderful photo.

  • FangsFirst

    I cannot like a DBT reference enough.

    Also, good call. As well as I know that song, it didn’t even come to mind (and I knew it was about a real story)

  • Anonymous

    We don’t require couples to test for birth defects before getting married, or certify anything about procreation whatsoever, no matter how likely the negative effects might be.

    Similarly for issues of consent, an awful lot of existing marriages are based on economic or power imbalances, or are psychologically problematic, and we don’t outlaw those either.

    As for the right to marriage being infringed when people can’t find a partner, this is not an issue in the same way that being broke does not violate your right to own property.

    As for siblings already enjoying the legal privilege of being family members, this is irrelevant, as marriage provides a number of benefits which siblings do not enjoy.

    The vast majority of legal and moral justification I see for marriage is based on the “any two consenting adults should have the right to get married” framework. On that basis, I don’t see any reason for incest to be a criterion for denying a marriage license. This in turn leads me to agree with hapax and say marriage isn’t a right at all, just a civil benefit that can be granted or withheld by the state at leisure. I don’t think the courts agree, though.

  • Anonymous

    Interesting.  Thanks for the clarification!  I should have thought more that NPOs and NGOs probably would have opportunity to go beyond their mission but have great reasons not to.

  • Lori

     We don’t require couples to test for birth defects before getting married, or certify anything about procreation whatsoever, no matter how likely the negative effects might be.  

     

    No, we don’t currently require testing. That really wasn’t my point. 

     This in turn leads me to agree with hapax and say marriage isn’t a right at all, just a civil benefit that can be granted or withheld by the state at leisure.  

    There are plenty of things that are privileges granted by the state, as opposed to rights. That doesn’t make it acceptable or legal for the state to grant or withhold those privileges arbitrarily. So no, marriage isn’t, or shouldn’t be, something doled out by the state “at leisure”. The question is, where does the state’s legitimate interest begin and end?   

    The notion that allowing same sex couples access to civil marriage in some way requires that incestuous marriages also must be allowed is simply not true. You’re participating in a bigoted scare tactic under the guise of being “reasonable”. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/jon.maki Jon Maki

    Also, “enormous financial hardship for insurance providers” is not a phrase that strikes fear into my heart.

    I meant to add earlier that I think her concern was not so much for the insurance providers themselves, but rather she believed that there would be an increase in costs passed along to consumers.
    It’s also worth noting that my sister and I rarely talk about this sort of thing – not deliberately, or pointedly so; it’s just not the sort of thing we talk about – but this actually came up in the subsequent conversation when our brother (finally) came out to the family.
    (Or at least those of the family who were there, which included myself, my sister, and our mom, though he’d actually come out to me the night before.)
    After the “reveal” (seriously, we’d all known for years, it was just a matter of waiting for him to get around to confirming it) my brother had mentioned that he doesn’t support same sex marriage, though his reasons were nebulous and baffling, and could make for an irritating conversation in and of itself, and that led to my sister making her case against it.

  • Anonymous

    Absolutely.  Incest has nothing whatsoever to do with same-sex marriage.  We’ve been trying to underline that basic fact, but we keep getting posters here who drive by and say ‘with SSM what’s to stop incest or polygamy?!’  It’s an absolutely false equivalence, and I apologize if you thought I was likening one to the other.  We’ve had two posters in as many weeks do this — strange, that — and it’s getting irksome.

  • Anonymous

    Also, “enormous financial hardship for insurance providers” is not a phrase that strikes fear into my heart. After seeing how murderous they are, it actually induces the opposite reaction in me.  Except, of course, they would find some way to pass that hardship on to their customers.

  • Michael Cule

    Congratulations Fred and Mrs Fred. I too was envisioning you as a greybearded sage (much like myself) and am startled by your youth and health.

    On a couple of points: FYI (not that this disproves the point about inbreeding) there is some doubt (mostly expressed by A.N.Wilson) that Queen Victoria was actually the daughter of the Duke of Kent. Wilson points out that she not only introduces the haemophilia to the royal line but also shows no sign of passing on George III’s tendency to porphyria and argues that two mutations are just too unlikely in one person which means that Victoria was a cuckoo. He argues something similar about Prince Albert.

    The Pope can easily decide to get married. The requirement for celibacy was imposed by the Papacy and can be taken away by the Papacy: it’s part of Catholic discipline not doctrine. If he really wanted to be a dick he could even say ‘The rest of you can’t get married but the Pope can!”

    If he wanted to marry another fella now he might have a bit of trouble with that….

  • http://www.mactonweb.com web development bangalore

    Congratulations! Personally, I think it’s a terrible idea. I’d go further and say that it’s a bad idea to have much religion/state intertwining at all.

  • Anonymous

    “Marriage is not a “basic human right”, at least not civil marriage.”

    Actually marriage is a basic human right under international law.
    UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 16.
    (1) Men and women of full age, without any limitation due to race, nationality or religion, have the right to marry and to found a family. They are entitled to equal rights as to marriage, during marriage and at its dissolution.
    (2) Marriage shall be entered into only with the free and full consent of the intending spouses.
    (3) The family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State.

    Section 1 doesn’t cover same-sex marriages, which is hardly surprising given that it was written in 1948. Still nearly all jurisdictions that take human rights seriously, including the United States, recognize that human rights evolve along with society. After all the U.S. was instrumental in creating the Declaration but much of the U.S. continued to outlaw inter-racial marriages until over 20 years after it was passed.

  • Anonymous

    “Marriage is not a “basic human right”, at least not civil marriage.”

    Actually marriage is a basic human right under international law.
    UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 16.
    (1) Men and women of full age, without any limitation due to race, nationality or religion, have the right to marry and to found a family. They are entitled to equal rights as to marriage, during marriage and at its dissolution.
    (2) Marriage shall be entered into only with the free and full consent of the intending spouses.
    (3) The family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State.

    Section 1 doesn’t cover same-sex marriages, which is hardly surprising given that it was written in 1948. Still nearly all jurisdictions that take human rights seriously, including the United States, recognize that human rights evolve along with society. After all the U.S. was instrumental in creating the Declaration but much of the U.S. continued to outlaw inter-racial marriages until over 20 years after it was passed.

  • Consumer Unit 5012

    Logical consistency is all I ask!

    Oy vey, did YOU wake up in the wrong species.

  • Anonymous

    I hadn’t heard the cuckoo theory on Queen Victoria. It’s possible, but the lack of porphyria isn’t especially convincing. Neither George IV or William IV showed any signs of the disease despite being sons of a sufferer. Because George III and Charlotte had some ridiculously high number of kids, I won’t say that none of them had porphyria, but it certainly wasn’t very widespread. And since the Duke of Kent had Victoria very late in his life, it’s not out of the question that a mutation might be introduced.
    I have, however, long suspected that female adultery has saved many royal lines from collapsing under the weight of inbreeding.

  • Consumer Unit 5012

    Funny thing is, from what I’ve read, the Catholic Church’s ban on married priests was to avoid them handing their posts down to their children (as being a Bishop was a pretty cushy job back then).  If they got rid of that, how many of their children would WANT to join the priesthood?

  • Consumer Unit 5012

    Funny thing is, from what I’ve read, the Catholic Church’s ban on married priests was to avoid them handing their posts down to their children (as being a Bishop was a pretty cushy job back then).  If they got rid of that, how many of their children would WANT to join the priesthood?

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

    > Section 1 doesn’t cover same-sex marriages,

    Of course, as with many legal documents, interpretation is everything.

    After all, it doesn’t explicitly say that a black man and a white woman have a right to marry *each other*, it just says that they have the right to *marry*, without limitation due to race. One could interpret that to mean simply that if white couples can marry, then black couples can marry too — no fair barring them on the basis of race — while still precluding mixed-race couples on the grounds that a mixed-race couple simply can’t be married as a matter of common sense, and therefore can’t be what the article meant to support.

    But for most of us, our common-sense understanding of marriage doesn’t work that way, so we understand the article to protect mixed-race marriages.

    Similarly, it says men and women have the right to marry, but it doesn’t explicitly say in what combinations. That, too, is left to our common-sense understanding.

  • Michael Cule

    In the Anglican church there are lots of cases of sons following their fathers into the Church. And presumably nowadays there will start being daughters following their parents too…

  • http://www.nightphoenix.com Amaranth

    ‘with SSM what’s to stop incest or polygamy?!’

    I can sort of see why this argument is trotted out so often. Right now, the definition of marriage consists of “both adults; neither already legally married to someone else; not close blood relatives; opposite genders.” We’re trying to change the last part, and only that last part.

    People who don’t understand why we’d want to change that last part and NOT any of the other parts do not, on a fundamental level, understand why LGBT people want to get married. I think it’s a matter of not being able (or willing) to conceive of genuine romantic attraction between people of the same gender. It just doesn’t compute. It’s *not possible* for two men or two women to feel real romantic attraction, therefore it must be something else. Same-sex marriage *must* be about the sex, or having “issues”, or wanting to gross out Christians, or cheating the system, or what have you. And if one believes that this is all same-sex marriage is about, then yeah, I can see how it would be difficult to understand why all the other “stuff” wouldn’t follow, because any of them could also accomplish those goals.

    In other words, if you can’t (or won’t) understand WHY LGBT people want to get married, you won’t understand why it has nothing to do with incest, polygamy, etc.

  • Dan Audy

    Just to be clear, I wasn’t advancing the theory that same sex marriage would lead to incest but rather pointing out that the primary basis for opposing marriage between blood relatives is the same argument that same sex marriage advocates routinely crush.  I don’t think that cousins should be able to marry as a consequence of same sex marriage but because that particular law is out of touch with developments of the last 50 years in contraception and genetic screening.  Also, incest is a totally different beast than allowing cousins and first cousins to marry (primarily because it deals with coersion and abuse) and would presumably remain illegal even if restrictions on blood relatives were removed from marriage license issuing.

  • http://www.polyamorousmisanthrope.com Goddessofjava

    Oh sweet baby jesus, are you REALLY lumping polyamory in with incest? REALLY?

  • Anonymous

    I’m not a historian (not even an historian!), and this is completely unscientific, but in Victoria’s portraits, her features and facial structure look amazingly like those of the Duke of Kent, i.e., her mother’s husband. (If it were possible, one might think from the portraits that she was related to him, and not so closely to her mother.) Is the basis for the “cuckoo” theory primarily the issue of inherited diseases? And who is a candidate for the father?

  • Tonio

    If the justification for denying marriage to same-sex couples is that
    marriage is for procreation, then the argument implies that government
    has a right to deny marriage to straight couples who are infertile by
    circumstance or by choice.

    A while back I encountered one SSM opponent who claimed that the purpose of marriage is to make sure that children are raised by both mothers and fathers. I pointed out that this would result in the state taking children away from not just same-sex couples but also single parents, perhaps requiring the latter to remarry. After some back and forth, it came out that the person viewed marriage as essentially tethering the man so he doesn’t abandon his kids, believing that women are far less inclined to do the same.

    But that wasn’t as repulsive as the birth control opponent who claimed to be Catholic. His reasoning was that contraception reduces women to simply vessels for male pleasure. He insisted that very few women would willingly use contraception if they weren’t pressured to do so by male partners.

    Saddening that both arguments involve a particular “boys will be boys” variety of gender essentialism. I’m not exactly sure how this relates to SSM, except perhaps that they see homosexuality as simply men finding outlets for their lust that don’t carry responsibilities for fatherhood.

  • Tonio

    If the justification for denying marriage to same-sex couples is that
    marriage is for procreation, then the argument implies that government
    has a right to deny marriage to straight couples who are infertile by
    circumstance or by choice.

    A while back I encountered one SSM opponent who claimed that the purpose of marriage is to make sure that children are raised by both mothers and fathers. I pointed out that this would result in the state taking children away from not just same-sex couples but also single parents, perhaps requiring the latter to remarry. After some back and forth, it came out that the person viewed marriage as essentially tethering the man so he doesn’t abandon his kids, believing that women are far less inclined to do the same.

    But that wasn’t as repulsive as the birth control opponent who claimed to be Catholic. His reasoning was that contraception reduces women to simply vessels for male pleasure. He insisted that very few women would willingly use contraception if they weren’t pressured to do so by male partners.

    Saddening that both arguments involve a particular “boys will be boys” variety of gender essentialism. I’m not exactly sure how this relates to SSM, except perhaps that they see homosexuality as simply men finding outlets for their lust that don’t carry responsibilities for fatherhood.

  • ako

    I noticed that.  The Universal Declaration of Human Rights neither explicitly includes nor explicitly excludes same-sex marriage. 

    Certainly, one could make the argument that “mean and women” and “found a family” mean it’s all about opposite-sex marriage, and that equality is only explicitly promised on the fronts of race, nationality, and religion, so therefore it doesn’t include same-sex marriage.  However, the text also supports the interpretation that the text supports a broad right to marry and equality for men and women, both of which point towards same-sex marriage as a universal right.

    I think the first interpretation is a better refection of how it was originally intended, and the second for how it should be read. 

  • Anonymous

    Um. If it seemed like I considered them to be basically the same issue, or even that they were related in the slightest, then I must have worded that very clumsily indeed. I was talking about both of them at the same time because I felt that Jeff had just dismissed both of them for bad reasons, and I should have been clearer about the distinction.

  • Lou Doench.

    Probably late to the congrats, but congrats Fred. Wonderful essay as usual. Uber bonus points for anything referencing the Cowboy Junkies.

  • Lonespark

    I probably won’t “see” you before then, so happy anniversary!

  • http://hummingwolf.livejournal.com/ Hummingwolf

    Happy Anniversary Week to Fred and Slacktivixen!  May the marriage laws quickly become more reasonable for everyone, everywhere.

  • http://www.nicolejleboeuf.com/index.php Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little

    Jeff in So Cal: And marriage is currently an exclusive contract between two consenting
    adults, whereby each spouse can rely on 100% support from the other.
     Once you start adding polyarmory into the mix, you can no longer rely
    on 100% support from the other spouse… they also have a legal
    obligation to the extra-spouses.  It makes for an un-equitable situation
    that greatly complicates family law, inheritance, etc.

    Having read the whole thread, I’m actually rather flabbergasted…

    Is no one else offended by this? Seriously? ‘Cause I am. A lot.

    Jeff, there are polyamorists reading this. And what you say here sounds a lot like that goddamn patronizing insulting argument we get all the effin’ time, “But if he loves/has sex with someone else, he can’t love you as much as someone who would love/have sex with only you, can he? He’s not giving you all his heart, because he’s giving some of it to someone else!”

    There’s two problems with both arguments. I mean, besides how offensive and patronizing they are, in purporting to tell me something I don’t know about my husband’s love and support, and in calling my husband a liar and me a naif for believing him.

    First, even monogamists have siblings, parents, friends, and sometimes
    children. If love and support were finite, wouldn’t having a kid or
    keeping in contact with other family and friends also cut into your
    spousal share of the pie?

    Second, love and support aren’t this weird finite quantity. Time is, perhaps; money is, yes; one’s daily supply of “energy” is; but “love” and “support” are not. That my husband has a girlfriend doesn’t diminish the fact that when I ask for his support, I get it, 100%. Oh, sure, conflicts may arise between lovers, but we’re adults here. We work it out. It’s never down to “Who does he really love?” or “Who does he support more?”; it’s down to “Let’s identify everyone’s needs and meet them all as best we can, or, if we can’t, come to some mutually acceptable compromise.”

    I can assure you, Jeff, my husband and I support each other and love each other 100%. And the same to any other lovers. My momma didn’t stop loving me “big as the sky” when my brother was born; and neither my husband nor I stop loving each other with “all our hearts” just because we love others. A loving heart is infinitely vast.

  • aaaaaargh

    3 years?  Hey…Fred’s wedding was one day after mine.  Cool and congrats.


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