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.

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  • Ca

    With regards to detaching marriage from eros, the classic situation raised when the Civil Partnerships Bill (now Act) was being debated was two spinster sisters living together in the family home. Under the law is it was and is, when one of them dies, the survivor has to sell the house to pay the inheritance tax. 

    An amendment to the Bill was proposed that would have allowed the two to enter into a Civil Partnership, thus gaining the same inheritance benefits as married couples — relevantly, the exemption from inheritance tax — and therefore sparing the survivor that upheaval.

    The amendment was defeated only because it would have meant that Civil Partnerships weren’t exactly symmetrical to marriage, for same-sex couples.

  • Tonio

    Happy anniversary to Fred. For a while I supported the civil union concept as an alternative to same-sex marriage, before realizing that it amounts to Plessy v. Ferguson. Ultimately for me the issue comes down to this – I don’t have the right to decide for consenting adults who they should and shouldn’t marry.

    That’s what bothers me morally about the exemption for clergy members. Fred is right that we wouldn’t compel them to consecrate marriages that go against their church’s teachings. Still, the clergy members are still sorta kinda saying that if the decision were up to them, certain couples wouldn’t be married. There are still many people, in and out of the clergy, who insist that couples who have civil ceremonies only “aren’t really married.”

    Anyone here favor adopting the model found in Europe where only civil ceremonies are legally binding, and devout couples later have their marriages consecrated in religious ceremonies that have no legal force? As the system stands now, one possible side-effect of the clergy exemption is that same-sex couples in some communities may have to drive long distances to find a judge.

  • hapax

    I’m guessing there is some law which prohibits discrimination on the
    basis of sexual orientation in the provision of goods or services?

    If only.

  • LL

    Happy anniversary …

    I agree with everyone else here (as far as I can tell) that consenting adults in a supposedly free country should be able to do all the same things that any consenting adult can do. Your right to live your life as you see fit should not be up for a vote by the majority. I thought that’s why they were called “rights.”

  • FangsFirst

    [blockquote]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.[/blockquote]

    When I first read this, I was thoroughly confused.

    I’m an (agnostic) atheist in love with a pseudo-hardline Roman Catholic (social disagreements with the Church, but takes the sacraments and other specifically religious elements very seriously). Marriage is unsurprisingly important to my partner (see: sacraments), and it has its own place for the romantic in me.

    If I were another denomination, there would not be a large fuss at all.

    Being an atheist, it will one day require a special dispensation from my partner’s bishop, but is also still possible, though it would be a “natural” and not “sacramental” marriage (those quotation marks are not sarcastic, the terms are just not part of my own personal viewpoint, so I would rather not use them lightly–so I’m quoting them out from someone who says them with the right gravitas, if you will, to underline my respect for my partner’s beliefs).

    …My point being, I guess, that it’s not exactly the case that they already deny marriages of anything but a purely Catholic variety. Also, vague confusion that no one else has pointed to this. Though, of course, if we were two women or two men, this would change things completely, regardless of what either of us is faith-wise.

    Of course, two non-Catholics of any variety couldn’t get married by a Catholic church, so there is still that.

  • FangsFirst

    dratted bloody….is it HTML brackets instead? -.- Sorry for the ugly formatting there…

  • Lori

     dratted bloody….is it HTML brackets instead? -.- Sorry for the ugly formatting there…  

     

    Replace [ ] with and you’re good to go. 

  • FangsFirst

    ah, thanks, exactly as I suspected. Alas!
    Thanks :)

  • P J Evans

     Yup. Use the pointy ones. On my keyboard, they’re shift-comma and shift-period.

  • http://www.nightphoenix.com Amaranth

    Just as a curiosity…when no-fault divorce became allowed, was there suddenly this swell of people wanting to marry pets, furniture, and all the other classic slippery-slope bugbears? When mixed-race marriages became a reality, did brothers and sisters start flooding the courthouses in suits and bridal gowns? Are there numbered steps or levels to the slippery slope…*first* divorce, *then* gay
    marriage, *then* polygamy, *then* incest, *thenthenthen*, and if we break it off right
    now with the gays the “worser” scenarios will never happen?

    (I used divorce as the start because this is often blamed by conservatives as the beginning of the “erosion” of the Institution of Marriage.)

    Because as far as I can tell, the only major group of people right now who don’t have the right to marry and who WANT the right to marry are LGBT people (and people who’d like polygamy to be legal, but as far as I can tell there aren’t as many). The previous group, again as far as I know, was mixed-race couples…and, you know, legalizing that didn’t cause all the siblings in the US to spontaneously think, “Hey, if *they* can get married…”

    I just don’t see how making same-sex marriage legal is suddenly going to shake all these relatives and chair-lovers out of the wood works clamoring for the right to marry. If a goodly chunk of these wanted the right to marry, wouldn’t they *already* be out there trying to make it happen? Why does same-sex marriage have to happen *first*?

  • Anonymous

    Happy Anniversary, Fred and Slacktivixen!

    I’m often angry at my state, sometimes even for good reason. But I’m very, very proud that in Connecticut, same-sex marriage is legal. (It’s also illegal to fire someone based on sexual orientation. Woot, CT!)

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_NYIMSCWWLA5XTAYXL3FXNCJZ7I Kiba

    Happy Anniversary to you and your lovely wife! ^_^
    And may you have many more happy, healthy years together.

  • Anonymous

    Happy Anniversary!  And it really is a great photo. :) 

    Let’s hear it for marriage equality.

  • Anonymous

    Happy Anniversary!  And it really is a great photo. :) 

    Let’s hear it for marriage equality.

  • Amaryllis

    Happy anniversary, Fred and Slacktivixen! wishing you many years of happiness together.

    That really is an beautiful photo. You can’t go wrong by beginning with laughter. And of course, all good things are even better when they happen down the shore.

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    Happy anniversary.  You two look adorable. 

    I understand what you are trying to say about how legalizing gay marriage would not compel religious institutions to preform them.  I understand it very well.  What I do not understand is why cognition of this fails to manifest in the skulls of many other voting citizens. 

    I mean, it is as obvious as you have pointed out. 

  • Anonymous

    Fred,  belated congratulations on your anniversary.  That picture is really sweet.

  • Dan Audy

    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.

  • Mark Z.

    There is still a reason, which is to limit the concentration of wealth by inheritance. If I could marry my father, then on his death he could leave his entire estate to me without paying estate tax. Then when I’m near death I’ll marry one of my children, or my brother, and give everything to them. And so on.

    Of course Dad could still marry anyone else and give all his property away, but human nature being what it is, he’s most likely to want to give it to one of his children or another close relative, so the law clamps down on that case.

  • Dan Audy

    I honestly hadn’t considered that – I figured that incest laws would take care of immediate family members (where abuse and coersion are issues) but hadn’t thought of bald-faced financial chicanery with no sexual component.

    Upon due consideration (roughly 30 seconds) I don’t think this would be an issue (of sufficient frequency to worry about) for a couple reasons.  First off, both parties would have to already be unmarried or divorce sufficiently in advance of a death (which tend to not be very prone to scheduling) to form the marriage.  Both from a logistics point and a pissing off your current spouse point, I don’t see this being terribly popular.  Secondly, you could (theoretically) already do this through a wiling third party with a properly constructed pair of pre-nups (assuming you are the same gender as your parent or are able to use a same-sex marriage jurisdiction.  Thirdly, and most relevantly, you can already do this with step-parents.  The fact that (to the best of my knowledge) it hasn’t ever occurred in the population that could pull it off at the moment leaves me fairly confident that expanding the potential pool wouldn’t make it any more common.

    Also it is already possible to bypass the estate tax and pay no or little tax doing so on non-property wealth.  It requires some preparation in advance and prevents the parent from accessing those assets while they still live, but is reasonably popular and common.  Like most taxes, the estate tax is paid disproportionately by those for whom paying thousands of dollars to an accountant to cheat the system is less than they would save doing so.

  • 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. 

  • 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.

  • 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”. 

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Bificommander

    Grats on the aniversary.

    Now on the other topic of this post, I have a question for the people here. It’s a political issue here in the Netherlands, and I still am not sure what my position on it is/should be.

    Gay marriage has been legal here for a few years now. And the churches are still standing, no problems there. The question is about civil servants that hold civil ceremonies. We actually have our own versions of RTCs here, plus some fundies from other religions and some of these are civil servants. And there is still a debate on what to do with civil servants who object to gay marriage. Should they be allowed to opt-out of performing wedding ceremonies? A previous Chrisitan government said yes. Several city councels however said no (and the civil servants who perform weddings work for them, not for the national government). There’s still a debate going on, but it seems likely that the current government won’t push for a resolution. They themselves are mosty libertains, but in the senate they’re relying on support of the tiny RTC party for a mayority, and they’ve been sucking up to them ever since the election.

    My first instinct was to say no, this isn’t allowed. Gays are allowed to get married by law, civil servants are to accept that. Suck it up or resign. But a commedy sketch actually made me doubt. It had a very stereotypical Christian getting stuck performing a gay wedding. He proceeded to snark all the way through it. It was over the top of course, but it does suggest a problem: Is it pleasant for a gay couple to get stuck with someone holding a ceremony on the most important day of their lives (well, top 10 anyway) who dislikes doing it? Would it be preferable, say, to make it the job of the cities to make sure they have enough civil servants that DO perform gay weddings, and arrange behind the scenes that RTCs don’t get assigned to gay weddings? Or is this a principle matter, and should any suggestion that disaproving of gay weddings is ‘okay’ be removed, even if this means people wanting to have a wonderfull day get a master of ceremony who quitely disaproves of the whole affair?

  • ako

     And there is still a debate on what to do with civil servants who object
    to gay marriage. Should they be allowed to opt-out of performing
    wedding ceremonies?

    Provided “opt-out” means “quit their job”, yes.  Otherwise, no. 

    It’s very simple.  You do your job, and if your job is to perform wedding ceremonies for the government, you perform the ceremonies for anyone who’s legally entitled to get married.  If you decide to snark all over it or otherwise mistreat the people you’re their to serve, you should be fired.  If you feel it would be immoral to do your job, you quit.  Insisting that it’s okay to inflict the consequences of not doing your job on everyone else, but you should never have to suffer through the logical results of your decision to provide bad or noexistent service is whiny bullshit. 

    If you’re a hard-core animal rights activist who refuses to sell or serve non-vegan food, then you do not get the right to demand that the government employ you as a cafeteria worker and give you a special vegan-food-only section where you serve people.  If you’re sincerely convinced that women shouldn’t vote, you don’t get to issue voter registration cards and storm off with a sneer every time a woman comes in asking for one, leaving your co-workers with the mess.  If you work in a public library, you’re not supposed to shove the job off on your co-workers every time someone comes to check out a book you don’t agree with.  Giving people an excuse no to do their job for fear that they might do it badly is capitulation.  If they actually try something, they should be treated like any insubordinate and poorly-performing employee, and fear that they might behave badly shouldn’t be grounds for excusing them from the consequences of not doing their job.  Among other things, that’s really shitty management and sets a bad precedent.

  • Guest-again

    ‘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 is not quite accurate, leaving aside the fact of my parents’ Catholic wedding.

    What is likely more accurate is that the people covered by your categories (secular Jews being an almost certain exception) won’t accept the requirements of being married in a Catholic ceremony – which makes perfect sense to me, since I certainly don’t accept the dictates of the Catholic church concerning my marriage, which they in turn don’t recognize. Making me some variety of sinner, but one that can jump through the hoops of redemption – might even involve kissing a piece of jewelry or two, to get the paperwork perfect (though probably not a requirement in most American dioceses -ises?). 

  • 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.

  • 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

    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.

  • 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.”

  • Anonymous

    Happy (slightly belated) Anniversary!

  • Anonymous

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

  • 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….

  • 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.

  • 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?

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Lou Doench.

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

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

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

  • aaaaaargh

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


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