Wednesday, January 13, 2010


One of the arguments used by Prop 8 legal defense is that allowing gays to marry will somehow degrade the "institution" of marriage. One has to wonder how anyone can come to this conclusion but through severly twisting logic and completely ignoring history.

In our modern view of marriage, I don't think anyone wants to look at marriage as an "institution". That word conotates Baby poo green hospital walls, white coated orderlies, and lobotomies. Most people look at marriage as a powerfull emotional bond, rarely do we look beneath the surface of marriage. To do so would tarnish it some way...take away its magic. The only time we ever really examine marriage in a clinical sense is when we need to dissolve one and figure out who gets the kids and who gets the furniture.

So, who really is responsible for denigrating marriage if we have to look at it through two lenses...the legal, and the emotional? Presuming that both of them are as bound together as the two people who vow "till death do us part"... the answer is not what you may expect.

Many people blame divorce for the erosion of the American family and they would have alot of evidence to back that up. I myself have been affected by what happens when a family goes into meltdown. But is that really the cause? What makes divorce happen?....Lack of love?....spiritual degeneration?...I don't think so. Its much simpler than all that.....It's all "Leave It To Beavers" fault. By that, I mean unrealistic expectations of what marriage is and who we are within it.

Its no accident that my parents generation began the sharp upward statistical climb in divorce rates. Many married early, barely out of their teen years. Women had children and became homemakers during a period of history when they discovered that they could also venture into the workplace and be their own breadwinner. Sexual mores changed. Out went the separate twin beds of "I love Lucy" and on came more frank discussions about sexuality for pleasure...not just for making babies. The world had changed, but we didn't change with it...instead we blamed spiritual decline....and yes sometimes...teh gays. It was too hard to face the fact that the dream lives that we were building had in fact changed us. In enjoying a better American dream...we asked ourselves, "Is there more?"....oh yes, there was...but some of it came with awfull growing pains.

Being the child of a divorced family. I know that marriage has already been redifined long ago, not by gays, but by the very people who are still trying desparatly to make it fit that "Ozzie and Harriet" mold that has only ever been a recent addition to the history of marriage. Just as another recent change, interraciall marriage, also redifined what my grandparents thought of marriage....and against the wishes of a religious majority who used the Bible as reason for their resistance, I might add.

One of the arguments made by Charles Cooper, Attorney for Prop 8, is that allowing marriage will lead to an abandonment of the "institution" and that allowing marriage equality will lead to an increase in divorce rates. ....I hate to break it to you Mr. Cooper but none of those arguments are true and you knew that when you offered them in court. Massachussets, which has had gay marriage for some time now, has one of the lowest divorce rates in the nation. And what about all the gay people who are trying to flock to the institution? Don't they raise those marriage numbers a bit? Is the huge line of gay people at the county clerks somehow blocking straight people from getting their licenses? I doubt it.

If anything was going to discourage people from getting married it was the sexual revolution of the 70's and here we are on the other side of that and still people seek to get married. That says something about its importance, no?

So What can gay people do to marriage that hasn't already been done by straight people a millionfold? Nothing. If you don't view drivethrough Las Vegas weddings as a denigration of marriage, or t.v. shows like "The Bachelor". Then, the only objection that we are left with is that you view US as that denigration. We are the stain, to your eyes. And since that does show obvious and malicious discrimination Mr. Cooper and folks at Prop 8, that would take your words and turn them into our victory.


  1. You are right about divorce I think. The root causes of devorce are mediocre marriages.

    My aunt is 50. She married at 20. She and a great many of her friends are getting divorced.

    They all got married because it was the thing to do. Now their children have left home they are realizing that there is nothing left for them in the relationship.

    They have all spent 30 years married to people they didn't really like.

  2. These people make it out that gays want to get married for the fun of it or something. As if they are not wanting to be married because they want to be committed to eachother. These so called "Christians" need to get a hold of themselves. I agree that the whole "institution" of marriage thing has already gone down. My own parents mainly got married for convenience. I know too many people who get married young or deside to get married after only a week of dating. I find it unfair that they can so casually decide to marry while in most states us gays can't do that. SO I agree the whole "protect marriage" campaign is really getting old.
    Oh by the way I was amused you ended it stating about Las Vegas drive in marriages. That is where I am from and I alway found it weird that could be done.

  3. My understanding is that divorce is particularly high amongst right-wing Christians - which makes sense, since the US states with the highest divorce rates are for the most parts Bible Belt states. Most of the data I've seen indicates that divorce rates amongst gays are comparable with those of straights, so gays are evidently better at doing marriage than right-wing Christians. What you and OrangeGoblin said about motives for marrying has made me realise one possible reason why gay marriages are more successful.

    With straights there's considerable social pressure from family and friends to get married, but social pressure does not make a solid foundation and, when the marriage has to survive on its own, it isn't necessarily always strong enough to survive. All too often the house turns out to have been built on sand.

    As a general rule, for gays it's the opposite. When we get married wo do so because we want to build a life with our partner, however we often do so in the absence of support from friends, family & coworkers, and very often with considerable opposition. That makes social expectations a liability, not a strength, so in order to survive for any length of time the relationship has to be solid, founded on rock.

    As divorce becomes increasingly acceptable, the stigma that would once have held an unhappy marriage together dissipates, and divorce becomes an increasingly acceptable option. Because gay marriages have to be stronger from the start, they're less likely to get to that stage.

  4. I can't remember where I've heard this, but I really liked these words (from memory):

    Millions of women spend lots of time and lots of money to prepare for their special day, they dream about being beautiful brides for years, they plan their wedding charts, they think what kind of dress they would want to wear, they work on every detail... But only handful of them actually spend at least five minutes to thinks what marriage is, why do they want to get married, what's the purpose of marriage...

    Indeed, how many of us have actually thought it through? If you're straight, you know that this possibility exists, you have a right to get married, and you should get married some day because that's what everybody does. And only for us, gays, this issue has a certain shade of gray, for we are not allowed to have what they can have. Maybe, that is why we think about it so much, analyze, actually spend way more than five minutes to think what it really is and if we really need it? Maybe, that is why we really appreciate marriage, not simply because we can't have it [yet]? So, the question is, who really deserves marriage — someone who can appreciate it, or someone whose genitalia is complementary to genitalia of their fiancĂ©(e)?

  5. It's impossible to imagine a valid argument for the position that gay marriage threatens traditional marriage. Your post makes that very clear.
    What I bellieve is happening is that like the 2004 Presidential campaign, the right with their religious axis, is using same sex marriage as their line in the sand - their defining battle.
    The myth of the "Leave It To Beaver" family is a powerful one for the right. It harkens to an America that was white, middleclass and church going.

  6. @ Bryan, I forgot to say one thing: this is your best blog entry so far IMO.

    @ Lexxi, that quote about women focussing on the wedding at the expense of the marriage kinda ties in to what I said. Perhaps we're better able to recognise the real value & hard work involved in a successful marriage than right-wing Christians because we're on the outside looking in? It seems to me that because we don't have the social expectations, we're less likely to have the rose-tinted glasses.

    Either way, great quote!

  7. The line about the hoards of gay people picking up marriage licences blocking the straights = best thing ever.

    Following twitter updates in the last few days has made it abundently clear to me why Prop 8 people don't want cameras in court - because they know (or certainly I think the lawyers do) that every one of their arguments just doesn't hold up to the scrutiny of a court room. It's all very well speaking to a crowd of emotionally charged evangelical christians, but well you're presenting your argument to someone whose job it is to be objective, it all sounds ridiculous: brokeback mountain being successful means there's no discrimination? equality will raise divorce rates... even though more accepting states are more likely to have divorce rates going down? Really? That's the best you could come up with?

  8. As bad as it is today..I cannot imagine how horrible it would have been to be gay..let's say back in the 1920's Gay sex was illegal in most states. It was considered a mental illness. People were either forced into straight marriages..or..then there were the "eternal bachelors" know.."he's not the marrying kind.." Either scenario would be horrible. Marrying someone that you are not sexually attracted to or living your life completely alone. How sad!!
    We have come a long way but there still are miles to go..

  9. I started writing the following text under the false impression I have something new to say. Well, I don’t think that anymore. Feel free to skip it if you consider yourself being up-to-date in terms of gay rights and marriage equality activism.

    What same-sex marriage really threatens is that the era when hate speech based on religious opinions (proclaiming homosexuality a sinful, acquired, mutable behavior) or naturalistic views (allocating gender roles in sexual relationships solely for the reasons of procreation) will come to an end, and such speech will no longer be tolerated in our society.

    Some religious followers argue that establishing marriage equality will limit their rights to spread their teachings about “sinfulness” of homosexuality, but there is a very distinctive line between saying something is “sinful” and urging people to be intolerant to those “sins” and to actively discriminate against “sinners.” Why don’t we see campaigns against adulterers and divorcĂ©(e)s (I’m picking these categories because they are closest to marriage)? They may be “sinners,” but they are tolerated and not discriminated against. So, the question really is, “Why gays?

    Freedom of speech and freedom of religion are amongst some of the most important human rights. As much as it hurts gay people to hear that they are “sinners” and in the afterlife they will burn in hell for eternity, we have to tolerate such speech. What we should not tolerate is activism against gay people and any attempts to take away their rights as human beings and citizens of the country where the law of the land is the Constitution of the United States which precisely declares the division of the state from any religious institution.

    The state has no religious believes; the state relies on irrefutable evidence, adherence to consistency of governing policy, protecting human and civil rights of its citizens. And the evidence says there is no reason why homosexual people should be treated as inferior to their heterosexual counterparts. There is no evidence to suggest that religious understanding of marriage must be superior for the state to decide that the extended definition of marriage (with the inclusion of same-sex couples) is inadmissible. There is no evidence to suggest that same-sex marriage will damage opposite-sex marriage, or that it will pose some danger to children.

    Perry v. Schwarzenegger is not just about same-sex marriage. We have homosexuality on trial! The defendants, along with their allies, made sure that all the stereotypes and lies about homosexuals that were being spread for decades and centuries before them would still thrive to browbeat Californians into voting for a false idea of protecting themselves and their children from demonized gay people. This only proves with the scream at the top of the lungs that the resistance to marriage equality is coming directly from the frenetic prejudices and has nothing to do with the marriage itself, but has everything to do with the deep-seated, unfounded fears — and that, ladies and gentlemen, is bellicose bigotry which makes sexual orientation a “suspect class” to be recognized by the federal court system and protected by the federal government. And the passage of the Matthew Shepard Act which included crimes motivated by a victim’s sexual orientation into the list of hate crimes proves once again that sexual orientation is de facto already recognized as a “suspect class” by the federal government.

  10. @ K!r!lleXXI
    You make some very good points.

  11. Bryan
    You right as a child and early teen I spent more time planning my wedding then thinking about what marriage actually meant.. as I grew older I realized that I DIDN'T want marriage growing up with the divorce so high I was getting the impression that forever didnt mean anything any- more and I still havent found my forever soulmate and now if I do I dont think marriage is FOR me, I respect those who do still believe in marriage to me its a personal decision you make with your partner/soulmate not for everyone else to approve or disapproved ...
    Marriage is important to people but at the end of the day also a very personal decision to the 2 people that have made that decision and their reasons why they want to get married... I dont want to force my view of marriage on any one so why should I let other people who dont know me force their views on me....
    You and Jay look so happy in your video of your wedding just like my best friend was at her wedding to her husband ... they had so many people telling them not to get married because they were so young and that they wont last but they just celebrated their 20th anniversary so to all that have married, straight or homosexual best wishes and dont give up the fight for what you believe in.