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  1. #1
    Percy's Avatar
    Percy is online now Knackered old Knight
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    JRM on Same Sex Marriage

    From Jennifer.

    Well worth the read.

    THIS is an activist at work.

    Some very hard-hitting phrases.

    Whew! I’m out of breath! I’ve have one exciting event after another! Last night we closed the voting for the Reel Love Video Challenge. In the next few days, we will tally up the votes, and send the top vote getters to our Distinguished Panel of Judges. They will make the final ranking, and we will announce the prizes! Go take a look at these videos by young adults. You will be proud that you support the Ruth Institute!


    We are also getting ready for our conference, Love and Life in the Divine Plan, to be held at Aquinas College in Nashville, Tennessee, next week, February 25-26. This conference will feature top speakers on the four threats to marriage outlined by the US Catholic Bishops in their pastoral letter, “Love and Life in the Divine Plan.” Dr. Janet Smith will talk about contraception. Dr. Brad Wilcox, Director of the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia, will discuss cohabitation. Dr. Doug Allen, economics professor from Simon Fraser University in Canada, will talk about the impact of changing divorce laws on society. And yours truly will talk about same sex unions and artificial reproductive technology.

    The conference kicks off with a lecture by Dr. Sam Gregg of the Acton Institute on Christian Anthropology, and will close with a lecture by Sister Jane Dominic, one of the Nashville Dominicans, on the Rich Gift of God’s Love.


    This conference will be a great blend of philosophy, theology and social science. Please come! You should especially consider bringing your non-believing friends to this event. The spaces are filling up fast, so don’t delay. Register here. This conference will be a great opportunity to educate yourself and your friends about marriage.


    If you are unable to come, please consider making a contribution to support the participation of students and clergy. Support from wonderful people like you make events like this possible!


    Last week I was called out in a hurry to testify before the Rhode Island state legislature, where the Governor and the Speaker of the House have declared same sex marriage their top priority. I told the committee that “History will not be kind” to them. My testimony is this week’s main article. Please go read the whole article and participate in the discussion in the comments section. You will get an idea of what we are dealing with.


    Believe it or not, that trip to Rhode Island was my second trip to the east coast since the beginning of February. I was slated to go to Wheaton College in Chicago and on to Pittsburgh, departing on February 1. The blizzard changed my plans! I just skipped the Chicago leg of the trip and went straight to Pittsburgh. Amazingly enough, I didn’t have five minutes of travel delay! I live a charmed life, I guess!


    I spoke at Franciscan University of Steubenville, Ohio, and the University of Pittsburgh. In Steubenville, I spoke to a sexual and medical ethics class for nursing students, as well as to the entire student body. And at the University of Pittsburgh, I spoke with their Love and Fidelity chapter and to a “Truth on Tap” group, for graduate students and young professionals. Everywhere I went, I encountered truly first class, high caliber young people who are determined to make a difference for marriage!


    We could not do this without the help of wonderful people like you who share our materials, sign up your friends, and make financial sacrifices for us. Thanks for all of your support!



    Dr. Jennifer Roeback Morse’'s Testimony in Rhode Island Regarding Same Sex Marriage

    Delivered February 9, 2011, in the Providence, Rhode Island, courthouse.


    I am here today to address those of you who have already made up your minds to redefine marriage. History will not be kind to you. Previous generations of social experimenters have caused unimaginable misery for millions of people. Particular people advocated the policies that led to today’s 50% divorce rate and 40% out of wedlock childbearing rate. None of these people has ever been held accountable.


    I am here today to hold you to account, for the predictable harms you will cause by redefining marriage.


    Let me remind you of the essential public purpose of marriage. Marriage attaches mothers and fathers to their children, and to one another. Once you replace that essential public purpose with inessential, even frivolous private purposes, marriage will not be able to do its job. But children will still need secure attachments to their mothers and fathers, a need which will go unfulfilled.


    You are redefining parenthood, as a side effect of redefining marriage, without even considering what you are about to do. Until now, marriage makes legal parenthood track biological parenthood. The legal presumption of paternity means that children born to a married woman are presumed to be the children of her husband. With this legal rule, and the social practice of sexual exclusivity, marriage attaches children to their biological parents.


    Same sex couples of course, do not procreate together. “Marriage equality” requires a slippery move from “presumption of paternity” to the gender neutral “presumption of parentage.” This sleight of hand transforms parenthood. The same sex partner of a biological parent is never the other biological parent. Rather than attaching children to their biological parents, same sex marriage is the vehicle that separates children from a parent.


    No longer will the law hold that children need a mother and a father. Under the inspiration and guidance of people like you in other states, courts are saying silly things like, “the traditional notion that children need a mother and a father to be raised into healthy, well-adjusted adults is based more on stereotype than anything else.”


    This statement made by the Iowa Supreme Court in Varnum v Brien, is false as a general statement. Mountains of data show that children do need their mothers and their fathers,2 and that children care deeply about biological connections.3 The gay community is not responsible for today’s generation of fatherless children. But they will be responsible for the next such generation.

    And don’t tell me that we already have lots of children unattached to their parents. We should be taking steps to place responsible limits on things like divorce, rather than careening headlong into further and more institutionalized injustices to children.

    Are you really prepared to accept responsibility for the consequences of detaching legal parenthood from the natural moorings of biology? Do you really want a world in which children may have three or four legal parents?4

    Are you ready for contract parenting, in which adults parcel out parental responsibilities amongst themselves? That is the world you are bringing into being. 5

    The next generation of children of divorce may be shuttling between 3 or 4 households, with their backpacks and their sleeping bags. Whether you’re ready or not, I hold you accountable.

    And don’t try to tell me “nothing so terrible has happened in Massachusetts.” Redefining marriage redefines the way in which generations relate to one another. It is ludicrous to believe that we would feel the full impact of such a change in a few years. It will take at least a generation, a full thirty years or more, before the full effects of redefining marriage work themselves out throughout the social system.6

    The only argument you have is so-called “equality.” You have taken a venerable American concept and twisted it out of recognition. Equality used to mean limiting the power of the state to make irrelevant distinctions among citizens. In your hands, equality has become a battering ram for smashing every aspect of social life that has any hint of sexual differentiation. No more mothers and fathers, only Parent 1 and Parent 2.

    Far from limiting the power of the state, your version of equality has become a tool for the hostile takeover of civil society by the state. Churches are already under attack for daring to dissent from the new state-imposed Orthodoxy that marriage is whatever the government says it is.7

    Parents are losing the right to direct the education of their own children.8 Foster parents in the UK must submit to the state’s views about marriage.9 Reputable adoption agencies have been put out of business.

    And the pettiness of some of the complaints brought by same sex couples is simply staggering. Christian bed and breakfast owners have been sued for not allowing unmarried couples to stay in double rooms. They would have gladly rented them separate rooms, but that was not good enough for the thought police.10 Same sex couples have brought legal complaints against wedding photographers, as if there were a constitutional right to have your picture taken by the person of your choice.11 All in the name of “civil rights.”

    Let me remind you that a vast majority of African Americans completely reject same sex marriage. They are deeply offended by the high-jacking of the moral authority of their civil rights movement.

    When slavery was abolished, all slaves became free men and women. When women obtained the right to vote, the discrimination ended with the very next election. But for children of same sex marriage, the situation will be different. When we come to our senses 30 years from now and realize that we have perpetrated a grotesque injustice, not a single child born fatherless or motherless within a same sex marriage will get his missing parent back. Only prevention will protect children’s rights.

    The thin disguise of marriage equality will not mislead anyone, nor will it atone for the wrong this day done.12

    And to those of you who plan to vote for man/woman marriage, I say: stay strong! History is on your side.


    1 Varnum v Brien Supreme Court of Iowa, No. 07–1499, Filed April 3, 2009, pg 54, footnote 26
    2 Among the many citations that could be given, “Why Marriage Matters: 26 Conclusions from the Social Sciences,” (NY: Institute for American Values, 2005), summarizes some of the most important research.
    3 See Elizabeth Marquardt, Norvell Glenn and Karen Clark, “My Daddy’s Name is Donor: A Pathbreaking Study of Young Adults Conceived through Sperm Donation,” (NY: Institute for American Values, 2010).
    4 “Pennsylvania Court finds three Adults Can Have Parental Rights,” Leonard Link: Pennsylvania Court Finds Three Adults Can Have Parental Rights (quoting Superior Court case, Jacob v Shultz-Jacob, 2007 Westlaw 1240885 , 2007 PA Super 118), “Canadian court rules boy has a dad and two moms,” http://www.religioustolerance.org/hommarr3par.htm
    5 “Why just Two? Disaggregating Traditional Parental Rights and Responsibilities to Recognize Multiple Parents,” Melanie Jacobs, Michigan State University College of Law, Legal Studies Research Paper Series, No. 05-04; “Johnny has two mommies—and four dads,” Boston Globe, October 24, 2010, Johnny has two mommies – and four dads - The Boston Globe
    6 Quoting divorce statistics in Massachusetts is frankly ridiculous, since the divorce rate rose by 4.5% in MA between 2004 and 2007, while the divorce rate across the whole of the US fell by 2.7%. http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nvss/Di...nd%2099-07.pdf (Divorce Rate by State, 1990- 2007, Division of Vital Statistics, National Center for Health Statistics, CDC. Page last updated, November 19, 2010), and NVSS - National Marriage and Divorce Rate Trends National Marriage and Divorce Trends, National Vital Statistics System. Provisional number of divorces and annulments and rates, United States, 2000-2007, page last updated, November 19, 2010.
    7 For a general discussion of the likely impact of same sex marriage on a variety of church-related activities, see Douglas Laycock, Anthony R. Picarello, Jr. and Robin Fretwell Wilson, Same-Sex Marriage and Religious Liberty: Emerging Conflicts, (Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield Publishers, 2008).
    8 See in Massachusetts for instance, Parker v. Hurley, 514 F.3d 87, 92-93 (1st Cir. 2008), cert. denied, 2008 WL 1926813 (Oct. 6, 2008), and in California, SB 777 requires “non-discrimination” in instruction, for private as well as public schools. Senate Floor Analysis of S.B. 777, Senate Rules Committee, Office of Senate Floor Analysis 2 (Sept. 19, 2007) (internal quotations omitted), available at SB 777 Senate Bill - Bill Analysis. See S.B. 777, 2007-2008 Reg. Sess. (Cal. 2007), available at http://info.sen.ca.gov/pub/07-08/bil...chaptered.pdf;
    9 In the UK, see the recent cases of Owen and Eunice Johns, Gay rights laws are 'a danger to our freedoms': Bishops speak out on homosexuality | Mail Online and John and Charlotte Yallop, Christians Denied Foster Kids Over Moral Stance - World - CBN News - Christian News 24-7 - CBN.com
    10 A UK couple who runs a bed and breakfast out of their own home is being sued by a same sex couple because they were denied a double room. Christian B&b Owners Sued By Homosexual Couple
    11 The New Mexico Human Rights Commission fined a Christian wedding photographer because she declined to take photos of a lesbian commitment ceremony. http://media.npr.org/documents/2008/jun/photography.pdf
    12 Slight paraphrase of Justice Harlan’s dissent in Plessey v. Ferguson, 163 U.S. 537,562
    Last edited by Percy; 16th-February-2011 at 04:40 AM.
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  2. #2
    shaazam's Avatar
    shaazam is offline Established Member
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    Re: JRM on Same Sex Marriage

    the test is there a loving relationship established ! like between a lonely wimyn and her rotty why not hold a marriage

  3. #3
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    Re: JRM on Same Sex Marriage

    Until now, marriage makes legal parenthood track biological parenthood.
    Wrong. At least 12% and possibly as many as 20% of children born in a marriage are not the offspring of the father. Marriage forces legal parenthood upon the father.

    The legal presumption of paternity means that children born to a married woman are presumed to be the children of her husband. With this legal rule, and the social practice of sexual exclusivity, marriage attaches children to their biological parents.
    No, it attaches 80% to 88% of children to their biological parents. The other times, the husband is duped.

    We should be taking steps to place responsible limits on things like divorce, rather than careening headlong into further and more institutionalized injustices to children.
    Absolutely agree and that needs to be done by facing realities.

    The next generation of children of divorce may be shuttling between 3 or 4 households, with their backpacks and their sleeping bags.
    I don't like that wording because it sounds too much like the argument against shared parenting of children after a divorce. Also, from the studies I have seen, so long as children have a proper place in each home they go to (and are not literally bedding down in a sleeping bag too often) then there seems to be no harm done at all. Human psychology seems to be well suited to a nomadic lifestyle.

    Foster parents in the UK must submit to the state’s views about marriage.
    Legal foster parents everywhere are state-appointed and it is quite usual for them to be vetted for suitability. That the state's views might be distasteful is one thing but foster parents should be held to a standard that the state determines.

    When we come to our senses 30 years from now and realize that we have perpetrated a grotesque injustice, not a single child born fatherless or motherless within a same sex marriage will get his missing parent back. Only prevention will protect children’s rights.
    I'm concerned that it might take more than 30 years: it could be double that before society realises the effect of such changes. It seems astonishing to me that we could contemplate exacerbating the damage to our society just at a time when people seem to be waking up to the damage of no-fault divorce and the impact on single-parent families upon the people who are most vulnerable - the children.

    But will a ban on same-sex marriage make a difference? There is nothing to stop two homosexuals being in charge of a child that one of them is the legal carer of. They do not need to be married for that. While it is quite a bit harder for men, we all know the ease with which a woman can get herself pregnant and deny the father access but make him pay, even if he was raped as a child. She can then simply cohabit with her female lover. In concentrating on whether same-sex marriage makes sense or not, we might be missing the mark of caring about children's rights to a parent of each sex.


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  4. #4
    silentblood's Avatar
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    Re: JRM on Same Sex Marriage

    I'm sorry, Percy, I'm going to disagree with your friend.

    If you allow gay people to marry each other, you no longer encourage them to marry people to whom they feel little attraction, with whom they most often cannot relate sexually, and thereby reduce the number of supposed heterosexual marriages that end up in the divorce courts. If it is the institution of heterosexual marriage that worries you, then consider that no one would require you or anyone else to participate in a gay marriage. So you would have freedom of choice, of choosing what kind of marriage to participate in -- something more than what you have now. And speaking of divorce -- to argue that the institution of marriage is worth preserving at the cost of requiring involuntary participants to remain in it is a better argument for tightening divorce laws than proscribing gay marriage.

    Also this:
    I am here today to address those of you who have already made up your minds to redefine marriage. History will not be kind to you. Previous generations of social experimenters have caused unimaginable misery for millions of people. Particular people advocated the policies that led to today’s 50% divorce rate and 40% out of wedlock childbearing rate. None of these people has ever been held accountable.
    The American critics of same-sex marriage betray their provincialism with this argument. The fact is that a form of gay marriage has been legal in Denmark since 1989 (full marriage rights except for adoption rights and church weddings, and a proposal now exists in the Danish parliament to allow both of those rights as well*), and most of the rest of Scandinavia from not long after. Full marriage rights have existed in many Dutch cities for several years, and it was recently made legal nationwide, including the word "marriage" to describe it. In other words, we have a long-running "experiment" to examine for its results -- which have uniformly been positive. Opposition to the Danish law was led by the clergy (much the same as in the States). A survey conducted at the time revealed that 72 percent of Danish clergy were opposed to the law. It was passed anyway, and the change in the attitude of the clergy there has been dramatic -- a survey conducted in 1995 indicated that 89 percent of the Danish clergy now admit that the law is a good one and has had many beneficial effects, including a reduction in suicide, a reduction in the spread of sexually transmitted diseases and in promiscuity and infidelity among gays. Far from leading to the "destruction of Western civilization" as some critics (including the Mormon and Catholic churches among others) have warned, the result of the "experiment" has actually been civilizing and strengthening, not just to the institution of marriage, but to society as a whole. So perhaps we should accept the fact that someone else has already done the "experiment" and accept the results as positive. The fact that many churches are not willing to accept this evidence says more about the churches than it does about gay marriage.

    Edit:
    *Oops I was wrong, the already did one of those: Denmark OKs adoptions by gay couples | News Story on 365gay.com
    Last edited by silentblood; 16th-February-2011 at 05:24 PM.
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    Percy's Avatar
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    Re: JRM on Same Sex Marriage

    I would address all the failures of argument, silentblood, if I had an hour to spare. But I will just start with one and leave it to others to add.

    If you allow gay people to marry each other, you no longer encourage them to marry people to whom they feel little attraction, with whom they most often cannot relate sexually, and thereby reduce the number of supposed heterosexual marriages that end up in the divorce courts.
    You make the erroneous assumption that there is some societal encouragement for gay people to marry those whom they don't like.

    Are you serious?

    You also assume that such people are the ones that get divorced.

    The mind boggles.
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  6. #6
    silentblood's Avatar
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    Re: JRM on Same Sex Marriage

    Quote Quote from Percy
    Are you serious?
    Yes. Closet homosexuals often marry the opposite sex.

    You also assume that such people are the ones that get divorced.
    That wasn't my intent. My intent was that it was one possible reason for divorce.
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  7. #7
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    Re: JRM on Same Sex Marriage

    I thought I'd share this too:The Radical Potential of Gay Marriage | Bring the Ruckus

    While visiting Portland, Oregon in March 2004, my pregnant wife, our two-year old boy, and I took a bus to the Multnomah County government building, where they give out marriage licenses. About fifty couples were standing in line. When the doors opened a loud cheer when out and the couples filed in. We were cheering, too. A few minutes later, a newly wed couple asked my wife to sign their certificate as a witness. She proudly agreed.

    What was the big deal? The Multnomah County Recorder had just agreed to grant marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Every couple in line was gay or lesbian. The certificate my wife signed was for a lesbian couple who had been together for years. It was an amazing and important historical moment, and we were proud to have brought our son to it.
    Wait a minute. Why would a heterosexual (het) married couple give a damn about two lesbians getting hitched? Further, why should I in particular think this moment was significant, given that I’m a revolutionary anarchist who believes the state is an oppressive institution that should be abolished, not recognizing unions between people. What made this an important moment—a radical moment?
    Because at this point in time, gay marriage is radical. It is radical not just because it grants gays and lesbians the same opportunity to have their relationships publicly recognized—which hasn’t happened in the West at least since the ancient Greeks. It is radical because it has the potential to challenge existing ideas of what counts as a “normal” relationship. It opens up new possibilities of how humans can engage in personal relationships (which I’ll call “unions”), and it puts pressure on the state and society to recognize these new unions. Further, it’s also an issue that could put people in the streets against the state and Christian fundamentalists if the struggle over gay marriage heats up. For these reasons, radicals— including happily married het radicals like me—should support gay marriage and be willing to hit the streets to defend it.
    Yet for reasons I explain below, fulfilling the radical potential of gay marriage depends on a successful struggle against whiteness. This might seem surprising, although it shouldn’t be, given how whiteness—defined as a position of racial privilege in a society that claims to be democratic—manages to insert itself in nearly every issue in American politics. If gay marriage is to open up space for public recognition of new sorts of unions, the movement for it has to confront its white problem.
    The struggle for gay marriage

    Gay marriage is not an entirely new issue, but its entry into the public consciousness began in 2003, when the Massachusetts Supreme Court ruled that prohibitions against it violated the state’s constitution and gave the legislature until May 2004 to change the law to allow same-sex marriages. On May 17, 2004, gay marriage became legal in Massachusetts. This set off struggles for same-sex or gay marriage throughout the nation, as officials in Multnomah County; San Francisco; New Paltz, New York; and Sandoval County, New Mexico briefly issued marriage licenses to same-sex couples in defiance of state or local laws. The granting of such licenses was eventually stopped in these locales, but several city officials (including some mayors) still face investigations or charges for committing civil disobedience in granting the licenses.
    The push for gay marriage set off a ferocious backlash among Christian fundamentalists. Since May 2004, fourteen states have amended their constitutions to ban gay marriage, and California may be the fifteenth if a ballot initiative recently launched is successful. A total of 38 states have laws that define marriage as existing strictly between a man and a woman. Further, fundamentalists, supported by President Bush, are trying to pass an amendment to the U.S. Constitution that would define marriage as strictly between a man and a woman.
    In the meantime, quietly, more than 6,000 gay and lesbian couples have married in Massachusetts in the first year that gay marriage has been legal. Two-thirds of those couples have been lesbian relationships. In addition to Massachusetts, Vermont grants “civil unions,” which guarantees most of the legal rights of marriage but without the name or status of marriage. (It’s also legal in Spain and the Netherlands.
    The radical debate over gay marriage

    Marriage of any kind has always been a difficult issue for anarchists, feminists, and radical queers. The radical critique of marriage goes back to Emma Goldman, who argued that marriage is a patriarchal institution that oppresses women and limits the ways in which humans relate to each other sexually and emotionally. Others criticize gay marriage for attempting to make homosexuality “normal,” which inevitably requires isolating fairies, bears, butch dykes, and others who can’t (or won’t) fit the “model” same-sex family with 2.2 in vitro kids, a middle class income, a Volvo in the garage, and TiVo in the living room.
    These critiques of marriage are important and need to be kept in mind by anyone thinking of getting married—homo, het, or other. The feminist/anarchist ideal of no state involvement whatsoever in any sort of union among people is obviously the ideal. But as with many struggles, the path to this goal is not always the most direct one. We need to seize the opportunities history provides. In the short term, this may require embracing a practice (marriage) we would otherwise like to see ended rather than extended.
    Context is all. What is an oppressive practice in one context can be liberating in another. Just as revolutionary civil rights workers like James Forman recognized that a Black Southerner voting was not buying into the system but threatening it, so is gay marriage a potential threat to marriage and the traditional family. It is a threat because it undermines the assumption that an intimate union consists of one man and one woman. Radicals need to challenge this “heteronormativity,” as academics call it, and the best means to do so today is by embracing the struggle to legalize same-sex marriages, whatever one’s opinion of marriage itself. All the radical critiques of marriage combined don’t pose one-tenth the threat to patriarchal and heterosexist institutions that the simple marriage between the two middle-class white lesbians whose marriage my wife legally witnessed does.
    Radical feminist and queer activists and scholars, many of whom used to be critics of gay marriage, are already making this point. In the early nineties, for example, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force policy director Paula Ettelbrick opposed making legal marriage a priority for the gay rights movement because, she argued, gay marriage would encourage assimilation rather than acceptance of queer difference. But Ettelbrick now supports gay marriage. This may seem like a reversal in position, but not necessarily. The basic principle Ettelbrick holds to is that the basic notion of the “traditional family” needs to be transformed. “Being queer,” she writes, “means pushing the parameters of sex and family, and in the process transforming the very fabric of society.” In the current situation, she sees gay marriage as an opening toward transforming the family and subverting state interference in unions among people.
    Gay marriage in the streets?

    There are several important reasons to support gay marriage. The first is just straight-up fairness. As a het guy, my right to marry gives me a social status above all gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender (GLBT) persons in some respects, because society recognizes my union while refusing to recognize theirs. Anti-gay policies are among the last legal forms of discrimination in the United States. Granting the right of a person to marry whoever she wants is important if only to end this last legal form of inequality. I can’t see why any radical would support the current status quo. After all, the right to marry is not an obligation to marry. Even if you oppose the institution of marriage, you should support the right of GLBT folks to marry as long as hets have that right.
    Another reason to defend gay marriage is that it has become the frontline struggle in the battle against Christian fundamentalism. Same-sex marriage is a polarizing issue. It divides society into those for it and those against it, with little or no middle ground. (Civil unions is an attempt to create a middle ground, but it has no constituency.) “Moderates” fear polarizing issues. Radicals, however, are attracted to them because they raise the profile of radical positions, isolate the moderates, and draw clear lines between radicals and fundamentalists. These lines are typically drawn in the streets, which is where the struggle over same-sex marriage is headed if fundamentalists succeed in taking their constitutional amendment to state legislatures. Direct action over gay marriage could be the biggest protest movement against the religious right since the battles to defend abortion clinics in the 1980s and 90s. Get ready.
    The real significance of gay marriage, however, lies in its ability to shake up and potentially transform our understanding of social relationships. Rather than “normalize” gay and lesbian relationships so that they simply imitate het unions, gay marriage could expand the number and kind of intimate relations that are publicly recognized. This is the secret of gay marriage that petrifies the fundamentalists. They fear (correctly) that gay marriage will not confirm traditional notions of marriage and unions but challenge them. This could legitimate all sorts of alternative unions, from gay monogamy to group parenthood to polyamory (loving more than one person). Rather than shrinking from this possibility, as much of the mainstream pro-gay marriage lobby does, radicals should embrace it.
    Gay marriage can be a step toward the subversion of the traditional family, not the normalization of gay and lesbian monogamy. As Richard Goldstein of the Village Voice notes, “It’s understandable that advocates for gay marriage would portray it as a tribute to normalcy, and in the short term it probably will look like that. But as gay people grow accustomed to this option they will shape it to suit their particular needs. You’ll see leather weddings, boi-on-boi unions between queers of the opposite sex, trans matches that defy the boundaries of gender—all in cahoots with rice-throwing, trip-to-Niagara realness. Queers won’t stop being queer just because they can get hitched. The tradition of open relationships won’t cease to exist, nor will the boundless exploration of identity and desire.”
    Further, Goldstein notes that gay marriage could open the door for public recognition of other types of unions, such as among elderly persons who live together but don’t want to “sully” the memory of their deceased spouses by formally marrying again, siblings who want to honor their bond (and legally join their assets), or group custody of kids. The fundies, for once, are right: There’s no limit to the sorts of unions that gay marriage could help make possible, simply by challenging the current notion that a “legitimate” union consists only of one man and one woman.
    The threat of respectability

    Mainstream GLBT organizations know they face an uphill battle in legalizing gay marriage. Their approach has been to make gay marriage seem as moderate and respectable as possible. The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) website, for example, writes, “One thing that both sides of the marriage issue can agree upon is that marriage strengthens families. Children are more secure if they are raised in homes with two loving parents who have a legal relationship with them and can share the responsibility of parenthood.” HRC also argues that “GLBT people deserve equal access to the American dream. Gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people grow up dreaming of falling in love, getting married and growing old together. Just as much as the next person, same-sex couples should be able to fulfill that dream.” Clearly, their strategy is to make gay marriage seem like the functional equivalent of het marriage, implying no far-reaching consequences for American society.
    We should expect this line from liberals—it’s what makes them liberals, after all. Radicals must avoid the temptation to adopt this strategy for gay marriage (which is likely to fail, anyway). But we also need to avoid succumbing to the temptation to dismiss gay marriage itself because of this strategy. The strategy is liberal but the goal is not. We must push the subversive potential of gay marriage. This will provide a new context in which to debate the issue publicly. It will be an aggressive stance that frightens the fundies. Further, it will put pressure on liberals to adopt more radical positions as the struggle develops.
    Liberals typically fail to win the majority of people over to their “respectable” ideas because they provide no critique of this society and no vision of a new one that people could embrace. That’s why when it comes to seeking change, they run to the courts and away from the streets. The task, however, is to change public opinion, not cater to it or dodge it by running to the courts. The ultimate goal is to build a constituency with a new conception of human unions, not win a legal or legislative battle (although of course we’ll need a few of those, too). You can’t create a new political consciousness while trying to be moderate and respectable. You also can’t do it by criticizing gay marriage as “liberal” from the sidelines.
    Whiteness and gay marriage

    Like almost every significant issue in this country, gay marriage is loaded with racial politics. Race affects the struggle for gay marriage in at least three ways. First, mainstream gay rights organizations frequently equate the campaign for gay marriage with the issues, language, and ideology of the civil rights movement in a way that can only be regarded as disrespectful and white chauvinist. One pro-gay marriage group calls marriage bureaus “the new lunch counters” for gay and lesbian people, referring to Black-led struggles against segregation. HRC’s website writes, “It is an American tradition to abandon discriminatory laws, even if they are popular—as were bans on interracial marriage and Jim Crow laws segregating the races in everyday life.” In explaining its critique of civil unions it goes on to say, “Civil unions are not separate but equal – they are separate and unequal. And our society has tried separate before. It just doesn’t work.”
    As Kenyon Farrow makes clear in his important article, “Is Gay Marriage Anti-Black?”, the analogy is disrespectful because white supremacy and homophobia have functioned very differently in American history. “Blacks of all sexualities experience the reality that many white gays and lesbians think that because they’re gay, they ‘understand’ oppression, and therefore could not be racist like their heterosexual counterparts,” he writes. “Bullshit. America is first built on the privilege of whiteness, and as long as you have white skin, you have a level of agency and access above and beyond people of color, period. White women and white non-heteros included.”
    Although prejudice, exclusion, and discrimination are consequences of both racial oppression and homophobia, they have functioned quite differently in the U.S., a society whose state and economy depended on slavery, segregation, and other forms of racial oppression. As Black gay activist and same-sex marriage supporter Matt Foreman puts it, “The problem is that people in the gay and lesbian movement have frequently tried to cloak themselves in the civil rights movement for African Americans without recognizing the differences, and that has quite rightly been seen as offensive. Gay people have been persecuted throughout history, but there is nothing to compare to state-sanctioned centuries of oppression.” This is not to say that white supremacy is “worse” than homophobia, only that it functions differently and that equating them is neither historically accurate nor politically sensitive.
    The Christian Right is attempting to capitalize on the whiteness within the gay marriage movement. It is aggressively recruiting African American clergy against gay marriage, using the civil rights movement analogy as a weapon. Genevieve Wood, a white organizer for the conservative Family Research Council, told a group of Black evangelicals that same-sex marriage supporters “are wrapping themselves in the flag of civil rights.” She continued, “I can make arguments against that. But not nearly like you all can.” Wood and the Christian Right are opportunistically pretending to be Black folks’ best friend on this issue, only to abandon them when other issues affecting the Black community (affirmative action, civil rights, welfare programs) come up. But the mainstream gay marriage groups are guilty of opportunism, too. Many Black people sense this, and resist gay marriage as a result. “There has always been this undercurrent, from the women’s movement through other movements, that the history of black people and their struggle was being opportunistically appropriated by an assortment of groups when it was convenient,” says the Reverend Gene Rivers. “This movement [gay marriage] is particularly offensive because it hits at the Book, the Bible, and the painful history of black people all at once.”
    The result is that gay marriage appears to be a “white thing” when it shouldn’t be. Farrow, in fact, concludes that gay marriage is anti-Black because it opportunistically steals from Black freedom movements, fails to undermine “christian capitalist patriarchy,” and distracts from more significant issues that confront GLBT persons of color. I disagree with Farrow’s rejection of gay marriage but his critique is very important because it exposes the white trap the gay marriage movement is falling into as it seeks to become “respectable.” Throughout U.S. history, “respectability” has always been colored white.
    The second way in which race impacts the struggle for gay marriage is in the crucial but largely unrecognized role of the Black community, particularly Black politicians in the Democratic Party, as one of the primary bulwarks against more draconian anti-gay legislation being passed in state legislatures and elsewhere. For example, Black members of the Georgia state legislature (including many church deacons and ministers) recently tried to block the legislature from endorsing a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage, even though many of them are personally uncomfortable with gay marriage. As Representative Georganna Sinkfield of Atlanta says, “What I see in this is hate. I’m a Christian, but if we put this in the Constitution, what’s next? People with dark hair? You’re opening the floodgates for people to promote their own prejudice.” Black legislators have been the main constituency blocking such legislation in several other Southern states, too, while white Democrats have caved in and sided with Republicans. Whatever their personal convictions and even at a potential political cost, Black folk are holding up the dam against anti-gay legislation. Yet their central role in defending gay rights is ignored.
    The third way that race is central to gay marriage regards the paradox it raises in regards to the “traditional family.” I have argued that the true function of gay marriage is to undermine the traditional family, which is a bulwark of patriarchy and capitalism. Yet Black people have been denied the ability to create traditional families since they arrived in the Americas. From the slaveholders’ ability to break apart slave families to the welfare system’s requirements that women who receive AFDC be single, the American state has actively sought to disrupt, destabilize, and destroy the Black family. (Then an army of sociologists and social workers come in, insisting that Black folk themselves are at fault for their “dysfunction.”) In the face of such oppression, the struggle to create and maintain “traditional” Black families is in a way quite radical.
    The resistance to gay marriage by many Black people needs to be understood in this light. Our society today is trying to prevent the official recognition of gay families, but white supremacy has tried to destroy the Black family for over 300 years. The question is how do we promote gay marriage as a radical attempt to redefine human unions while recognizing the Black struggle to create “traditional” families as a radical effort, too?
    The answer, I believe, is to defend marriage (het or gay) as one viable option among many for a person, not attack it as an inherently heterosexist and patriarchal institution. Context is all. Typically marriage and the traditional family has been patriarchal and heterosexist—but not necessarily in the Black community, and not necessarily for GLBT relationships, either. Thus, marriage and the traditional family can be subversive in the right context. Radicals should encourage this subversion by defending the right of people to freely engage in unions of their choice, including marriage.
    Gay marriage: the radical choice

    Gay marriage is not inherently revolutionary, of course. It could be co-opted, particularly if the movement for continues to seek “respectability.” Further, polls show that support for gay marriage is much greater among folks ages 18-29 (55% in favor) than those who are older. So perhaps gay marriage will be won by generational turnover, not radical struggle.
    But anyone who believes that progress is inevitable hasn’t lived in the twentieth century. Progress requires struggle. Gay marriage is progress because it has the potential to mushroom the number and kind of publicly recognized human unions. We should seize on the instability gay marriage will cause to push for greater sexual freedom. Rejecting gay marriage because it is a patriarchal or authoritarian institution ignores the context of the times we live in. Such rejection may be a radical posture, but there’s a big difference between a radical posture and a radical politics.
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  8. #8
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    Re: JRM on Same Sex Marriage

    The key litmus test here would be, if legalised same-sex marriage were to take place, would churches be expected to marry said couples, as that would no doubt be attempted as a follow on from same-sex marriage being legalised?

    If we're going to talk about equality, then surely that should be on the grounds of creed as well as sexuality.

    If the gay community wants to view marriage as the loving union between two people that is their choice. However it should also respect that religious organisations view marriage as the joining of two people for the purposes of raising biological children (in fact the Christian churches believe that love is only present in a relationship when God is present and that God is only present in a marriage relationship).

    equality is a double edged sword and it's about time that certain groups accepted the parts of equality they like as well as the parts of it they do not like.

  9. #9
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    Re: JRM on Same Sex Marriage

    I find the way father and mother are (in the proces of) being changed to 'parent 1' and 'parent 2' proposterous. If I were to have a child, I will not accept anything less than 'father' and I will not accept the indignity of being called 'parent 2' (let's be real, in a straight relationship the male will be called nr. 2 without a single doubt).

    I find this notion very offensive...

  10. #10
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    Re: JRM on Same Sex Marriage

    Quote Quote from bowspearer
    If the gay community wants to view marriage as the loving union between two people that is their choice. However it should also respect that religious organisations view marriage as the joining of two people for the purposes of raising biological children (in fact the Christian churches believe that love is only present in a relationship when God is present and that God is only present in a marriage relationship).
    Sure. I don't see a problem with that(it fits right into my libertarian sensibilities)
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    Then they built the cages they could put us in
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  11. #11
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    Re: JRM on Same Sex Marriage

    Quote Quote from silentblood View Post
    Full marriage rights have existed in many Dutch cities for several years, and it was recently made legal nationwide, including the word "marriage" to describe it. In other words, we have a long-running "experiment" to examine for its results -- which have uniformly been positive.
    Not much of a problem here. As long as the state does not tell churches what to do, I'm fine with it.
    Marriage is the promise of two people to stay true to each other. My sister and her boyfriend aren't 'married' but they've been together for over 10 years, and have a little boy now. I consider them more married than any two fools who have a big expensive wedding party. Marriage for the state is merely a legal definition, regarding inheritance, divorce, custody, and as we all know it does an awful job - in the Netherlands not as bad as the Anglosphere, but still. Why would two gay people even want to get married before the state anyway? A gay friend of mine has been living together with his partner for many years now and they're doing just fine without state involvement.

    That said, where children are involved (e.g. one of a couple of lesbians manages to get pregnant) it gets much more complex. However, single motherhood is a much worse problem (both qualitatively and quantitatively).
    Feminists are stupid, throw equality at them!

  12. #12
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    Re: JRM on Same Sex Marriage

    Quote Quote from Ambiorix
    Why would two gay people even want to get married before the state anyway?
    This is the reason: I kick and scream for this right, because, marriage does give you a whole host of rights that aren't available thanks to the federal government not recognizing same sex marriagesd(Marriage Rights and Benefits - Free Legal Information - Nolo) that is a serious inequality, so when I see articles like the one Percy shared, I tend to get angry. I am very proud of myself, that I didn't rant about the article. Edit: Which was what my gut told me to do. I respect Percy too much(he is a voice of wisdom, which is something I appreciate)
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    Re: JRM on Same Sex Marriage

    Quote Quote from bowspearer View Post
    The key litmus test here would be, if legalised same-sex marriage were to take place, would churches be expected to marry said couples, as that would no doubt be attempted as a follow on from same-sex marriage being legalised?

    If we're going to talk about equality, then surely that should be on the grounds of creed as well as sexuality.

    If the gay community wants to view marriage as the loving union between two people that is their choice. However it should also respect that religious organisations view marriage as the joining of two people for the purposes of raising biological children (in fact the Christian churches believe that love is only present in a relationship when God is present and that God is only present in a marriage relationship).

    equality is a double edged sword and it's about time that certain groups accepted the parts of equality they like as well as the parts of it they do not like.
    Totally agree. I say civil unions hold all the legal standing aspects and a marriage certificate has no legal grounding but rather religious. Any church/synagogue/mosque can choose to marry gay and lesbian couples or not.

    And it strengthens the separation of church and state, which is always a plus
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  14. #14
    Percy's Avatar
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    Re: JRM on Same Sex Marriage

    Marriage, by definition, is between a man and a woman.

    A man and a man or a woman and a woman is something other than marriage.

    That particular State-determined 'rights' are applied differentially is irrelevant to the discussion, just as the 'right' to drive a car or fly a plane is dependant on things other than marriage.

    I have no problem at all with 'rights' to pass ones possessions on in the same manner, or share superannuation, or to stick your willy in custard. That they have been or could be connected with 'marriage' is simply an issue of legislation and nothing to do with the definition of marriage.
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    (and within ourselves)


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  15. #15
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    Re: JRM on Same Sex Marriage

    Quote Quote from silentblood View Post
    Yes. Closet homosexuals often marry the opposite sex.
    Indeed they do. They feel pressurised into trying to fit into society's idea of what is 'normal' and acceptable. If the worse that happens is the couple end up getting divorced it's not so bad, but if the marriage produces children it can be tough on the kids in more ways than one.


 

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