Thursday, February 05, 2004

Gay Marriage in Ol' Mass 

Massachussets (and I don't care if I spelled that right) is trying to figure out what to do legislatively about the SJC ruling that only gay marriage will satisfy their decision, which brings up Brown and the separate = inherently unequal doctrine in a whole new part of town.

As someone who supports gay rights in a pretty serious way, I find the decision disturbing for prudential reasons. i'm not faulting the court, they ruled properly as far as I can tell. My issue with the situation is that now the issue is forced. Pending legislation creating a Vermontian "civil union" type compromise is shot to shit now. What does that mean? That means the FMA (Federal Marriage Amendment for those who don't do acronyms) is going to rear its ugly head in a serious way, and Mass. legislators (against gay marriage) may lead the charge.

Here's my deal. I don't give a rats ass about marriage. I don't care who does it, how, where, anything. I wouldn't lose sleep if a mob hung marriage in the public square and then spat on it. It's not "sacred" or "pure". It's a legal deal, and anyone in our country should have a right to it with whomever they choose. Churches can keep people with similar anatomies from getting hitched in their big room with benches or whatever...who gives a shit. But when it comes to the civil benefits (and detriments) of "marriage" in the sense that you sign a permission slip at the courthouse, it should be available to all. Period. This inclines me to root for civil union legislation. Hell...I'd be more likely to tie the knot if it was called a civil union, and I'm not even gay...it takes away some of the stigma associated with what I see as an obsolete institution and makes it more...well...secular.

That's the crux. This is about religion, not civil society. So my response is to separate the two (which in my opinion is always a good idea when it comes to distinguishing between that which requires faith and the real world that we actually live it).

That's why I'm not happy about the ruling. It cuts out the one option that can prevent firebreathing on both sides. Why on earth some in the gay community insist on calling it "marriage" is beyond me, but they're entitled to fight for that, and if it's a fight they want, they're sure as hell gonna get it now...and it's gonna be vicious. The side-effect of the ruling is that it will take secularists who are for equality in civil rights for gays out of the debate to a certain extent. That's fewer allies on the side I'd like to see them on, but I'm far less inclined to fight for "marriage" in the traditional sense than I am for simple civil equality.


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