Wednesday, October 25, 2006

A Case AGAINST Gay Marriage

No, I haven't become a straight, Christianist, homophobic operative of the religious right. Trust me, I am as Queer as I have ever been. And yes, I do think that we Gay people are totally equal to straight people and should have every equal right, including marriage. However, given the state of our nation and the Gay rights movement today, a good case can be made as to why we shouldn't be fighting for the right to marry.

Today, New Jersey made a ruling that is being touted as a precursor to Gay marriage. It is not. What the court said today is that the State of New Jersey must provide all the rights that married couples enjoy to same-sex couples. They did not, however, say that Gay people can get married. Their ruling will likely provide a system identical to California's. We are seperate and almost equal.

But if we learned anything from the civil rights movement, seperate is inherently unequal. We should be allowed to marry. But the title of this post is "A Case AGAINST Gay Marriage." We shouldn't be fighting for the right to marry.

In states where Gay marriage is likely to be legalized, we don't need it. In California, we have all the benefits of marriage that the state can give us, except for the word marriage. Soon, New Jersey will give those same rights to Gay people. Several other states have granted protections for the Queer community and a few have even protected Gay families.

Unfortunately, in many other states, Gay people have few (or no) protections. In some states, not only can't Gay people adopt children, they can lose custody of children that they adopted in other states. Until quite recently, it was illegal for Gay men to have sex in some places. As a community, Gays should be focusing on promoting the basic necessary rights for our families to survive in this world.

Gay marriage scares little old ladies in the South. It scares a lot of other people, too. The people that Andrew Sullivan calls "Christianists" get motivated by their homophobia and act on it. They vote. There is a reason why several states have gone so far as to repeal Gay rights in some places and enact constitutional bans on any form of domestic partnership or civil union between same-sex couples. Every time our community goes out there demanding the right to marry, more and more single-issue voters try to elect the Mountjoys of the world- namely homophobic " Biblical constructionists" that provide no benefit to society.

This isn't to say that we should give up the fight. Gay people should be recognized as completely equal to straight people. Instead of so loudly proclaiming that we want to marry, we should be focusing on protection for Gay people and families in places where there is none. We should be working to provide support for young people terrified to come out of the closet. We should be working to improve the public image of the Gay community.

We know that not all Gays are sexually promiscuous demons ready to molest innocent children and turn them Gay, too. AIDS is neither the Gay Cancer or a punishment from God for our evil ways. Further, we are not hated by God or doomed to spend an eternity in hell because we want to sleep with a person of the same gender. We also know that we do not simply choose to be Gay. But we haven't done a very good job of portraying all of that to those who fear us.

What we should be doing is attempt to live our lives as best we can. If we want to marry, we should find partners and live as married couples with whatever form of civil union we can get from our states and santify them with an appropriate ceremony. We should live in homes next to theirs, mow our lawns next to them, raise our children next to theirs, and invite them to our bbqs.

Then they might finally see us as people.


USMale said...

Well, that makes 3 gay men in California not thrilled with Gay Marriage. Me and my ex are the other 2!

CaliforniaGrown said...

Just because I say we should hold off on securing Gay Marriage doesn't mean that I don't support it. I really do. My argument is that same-sex marriage is a less important right than, say, the ability of Gays to adopt, recieve next-of-kin rights for their partners, and the right to cohabitate with children present in the home.

I am sorry for you and your ex. Divorce laws are the ugly flipside of Marriage laws. Gay Divorce is just as important as Gay Marriage, if not moreso. The rights of Gays to dissolve their relationships and fairly determine the division of property and custody of children is necessary but not provided in some states.