This Gay Marriage Business

May 28, 2009 at 2:54 pm 6 comments

My sister and I recently got into a pretty heated discussion with my mom over the issue.  It got to the point where we were  shouting our points at each other while walking down the street, and only stopped once someone walked by and forced us to realize we were kind of making a scene.  My sister and I hold the stance shared by most of our generation- essentially, that any adult should be able to make decisions without being arbitrarily discriminated against by the government.  In this case, my mom disagrees.

Photo by Miranda.
SAN FRANCISCO– Photo by Miranda Everitt.

The thing is, my mom isn’t politically conservative, and doesn’t hold religious beliefs which would prejudice her against someone’s romantic decisions.  It has nothing to do with heterosexual marriage being threatened or some idea of what’s “traditionally” correct.  She’s a family law attorney, dealing with divorces and custody cases in a system flooded with petty cases, and ill equipped to give important cases the attention they need.  In recent years there’s been an influx of cases involving same-sex couples; situations where biological paternity conflicts with actual parents, and cases of couples raising a child from a surrogate, splitting up, and having to involve the surrogate in the custody battle.  From her perspective, the legalization of gay marriage adds another dimension to an already complicated system, draining tax dollars from an organization that’s struggling as it is.  A big percentage of cases are suddenly from this one demographic, so it seems to make sense to maintain the status quo and leave them out of the equation altogether.

Obviously, I disagree.  You could choose any demographic and claim they’re using up too many resources in the court system, and leave them to handle it on their own by refusing to recognize their relationship.  On the contrary- it’s a great opportunity to overhaul the way custody cases are handled, and ideally streamline the whole process.  The law should grow and adapt as society does, and the law can set a precedent for social change.

I don’t know whether to be relieved or further frustrated by all of this.  At best, it’s a relief to know that not everyone who opposes gay marriage is a right wing asshole who still believes that “to honor and obey” is what getting married is about.  At least when someone’s arguments are based in reason and logic, there’s a starting point for debate.  At worst, however, it’s maddening to talk to someone intelligent and informed who still doesn’t see it for what it is- discrimination.

I’m not the first person to suggest this, and I know I won’t be the last, but since the most prevalent argument against gay marriage is based in religion, we should take religion out of it entirely.  The state’s job isn’t to dictate what marriage means for anyone.  Let consenting adults be joined in a civil union, and leave marriage ceremonies to the church.  These issues in the court must come up outside of homosexual relationships.  With extended family raising kids instead of the biological parents, multiple step-parents, and every possible permutation in between, there ARE structures in place for dealing with this.  Recognizing heterosexual and homosexual couples as equivalents under the law can only aid the process.  Until then, we wait. We wait, and protest, and keep the discussion alive, because for every nutjob, there are probably a dozen people who just need to talk it out a bit.

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Entry filed under: Betty, Miscellaneous Musings, Politics Palace. Tags: , , , .

Free conditioner for all!!! This is as fun as me slamming my head into a desk

6 Comments Add your own

  • 1. A Bailes  |  May 28, 2009 at 4:33 pm

    You know my stance…

    Reply
  • 2. Tim Cameron  |  May 28, 2009 at 5:18 pm

    As we’ve said, it’s very hard to talk about this issue rationally because people have an initial emotional response, then construct justifications for that emotional response afterwards. Personally I feel shocked that the USA purports to be the flagship of liberty and equality, yet gay marriage is still illegal in the vast majority of states. I’m sure there are many people who will argue convincingly that I am wrong to be shocked.

    Reply
  • 3. bettysmom  |  May 28, 2009 at 5:36 pm

    Geez Louise, you pulled me directly into this extremely complicated issue and I don’t have an answer. Should couples that have a lifelong comittment to make a family together be afforded the same rights no matter what their race, religion, sexual orientation, education, or any other label used to single out and discriminate… yes. You kind of addressed my issue, but you know what is more important to me than clogging up the court systems?… the children. My most important role is as an advocate for children. I deal daily with child custody issues and see how these children are torn apart by families splitting up. It is not the marriage that bothers me, it is the potential for another broken family that bothers me and what that does to the children. Unfortunately, it seems the majority of couples entering into a lifelong commitment are really only there for a few years. So, that is my real issue. And, if children are involved, please do use the law to protect the children from substance abuse, domestic violence, etc, but not for ridiculous, vindictive custody battles. Marital laws are in place to protect disadvantaged spouses and children. (Originally marital laws were about the wife and children becoming property. This is still true in many countries. I don’t think this is the aim of gay marriage in the USA.) I have no problem with gay marriage if the true intent is to create a family and a lifelong commitment to each other and their potential children. Please don’t get into horrible disputes over parenting rights. Finally, I wish I had a dollar for every time a client said if it was as difficult to get married as it is to get divorced, I never would have married in the first place. Think people! Live long and prosper!

    Reply
  • 4. Betty  |  May 28, 2009 at 5:42 pm

    Aren’t the children going to be better off if there is some kind of legal construct defining the relationship between their same-sex parents??

    And while there are going to be couples of EVERY orientation who will end in messy custody battles, there are going to be loving families created too, who will adopt these kids and give them a safe, healthy environment out of the system. That balance must exist, right?

    *(Originally marital laws were about the wife and children becoming property. This is still true in many countries. I don’t think this is the aim of gay marriage in the USA.)*
    This is a great point too, and something I’d love to bring up to every single person who wants to protect the “traditions” of marriage. The “traditions” also involve being able to barter your family members to pay off debts (although if I could do that for student loans, sign me up for like TEN wives right now please thanks).

    Reply
  • 5. A Bailes  |  May 30, 2009 at 4:01 pm

    HI BETTY’S MOM!

    Reply
  • 6. Odchudzanie  |  June 3, 2009 at 8:29 am

    I couldn’t agree more. If there is anything I hate, it’s people sticking their collective noses where they don’t belong, either for political or religious reasons.
    But while I am for gay marriages, I’m still torn when it comes to adopting children by gay couples. And no, I’m not being afraid they’ll turn out gay, or whatever silly superstitions people believe. It must be this traditional upbringing, because even though logically there is nothing wrong with gay couples adopting kids, deep inside somehow I feel it’s wrong.
    Stupid, huh ?

    Reply

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