Thursday, April 01, 2004

Back to an old rant: let them eat [wedding] cake

There's an interesting set of articles in today's [uh, yesterday's - this post didn't get done in time - doh!] LA Times on gay marriage - a topic that Phoblographer readers know I come back to on a regular basis.

This article tells the stories of several couples who refused legal marriage licenses (but not weddings or religious services) to protest their gay friends' inability to be "married."

Given the range of costs and forfeited benefits, it's a pretty big sacrifice to make. I'm not sure if I could do it - but it's a great idea and something I hadn't thought of. I wonder, however, what effect these couples have on the greater community. Doesn't bother me one way or the other whether someone marries or not. I'm sure their parents mind, but their lawyers and accountants probably don't - as they struggle to contract for all the rights that would naturally fall on them were they to sign a legal marriage license.

Of course, this refusal to pursue a licensed marriage and its resultant economic consequences highlights the fundamental problem with Bush's/the religious right's/others' argument on marriage. It's not a bedrock institution of civilization. In fact, were we to go back to the way it "used to be," I'd hope every woman in America would rise up in solidarity with her gay and lesbian brothers and sisters. 'Cause we were sold or traded like livestock! Hello! Dowry, anyone? Puh-lease. Read this:

But marriage, it turns out, has never been that simple. For much of its history, matrimony has been a matter of cold economic calculation, a condition to be endured rather than celebrated. Notions of marriage taken for granted today — its voluntary nature, the legal equality of partners, even the pursuit of happiness — required centuries to evolve.

Exactly. Read the rest of the article on marriage as a "malleable institution."

Thoughts? What do you think? For it? Against it? Or do you take the John why-take-a-stand Kerry view of Civil Unions are fine and equal but let's not offend Ma and Pa Mississippi by calling it marriage? I know I have at least one married reader - do you think being married changes one's opinion?

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