Friday, November 23, 2007


My parents didn't marry until a couple years ago. They've lived together for thirty years, worn rings for each other, raised me and my sister together, shared their finances, gone to PTA meetings together, and all that. But for twenty-eight years their relationship had no legal standing.

...I guess that means they should've been practicing abstinence? Instead they not only threw away their purity, they added to the population of poor unfortunate out-of-wedlock babies! Tsk, Mom and Dad, TSK.

I'm against gay marriage. I'm also against straight marriage. I just don't think that there should be penalties and rewards--or any kind of legal recognition--of private relationships. I may end up doing it someday if it's financially advantageous, but it's wrong. Not just to gay people but to single people, to people in bad marriages, to people who love more than one person, to people who love one person of the opposite gender but still don't benefit from making it legal.

I'm still going to have a Jewish wedding, of course. (My parents did, thirty years ago.) Defying The System is one thing; defying a Jewish grandmother is... suicide.


  1. I guess I sympathize to some extent -- primarily in that I'm in favor of equality -- but having a legally recognized relationship simplifies all kinds of things. For example, imagine checking into the hospital and having to make a list of who can visit you. Most of the problems with marriage result from the coincidence of its legal and religious signiicance.

  2. It might help to think of it like adoption.

  3. Bruno - True. I guess if marriage was simply a relationship you could create with anyone who shared a major part of your life, I wouldn't feel the same way. So yeah, it's mostly the "One man, one woman, having sex and babies, ideally permanent" trappings that bug me.

  4. A-fucking-men. LabRat and I were together for years before the IRS and Blue Cross/Blue Shield made it more advantageous to tie the knot. The whole notion of gub'mint involvement in what amounts to a fuckoff-big overblown grade school friendship bracelet (and now with all the disposability of same to boot!) is on its face ludicrous. There's probably an easy tie-in with LabRat's N-part essay on modern ethics without religion and all, but noon on a Saturday with only two cups of coffee aboard is not my most philosophical hour.

    I agree the hospital situation Bruno described makes it a useful institution still, but the fact that there are financial considerations to make (beyond those negotiated directly between the involved) when getting a state-sanctioned piece of paper that boils down to "BFF!" is a running pet peeve of mine. Throw in that marriage is an institution originally and continually defined by religion and I wind up not 100% convinced that things like tax breaks for wedded couples are even strictly constitutional (but I admit I need to do more homework on this position; just haven't had time).

  5. Stingray - the hospital situation can be fixed with an advance directive, actually. (Also, unless you've got asshole relatives or an asshole hospital, it's really not that big an issue - everywhere I've worked has let the brother's son's dogwalker's friend visit if they wanted to.)

    But the tax/insurance thing I'm not sure about because it does make some sense to pay attention to defined families/partnerships, but on the other hand defining the family via a marriage is a weird and unfair way to do it.

  6. Stingray - thinking about the medical side of things more, what's more important than visitation rights is who makes the decisions when you're incapacitated. Again, you can avoid this with non-marriage paperwork, but say you didn't expect to come down with a bad case of the clinically deads tomorrow and your gay partner Bob who's lived with you for twenty years and knows your every wish wants to pull the plug, and your crazy mom you haven't spoken to since seventeen wants "everything done."

    Admittedly marriage doesn't always fix this (see: Terri Schiavo), but it can make things a little less ugly.

  7. Jumping in a few days late to say:

    1. I don't have a problem with marriage per se (obviously; I'm engaged) although the idea of weddings bugs the living shit out of me. Average cost of an American wedding is $20,000. Don't people have better things to spend their money on?

    But weddings aside, I think marriage simplifies a lot of things.

    2. As far as government involvement goes, one of the following should happen:
    (a) government stays out of marriage entirely. No legal difference between married, cohabitating, and single people. The problem with this has largely to do with issues of child custody, medical decisions, inheritance (and probably more that I can't think of right now)
    (b) government allows marriage between any two adults of legal age, regardless of gender, race, etc. Problem: still has religious underpinnings which have no place in government, excludes polyamorous groups and others with alternative sexuality.
    (c) allow anyone to marry anyone, as many people as they want, with no stipulation that a nuclear family is expected to result. Problem: will piss off fundies, may never happen.