Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Gay Marriage - We have the right, just not the acceptance

It was suggested in the comment section of this blog entry:
http://www.religiondispatches.org/blog/sexandgender/2203/religion_largely_absent_in_proposition_8_trial/?comments=view&cID=6131#c6131
that we might consider accepting the term "civil unions" instead of "marriage" as queer people, as long as we have all of the same rights, in order to mollify the opponents who just can't seem to get over this.


Rachel Maddow has recently pointed out on her show that the idea of gay marriage used to be considered a conservative initiative among gay activists.  Heck, I remember even twenty years ago people debating whether assimilation was a good thing.  Screw the straight society, we'll do our own thing.  Why should we fight to be accepted?  Why give them that much power?


I agree with that, to be honest.  However, that's me.  And at the same time, I'm kind of a mellow person nowadays.  I don't have as much fire as I did when I was 21, just out of the closet, and newly angry about all that I was learning about gay history.  By fire, I mean, "energy to fight."  Yeah, I'm still angry, and obviously I still speak out as much as ever.  But I'm also focused on other, more enriching things in my life. Vocation.  Spirituality.  Personal happiness.  Connecting with others.  Wouldn't mind a bit of romance either.


Because I've pretty much decided to coexist with the  filthy masses, I want the already existent right for us to get married to be recognized legally.  Every law which says we cannot get married is as unconstitutional as the Jim Crow laws, the laws against interracial marriage, and those enforcing racial segregation.  It's already there.  The fight is not to obtain equal rights.  We must fight to get the institutions to do what they are supposed to do when we exercise those rights.  It's not that we don't have the right to marriage; it's that the courts won't sign off on them.  It's not that we don't have the right to sign up to be in the military; it's that they won't let us in the door if we admit who we are.


I know we're "supposed" to be friends, but frankly, we have enemies right now.  They've been given power through the institutions of power-granting which exist in our country.  At the very least, we can disobey them.  Their behaviors are unconstitutional.  The sickening irony is that we have to go to the courts, which are part of a society behaving unconstitutionally.


What do I mean by disobedience?


We get married and a queer minister signs off on it. We submit it to the state.  No matter what they do or say, we claim spousal status on our tax forms.  Whenever we have to declare single or married, we declare "married," on any form whatsoever.


Does this have the potential to threaten our livelihoods, to get us jailed and harassed by the law?  Yes.  They would do this to us unconstitutionally.  We bring this to the courts over and over until they buckle or get responsible judges.


Who am I to even advocate such things?  I am nobody.  I don't even really advocate them.  If you did it and were to suffer because of it, and I advocated it, I would feel guilty.  That's my personality.  So no, I'm not advocating.  I wish to preserve my own happiness.  It's something I might be willing to do if I met someone and fell in love and he agreed to take such actions with me.  If you choose to do it, it's because you choose to do it.


Self-responsibility is the only way to live anyway, right?


I do think the current methods of fighting for gay marriage and other recognitions are fine too.  They are safer and will eventually be effective, if what we currently see happening continues.


Anyway, here is the response I posted to the idea that we accept "civil unions" instead of marriage, in order to mollify the masses:


I appreciate your desire to be find a win-win, but I for one cannot get past the "separate but equal" thing. Most of us were raised in a culture - overtly or not - which repeatly emphasized (still does actually) what a huge deal marriage is to the community. When you get married, there are kudos galore; it's akin to getting pregnant, and beyond the public congratulations of something much harder, like graduating. So basically we grow up being taught that marriage is THE thing, that we'll find that "right boy" or "right girl" someday, and we'll get the rings and the fancy outfits and the cake and the dancing and the toasts and gifts and the weeping mothers and proud fathers. Then we figure out we're gay, and we slowly understand that no, we don't get that. We have to settle for civil unions. Goodie.

See, I'm not willing to sacrifice our equality to mollify anyone. I don't necessarily want a big wedding with all the trimmings, unless I find that "right guy" someday who DOES want it. With or without the trimmings, I DO want it to be called a marriage.

Peace.

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