Archive for the ‘Marriage Equality’ Category
by Andrew Sullivan, The Daily Dish, 6/26/13
Some final thoughts after so many years of so many thoughts. Marriage is not a political act; it’s a human one. It is based on love, before it is rooted in law. Same-sex marriages have always existed because the human heart has always existed in complicated, beautiful and strange ways. But to have them recognized by the wider community, protected from vengeful relatives, preserved in times of illness and death, and elevated as a responsible, adult and equal contribution to our common good is a huge moment in human consciousness. It has happened elsewhere. But here in America, the debate was the most profound, lengthy and impassioned. This country’s democratic institutions made this a tough road but thereby also gave us the chance and time to persuade the country, which we did. I understand and respect those who in good conscience fought this tooth and nail. I am saddened by how many failed to see past elaborate, ancient codes of conduct toward the ultimate good of equal human dignity. I am reminded of the courage of a man like Evan Wolfson who had the vision and determination to change the world.
But this happened the right way – from the ground up, with argument, with lawsuits, with cultural change, with individual courage. I remember being told in the very early 1990s that America was far too bigoted a place to allow marriage equality – just as I was told in 2007 that America was far too bigoted a place to elect a black president. I believed neither proposition, perhaps because I love this country so much I knew it would eventually get there. I trusted the system. And it worked. From 1989 (when I wrote the first case for this on the cover of a national magazine) to today is less than a quarter century. Amazing, when you think of how long it took for humanity to even think about this deep wound in the human psyche.
So to those who are often tempted to write off America’s ability to perfect its union still further, to lead the world in the clarity of its moral and political discourse, and to resist the pull of fundamentalism when it conflicts with human dignity, let me just say: I believe.
Because I have seen.
A response to John Jalsevac’s article in Crisis Magazine, “Why we are losing the gay ‘marriage’ debate (and how we can starting winning).” (4/16/13)
by Doughlas Remy
John, I believe you’ve presented a false dichotomy between marriage as “outward-looking and objective” on the one hand, and “inward-looking and subjective,” on the other. Why couldn’t a marriage, with or without children, look both outward and inward? Why couldn’t it include both family formation—including child-rearing—and sexual intimacy, companionship, and the self-actualization of the couple? Marriages may last as long as 60 years or more, during which only 20 years or so are dedicated to child-raising.
You describe the marriage vows for your two marriage modes as “permanent” and “temporary,” respectively, but few couples ever expect to break the vows they’ve made to form a life-long commitment. Sometimes marital situations become intolerable, in which case everyone’s interests (including children’s) may be best served by breaking up and getting a fresh start. And I am talking about ordinary people here, not Hollywood celebrities who stay on the covers of People Magazine and the tabloids by practicing serial polygamy.
In several ways, your list of “certain, solid, objective” facts about the foundations of marriage is not so solid.
First, as a gay man about to be married, I can assure you that I feel absolutely no “biological and psychological complementarity” with any woman. Else I would not be marrying a man. “Biology” is not just about organs; it is also about the chemistry of the brain.
Second, the solemn public vow need not be made before God. Instead, many people make that vow before their community. Non-theists do marry, you know, and their marriages are not inherently less stable than those of theists.
Third, civil law (at least in the U.S.) does not require procreation in marriage, so you are speaking to Catholics.
Fourth, the consensus of pediatric professionals is that children raised by same-sex parents fare no worse than children raised by a mother and a father.
One thing you got right is that “healthy, stable families are the necessary foundation of a healthy, stable society.” So why would you not encourage the formation of healthy, stable families by gay men and lesbians? Most people need and want sexual intimacy, companionship, and self-actualization—all within the framework of life-long commitment. Psychologists everywhere agree that these goods are in fact necessary for healthy living. The alternatives are loneliness, social marginalization, low self-esteem, and often promiscuity and other self-destructive behaviors. Is this what you prefer?
In listing the statistics about cohabitation, out-of-wedlock births, single-parent homes, and divorce—all of which are clearly social problems that could be remedied by a greater commitment to the institution of marriage—you neglected to mention the problems faced by gay men and lesbians who are DENIED the right to marry.
How can you disapprove of both single-parent homes AND same-sex marriage, which would bring help to overburdened single parents?
How can you disapprove of both cohabitation AND same-sex marriage, which would allow gay men and lesbians to commit to each other in ceremonies that have the full recognition of the state?
Maybe your challenge is not so much to “roll back” the sexual revolution as to recognize that new and better syntheses are beginning to occur. The way forward is not the way back.
We (gays) are working to get our act together. What about you? Maybe opposing same-sex marriage is not where you should be directing your efforts. Instead of standing in our way, maybe you should be supporting us.
Earlier today, New Zealand became the thirteenth country in the world to legalize same-sex marriage. In this video footage, Prime Minister Maurice Williamson delivers a stirring and drole answer to the bill’s opponents.
Western writers have long argued, and modern studies now document, that polygamy is unjust to women and children – a violation of their fundamental rights and dignity, we now say. Young women are harmed because they are often coerced into early marriages with older men. Once pushed aside for a rival co-wife, women are reduced to rival slaves within the household. They are then exploited periodically for sex and procreation by emotionally detached husbands. They are forced to make do for themselves and their children with dwindling resources as still other women and children are added to the household against their wishes. If they protest their plight, if they resort to self-help, if they lose their youthful figure and vigor, they are often cast out of their homes — impoverished, undereducated, and often incapable of survival without serious help from others.
Children are harmed because they are often set in perennial rivalry with other children and mothers for the affection and attention of the family patriarch. They are deprived of healthy models of authority and liberty, equality and charity, marital love and fidelity, which are essential to their development as future spouses, citizens, and community leaders. And they are harmed by too few resources to support their nurture, education, care, and preparation for a full and healthy life as an adult.
Men, too, are harmed by polygamy. Polygamy promotes marriage by the richest not necessarily the fittest men in body, mind, or virtue. In isolated communities, polygamy often leads to ostracism of rival younger men. Polygamy inflames a man’s lust, for once he adds a second wife, he will inevitably desire more, even the wife of another. And polygamy deprives men of that essential organic bond of exclusive marital companionship, which ancients and moderns alike say is critical to most men’s physical, psychological, moral, and even spiritual health.
Read the entire article here.
by Andrew Sullivan, The Dish, 3/21/13
How amazing that marriage equality, once wielded by Ken Mehlman and Karl Rove as their key weapon in winning Ohio and the presidency in 2004, now threatens to kill the GOP as a national brand. With every year that passes, every attack on gays is now felt by growing numbers of their own family members, friends, co-workers and neighbors. There’s a multiplier effect here. And gerry-mandering has enabled the GOP to control the House without ever having to grapple with those voters.
If I were Karl Rove, I’d be praying for Anthony Kennedy to write the gay Loving vs Virginia. It would take the issue off the political table for good, and leave them a nice juicy judicial tyranny argument instead. But a mixed verdict – say one that allows for federal recognition of civil marriages in the nine states and DC that has them, and that mandates that civil unions with all the substantive benefits of civil marriage must be called marriage – would keep the issue alive, violate no federalist principles, and leave the GOP’s fundamentalist intransigence in place – as a dead weight around their necks as they try to stay afloat.
by Michelangelo Signorile, Huffpost Gay Voices, 3/21/13
So there I was a few weeks ago, making an argument for why we might expect the hypothetical new pope to be even more anti-gay than the old one. Now that there actually is a new pope, that would seem to have turned out to be true, at least on the surface, given his public decrees. Pope Francis, as Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, has made statements that seem even more off-the-rails than Pope Benedict’s most virulently anti-gay remarks: In 2010 he equated gay people, gay marriage and adoption by gay couples with the devil, which was enough to have Argentina’s president call his statements “medieval.”
But, although I wouldn’t wager big money on it, I’m thinking it’s quite possible that we won’t hear that kind of rhetoric from him again.
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Another view: “Pope’s Message: Embrace All People Except the Gays,” by Wayne Besen, Truth Wins Out, 3/19/21.