Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day?

Can we doubt that gay marriage will be a reality in the near future, barring the improbable, but certainly not unimaginable, fundamentalist/military coup d’etat rule by Palin-esque demogog supported by untold billions in corporate cash? More people today support gay marriage than supported interracial marriage in 1967, when a unanimous Supreme Court flushed that vile version of traditional marriage down the toilet where it belonged with Loving v. Virginia. (It’s a short decision, worth reading all the way through, not least to marvel at the filth spouted by the racist dirtbags on the Virginia Court of Appeals in defense of that state’s anti-miscegenation law.) Most of the people who support gay marriage today are younger, most of those against it are older -- which means we’re waiting on the old fools to recycle their carbon.

In the meantime, we have the California case against Prop 8, which is pretty much designed to head to the Supremes. If that Court's membership doesn't change, it’ll probably come down to Kennedy, who may swing like he did in Lawrence, which flipped the odious Bowers decision.

The supporters of Proposition 8 argue that gay marriage should be outlawed because, in no particular order 1) a majority of California voters voted against gay marriage; 2) marriage is traditionally “opposite sex” -- my favorite neologism; 3) marriage is procreative in function; 4) homosexuality is evil and/or icky.

Reason 4 isn’t worth commenting on; there will always be phobes of some shape among us. Reason 1 goes against the grain of democracy, since while the majority rules, it still can not exclude minorities from rights, since two classes of citizens undercuts the whole point of democracy, and becomes apartheid. Reason 2 is ridiculous: slavery, child labor, and, of course, those miscegenation laws, were all traditional once, too. Reason 3 is unbelievably insulting to the many who marry for companionship and love and have no interest in reproducing. The Judge in the case -- a Bush I appointed libertarian -- puckishly wondered if a recent marriage he officiated between an octogenarian and a nonagenarian was wrong under this conception.

The Catholic, Mormon, and host of fundamentalist Protestant churches who are leading and funding the fight against gay marriage willfully obscure the fact that the issue is about civic marriage, not their particular superstitions and rituals. Some people are confused as a result. Assuming that these institutions continue to lie – how very godly of them! – the radical way around this would be to decouple marriage from all its legal rights and benefits. The anarchist in me thinks this is the way to go, anyway. Every adult should have these rights and benefits to begin with. (Oops, sorry, thought I was living in a civilization worthy of the name).

Of course, there’s always the thorny issue of property, which was one of the reasons marriage was invented. And children, too, who were once a form of property as well. Although we have moved from such traditional conceptions of marriage as bondage and property transactions into the more contemporary “love match” (unsurprisingly, untenable for many, but thankfully easier to get out of), it behooves us to look upon the whole institution with open eyes. And just say no until the country says yes. That and boycotting the Valentine Day industry. And getting symbolically unhitched. Your action counts.


birds on a wire said...

"The freethinking of one age is the common sense of the next." Matthew Arnold

I'm really not that witty and I'm going to have to google Mr. Arnold after I comment... but this happened to be the inspirational quote on my tea tag at the very time that I read this post!
I am appalled at anti-miscegenation case, it really blows my mind, thanks for opening my eyes on that one. Prop 8 is ridiculous and once carpet-bagging fundamentalist get clear of CA politics it won't be long. Keep posting and keep loving! Happy Valentine's to you and yours.

Matthew said...

Matthew Arnold is writing for your tea company? Wow. Happy V-Day-is-everyday back at ya!