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Still more same-sex marriage notes

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As a companion entry (but not a longtime companion entry) to the previous one, here are some assorted items about same-sex marriage.


Andrew Sullivan's 2008 piece on how people's view of his relationship changed when he got married to his male partner in Massachusetts in 2007.


Dan Savage's 2004 article "My Marriage License," the most compact and direct example I've yet seen of exposing one of the central absurdities of the anti-same-sex marriage position. Savage and a female colleague named Amy went down to the county offices together, with their respective same-sex partners. Amy and her partner asked for a marriage license, but of course were refused. Savage and Amy then asked for a marriage license for the two of them:

We emphasized to the clerk and her manager that Amy and I don't live together, we don't love each other, we don't plan to have kids together, and we're going to go on living and sleeping with our same-sex partners after we get married. So could we still get a marriage license?

"Sure," the license-department manager said, "If you've got $54, you can have a marriage license."

Savage adds:

Amy and I can get a marriage license—and into a sham marriage, if we care to, a joke marriage, one that I promise you won't produce children. And we can do this with the state's blessing—why? Because one of us is a man and one of us is a woman.

I've seen plenty of discussions that bring up, for example, Britney Spears's wedding as an example of how little our society really cares about the sanctity of marriage for opposite-sex couples. But the Savage case makes even clearer that civil marriage does not require, according to the law, any of those things that opponents of same-sex marriage are always going on about. All that it requires is that the two people in question be of opposite genders. (And consenting adults, and a few other particular requirements that vary from place to place.)


It looks like I may not have linked to Jennifer Finney Boylan's New York Times op-ed piece from a couple months ago, "Is My Marriage Gay?" It discusses the fact that trans people have different legal genders in different states, and thus their marriages are considered legal or not depending on what state they're in and on state rules about same-sex marriage. For example, "in Kansas, any transgendered person who is anatomically female is now allowed to marry only another woman."


A discussion of the difficulties and dangers of taking the same-sex marriage issue to the US Supreme Court.


A wide-ranging City Room Blog piece: On a Matter of Marriage in New York, by Sewell Chan, May 8, 2009, describing a panel discussion about same-sex marriage in New York (and elsewhere in the US). Two bits of particular note:

First, one of the panelists, Professor Arthur S. Leonard of New York Law School commented: "Like G.M. or A.I.G., [marriage] is an enormous, complicated thing that no one knows what to do with but that is too big to fail."

Second, unrelatedly: The section titled "Is Marriage Always the Answer?" (second-to-last section of article, about a third of the way down the page) quotes Columbia law professor Katherine M. Franke as being "supportive, yet skeptical" about the approach we're taking regarding same-sex marriage; Franke raises the very good point that we may be risking "'casting a shadow of judgment' on those who choose not to marry." She notes that she's troubled by the idea "that there is some kind of lack of dignity, respectability, for those who live outside the institution of marriage."

This is a concern of mine, too; I'm absolutely in favor of supporting and celebrating a wide range of ways of living, not just marriage. But just as I support GLBT people who want to serve in the military despite my own pacifism, I ardently believe that GLBT people who want to get married should have the full legal and societal recognition that our society accords to marriage, despite having no interest in marriage myself (and wanting society to accord that recognition and status to other life choices as well).

Still, it's an issue we should keep in mind. In the rush to gain acceptance for those who do want to marry, I don't want to further marginalize those who don't.

2 Comments

Great post; thanks!


I ardently believe that GLBT people who want to get married should have the full legal and societal recognition that our society accords to marriage, despite having no interest in marriage myself (and wanting society to accord that recognition and status to other life choices as well).

Could you expand on that?


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