Diane Silver

The Horrible Truth About Gay Marriage

Filed By Diane Silver | November 24, 2009 7:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Marriage Equality, Politics
Tags: Don't Ask Don't Tell, ENDA, gay marriage, Jeanne Cordova, Maine, marriage equality, same-sex marriage, same-sex unions, Washington State

The minute voters ripped the right to marry away from same-sex couples in Maine, the call rang out across LGBTQ America: Let's give up on marriage.

rings2.jpgThe defeat in Maine was horrible in itself, but it was even more galling because it came as voters in Washington state were on their way to approving an "everything-but-marriage" recognition of domestic partner rights.

On Bilerico and elsewhere bloggers declared their wish to pull out of the fight. Longtime activist Jeanne Córdova, for example, argued on her blog, The Lesbian World, that "the LGBT movement should stop wasting our precious funds and energy" on a losing, limited strategy. "(I)t's time to re-direct the gay movement into fighting the real battle for civil rights in all 50 states," she wrote.

The sad reality is that there is truth in her argument.

Not all lesbians, gays or bisexuals will marry. Transgender people can't even benefit from same-sex marriage. Almost everyone, though, needs a job.

The Employment Nondiscrimination Act will touch far more lives than marriage equality ever could. In most cities and states, companies can still freely discriminate against LGBTQ workers. ENDA would eliminate that outrage.

Meanwhile, careers and families would be saved by overturning the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" ban on LGB folks serving openly in the military. Not only does DADT grind up members of the service, it also destroys their families.

Because LGB soldiers can't be out, their spouses and children can't access any of the benefits or support heterosexual families receive. Deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan are particularly hellish. Service members can't list their spouses as next of kin. When closeted troops are wounded or killed, their same-sex partners may be the last to know. Other issues are equally important.

Giving up on marriage, though, would be the dumbest move LGBTQ America could ever make.

Leaving aside the debate on whether separate (domestic partnerships, civil unions) can ever be equal, we must remember that all civil rights struggles are about perception. The opposition wins on ENDA, DADT and the other important issues when same-sex-loving Americans are marginalized. Bigotry feeds on the lie that we're frightening and alien.

At the center of every battle for LGB equality is this struggle: Are same-sex-loving people predatory sex addicts - nothing like "normal" heterosexual people - or are they regular folk who love and care for their families? Marriage explodes these nasty stereotypes by making the truth of same-sex relationships visible.

Córdova and her colleagues in despair are wrong. Walking away from the marriage fight weakens the struggle on all fronts. Same-sex marriage isn't the only battle, but it is a key one. The horrible truth about gay marriage is clear: It's an issue fair-minded Americans dare not ignore.

Photo: Jeff Belmonte shot this Wikimedia photo of wedding rings.


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I sort of wonder where you are hearing this overwhelming cry to give up on gay marriage. That issue has been the golden calf of the gay community for a while now, and most are not going to give up on it even when they should.

I also would like to point out that, in many cases, the idea that anti-queer bigots are thinking of us as "perverted predators sex addicts" is somewhat of a myth, at least when you define "perverted predators and sex addicts" the way a queer person would. To them, two people of the same sex loving each other in any romantic way IS perverted, focused only on sex, counterfeit, and predatory. They're wrong, but so are we when we turn that into the real issue. We can show as many pictures of happy same-sex couples who don't look like "freaks" to the mainstream as we want, and it isn't going to change that because it was never their real motive anyway.

The call to marriage is relatively new in the history of the gay movement; we're persuaded to forget that it really only began its appearance as a supposedly populist movement in the late '90s and early 2000s, pushed to the foreground by the second Bush election and anti-gay-marriage amendments. Yes, there are histories which claim that marriage has been part of an evolutionary history of the gay movement from the start, but an upcoming research piece of mine will indicate otherwise.

For those curious to know more about the call to end dump gay marriage now, especially the Bilerico pieces Diane refers to, I refer you to my own:

"Dump Gay Marriage Now"
http://www.bilerico.com/2009/07/dump_gay_marriage_now.php

Ryan Conrad has spoken about Maine, the funnelling of resources towards gay marriage, and why marriage is a disaster:
http://kboo.fm/node/17582

He has a new and upcoming website with more historical material which shows that a lot of queers have been against the focus on marriage for quite a while now:
http://www.againstequality.org/

The site is soon to be launched, with an archive of historical and analytic material.

Xtra Canada just published this:
"Abandon Equality"
http://www.xtra.ca/public/National/Abandon_equality-7866.aspx

And Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore has been writing against gay marriage for years:
http://www.mattildabernsteinsycamore.com/

There's also John D'Emilio's "The Marriage Fight Is Setting Us Back"
http://www.glreview.com/issues/13.6/13.6-demilio.php

These sources are barely the tip of the iceberg of the literature available. It's not simply that people are *now* calling for an end to continuing with gay marriage. The more important *historical* fact is that it has never really been an issue that came up for widespread discussion and has instead been foisted upon us as the only way to gain a measure of "equality" (itself a concept that is up for debate, but that's for another place and time). When those of us on the queer left and, it appears now, even in the middle, start calling for an end to the relentless focus on marriage, we're not calling for a new course. We're simply asking the queer movement to return to its roots.

For an interesting set of figures and facts about Maine, I highly recommend Ryan Conrad's radio spot, cited above.

Yasmin, thank you so much for posting those links! For some reason when I wrote this, I couldn't find your previous post. I remembered it, but didn't have the link and searching didn't turn it up, so I appreciate you adding that information.

Also, despite the fact that I'm in the pro-marriage camp, my understanding and experience of history is the same as yours. I don't remember seeing any mention of marriage equality before the 90s. In large part, I think that was because such a goal seemed impossible to even dream about.

Thanks, Diane. Yes, it is interesting how marriage seemed to suddenly became the focus of the movement. I think we might disagree somewhat as to the exact hows and whys, but I think we can have an interesting conversation about it. The research material on this has been fascinating.

Marla R. Stevens Marla R. Stevens | November 29, 2009 2:33 AM

Some of us have been fighting for civil marriage equality for decades longer than the 90s. I was dealing with a state DOMA in the 80s and have considered it a bellweather long before that, studying it, analyzing it, and preparing for the fights to come since at least the mid-70s -- and it was in my thoughts and heart long before that.

It is in some ways for some people a chasing after a status quo normalcy but I've always seen it at least as much, if not more so, a direct challenge to the poison of virtual equality in that it is, in a phobic hierarchy, the closest and most personal challenge to the notion of human equality between us and them -- are our relationships of equal (or better) quality than theirs -- are we at the deepest human level truly as good as they are, demanding an answer that, yes, we are, making it the most cutting edge issue we have, meaning that the progress we make on it -- even inside the failures -- is progress that cuts to the heart and soul and is of the sort that makes the most compelling and lasting change.

Just to be clear, regarding my historical research, I was referring to the "movement," not individuals.


I never let George W. Bush, the Pope, nor Maggie Gallegher tell me whom I may love, nor whom and whether I may marry. I am not about to let a few stray voices in the blogoshpere restrain me in these regards either.

Interesting. Profound claims without any rational or empirical basis whatsoever.

Could you please enlighten me and tell me what is the temporal starting point of the "gay movement"? Does it have a country of origin?

Why is it important anyhow for gay marriage to have a historical trace within the gay rights movement?

Why is it important anyway for movements to remain static (especially when they span decades and they socio-cultural powers that give rise to them also alter them).

And how can you (the queer "radical" in this case) be talking about a teleology in the gay rights movement or of any movement really. Isn't like the whole post-gender/marxist/modernist/structuralist/feminist/etc against any telos? Or haven't you done your reading yet ?

Let alone the fact that you somehow think that you are rebelling and saying something revolutionary (you really aren't) when once again you fall into the other trap that most "queers" fall into. The very well known queer grand-daddy (which some obviously didn't study hard enough) was explicit in claiming that power relations will somehow always be there. In other words...there is never going to be a fully emancipatory system.

And let's assume for a second that you believe that there is a better system (which somehow you never claim in any of your posts what that would be or how to get there). Isn't this like a whole new grand-narrative? Aren't queers supposed to be against any grand-narrative?

Your rants make you come across as an intellectually lazy, socio-historically ignorant, deluded and philosophically untalented person (who perhaps read 2-3 queer theory books [the joke of academia these days]). What is worse however is your absolute disregard about the members of your community (oh I forgot you are not LGBT - you are queer) who are actually struggling right now because of the very pragmatic implications of not having any form of state recognition (immigration issues, hospital visitation issues, etc etc). And that makes you immoral.

I sort of wonder where you are hearing this overwhelming cry to give up on gay marriage.
From people who are single and who live in fear of losing employment - or being denied it in the first instance.

And from people who may be in relationships but who need to erase the fear of losing employment - or being denied it in the first instance - more than they need a marriage certificate.

What you hear from the people who wouldn't benefit from marriage unfortunately lacks the power of an "overwhelming cry." My point was not that there shouldn't be one, but that there just isn't one.

Here, here Diane you nailed the argument for “staying the course” on winning enforcement of everyone’s right to same sex marriage but for 2 important points.

First, all LGBT people are born the way we are and therefore entitled as a “birthright” to be married, opposite or same sex! Boies/Olsen have recognized this basic principle by structuring their federal case based on previous precedent that an African American and Caucasian had the right to marry in defiance of state law because they were born the way they are!

Second, The United States is a secular nation not a theocracy! We have separation of church and state for excellent, compelling reasons. The word “marriage” carries religious connotations with it that our laws and public policies must be blind to! Our opponents seek to “ordain” religious belief with public law and policy. Sorry, that’s unconstitutional!

Oh, by the way… I’m a trans-lesbian woman who one day will have a birth certificate that identifies me as being born female! Though it’s probably too late for me to find the woman of my dreams and marry her, tens of millions of other male to female and female to male trans-persons will meet and decide to marry a partner of the same sex! Currently those proposed marriages would be just as unconstitutionally rejected as any proposed marriage by genetic same sex couples!

Let’s hope that David Boies and Ted Olsen win next January! I believe the U. S. Supreme Court will uphold that victory. If SCOTUS fails to uphold that victory we in the LGBT community will then battle our own “Dred Scott” decision. It will take a long time but we will fight a decision like that and eventually win because at some point we LGBT people will convince society at large to recognize the unconstitutional cruelty levied on us.

This fight for marriage equality cuts to the core of what our founders and framers of the constitution and bill of rights intended for all of us… Individual freedom and liberty as a birthright!

Ciao,

Pam

I love this piece, but shifting the focus to ENDA now while its right at our fingertips is not an abandonment of full equality for same-sex couples, its merely a smart move. Noone out there should be saying lets stop looking for marriage. Let's abandon that binary.

Let's instead say: "we've got this bill in congress and its going to fundamentally revolutionize the way that we as LGBT people function in society, and its got the support to pass, but noone has the cahones in Congress to bring it to a vote. Let's put everything we got into making this happen."

DPBO is important, but I really think ENDA is true north, and to let Congress treat it otherwise is foolish. The most good is done by securing these careers from discrimination--ENDA and DADT repeal need to be centerpieces of everything we talk about right now.

Marriage will follow naturally once ENDA is in place and DADT is repealed, but we can't even begin to talk marriage until DOMA is repealed, and we're a long way from that. If we can't even get DPBO or UAFA passed how are we going to get marriage, and if we can't get the government to recognize our dignity enough to give us Employment protection, why would they dignify our relationships with DPBO and UAFA?

ENDA and repeal DADT are really important. These are matters on the federal level, and the work on these has been going on for many years. This is one reason the federal legislation on these matters is in the foreseeable future, after the long slow slog for a decade or more.

Under the US Constitution, marriage is a matter left to the states.The only federal part is to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act that prohibited federal agencies from recognizing same sex marriages in the US. This is currently being challenged in federal court by 6 couples in Massachusetts. It makes sense to me that the marriage push continues, since this is generally the work of the state and local groups and activists, while the federal work is generally done by the big national organizations, with periodic help from everyone all over the country, in terms of periodic additional lobbying and funds.

The work on ENDA for example has been occurring for over 10 years. It is a coincidence that ENDA, repeal of DADT, and the marriage push have come together at this moment in history. One reason for this, is that for the very first time, the entire US and all the politicians on local, state, and federal levels are engaged in the discussion of LGBT issues, as never before. What accounts for this? Our agenda is on Oprah, the front pages of the New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and every other paper in America. The radio talk shows are all talking about our agenda as are TV talk shows. No one in media would consider NOT talking about the LGBT agenda these days. Why? What happened? Plane and simple, the Massachusetts Supreme Court and the California Supreme Court opened the floodgates of LGBT rights on an issue the most Americans could identify- marriage.

We wish that America had identified more strongly on employment discrimination and DADT repeal, but the fact is that American really did not engage on these issues seriously with us. We were talking to ourselves and preaching to the choir - UNTIL same sex marriage came along, and stirred up a media avalanche like we in the LGBT community have never before witnessed.

About the money. Sure, it really has cost lots of money. But you know what? The LGBT community is also contributing more to many more organizations and groups also. I know that in addition to my regular contributions to some major organizations, I have sent money to California, Maine, and Washington state. The donor list from the Proposition 8 fight in California has a huge number of friends and colleagues from all over the country who chipped in . Many new donors to our issues are LGBT persons who have not previously contributed.

The marriage issue was not endorsed by the major organizations, at first. They had good arguments based on sound legal reasoning that the courts appeared to be unlikely to rule in our favor, especially in America's Bush Era (the sequel). We all were stunned and surprised with the good results. Congratulations to the courageous individuals who pushed the issue to the front burner, and persisted. After their wins, the LGBT community at large, the big organizations, all of us hopped on for the publicity and media ride that got all of America talking about our civil rights in areas other than marriage.

I live in a liberal area of the country, Washington DC. Our neighbors have always been friendly. However, with the media blitz, they all started talking at neighborhood gatherings and on the street about what is going on concerning LGBT issues, and what do we think. This never happened until marriage. My brother in a conservative part of Michigan tells me that the same is occurring in his neighborhood. His daughter's high school even had special program for National Coming Out Day, a long-standing HRC program that is starting to pay dividends outside the liberal coasts of America.

I really do not think that it is an either/ or proposition, that is marriage or everything else. Her in Washington, D.C., we got recognition of out-of-state marriages (enacted July 7, 2009), and on December 1, the City Council will finally pass our own marriage law here. New York and New Jersey are within our grasp.

We need to engage more persons in the LGBT community, to share the burden (and fun) of working on these issues as a community, as well as for contributing. We all know people who think nothing of dropping lots every weekend at some bar or disco, but who have never, and I mean never, contributed to the fight for all of our civil rights. Let's all work to change this.

Of course it hurts to loose a battle as we did in Maine. But in reality, although we did not gain marriage there this time, our collective efforts have waken up the state legislature and the governor as supporters of LGBT issues, and moreover, the entire state was engaged in a discussion of our agenda. We got so close, we sure did make huge gains. Marriage will happen sooner or later in Maine. In the meantime, next time that they discuss AIDS funding or other state LGBT matters, we now have a network to reactivate at the Statehouse. I would hope that the Maine activists will capitalize on the goodwill toward the the LGBT community in the recent referendum, and see what can be passed on other issues.

Pete, thanks so much for reporting on happenings in your neighborhood and Michigan. I suspect that it's these neighbor-to-neighbor conversations that will eventually turn the tide for us on marriage, ENDA, DADT and everything else.

Michael @ LeonardMatlovich.com | November 25, 2009 4:05 PM

Sorry, Pete. While I agree with much that you say, particularly the rejection of the childish "either/or" arguments, you, too, have an underinformed grasp of our history when you write:

"We wish that America had identified more strongly on employment discrimination and DADT repeal, but the fact is that American really did not engage on these issues seriously with us. We were talking to ourselves and preaching to the choir - UNTIL same sex marriage came along, and stirred up a media avalanche like we in the LGBT community have never before witnessed."

That is true re employment nondiscrimination [which, note, was first introducted in Congress over 30-yrs. ago...not 10] and will CONTINUE to remain so because it's too nebulous for the general public to understand by the simple fact that it's too broad and deep. The "queer" lunatic fringe hates the concept, but "poster boys and girls" are necessary for hoi polloi to identify with, and while totally unfair, the media simply won't turn their spotlight on CIVILIAN job discrimination cases for all but a single news cycle. [Still, banning gay job discrimination is the most supported of all our issues in mainstream opinion polls...but we have failed to "engage" them on it.]

Which brings me to where you are most wrong historically [and where those, for a mix of considered and, again, lunatic fringe reasons, oppose fighting]: the gay military ban.

The fact is that it was the FIRST gay rights issue that the media picked up on in a big way, in 1975 to be exact. As Milk biographer Randy Shilts wrote in "Conduct Unbecoming," Leonard Matlovich became the Movement's first political "celebrity" when he outed himself to the Air Force....when Harvey Milk was yet to be elected and was totally unknown outside of San Francisco. It wasn't just that he was the first servicemember to do it but that mainstream media loved him.

You can watch a video recap of this evolution at
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UzFSgI1_FK8.

In short, front page of the New York Times on Memorial Day 1975, picked up by papers big and small all across the country; Walter Cronkite that night; NBC evening news the next night, and multiple national and local interview shows after that. Time magazine cover, September 75 - the first named out gay person on a national magazine. First made-for-TV movie about a living gay person - 1978. Continued coverage of his lawsuit through its resolution in 81 [and continued coverage of every other battle he helped lead, be it against Anita Bryant or John Briggs or the Pope or Reagan's passive genocide by AIDS.] And he would still be getting intervied about the ban today [probably while being arrested for something like chaining himself to the Obama House gates] if he hadn't died 21 years ago.

The recurring problem, as Alex Nicholson of Servicemembers United and I were discussing at the DADT protes/memorial the day before the National Equality March, is that poster servicemembers rise up and then fade away because, after throwing themselves against the so-far impenetrable walls of the Pentagon, they have to get on with making a living, etc.

Today it's Dan Choi and Victor Fehrenbach. A couple of years ago it was Alex. Etc., etc. You can hear examples speak going all the way back to 1992 here:

http://www.leonardmatlovich.com/oct10thdcmemorial.html

And what did MSM first challenge Obama on? Not his promise re DOMA repeal or ENDA, but his promises re DADT repeal [which had NOTHING to do with the simultaneous cultural discussion of marriage]. And they continued to until early summer when Obama reran his hollow song and dance at that infamous White House Tea for the Gays and most national organizations stopped demanding [or never did] that he sign the executive order freezing discharge he's entirely legally authorized to do. The Palm Center actually did a report on the sharp dip in MSM coverage after that.

Yes, the marriage battle has gotten more coverage in the last few years collectively, but that's because of mulitple battles in multiple states whereas the military ban can only be fought at the federal level. [If marriage were SO public consciousness/Movement all consuming, then there would be more than just a couple of lawsuits against federal DOMA.]

None of this is to say that I dismiss the importance of the marriage equality fight because I don't. It's not that we shouldn't be fighting but that we have been doing a lousy job of it...with the chickenass "We are gentle loving people...please don't hurt us, Mr. Bill" approach while the other side has repeatedly nuked us. Out gay politico Steve Hildebrand is wrong about many things but right on when he describes the Prop 8 and No On 1 campaigns as "malpractice."

But your glass half full analysis is waaaay off. The infernos that have raged around the marriage battles are more about mainstream OPPOSITION than positive engagement.

On the other hand, lifting the military ban is second only to job protection as the issue supported by more Americans of all stripes than any other LGBT rights issue [tho TECHNICALLY Ts aren't affected, while, in practice, they are].

Bottomline:

1. Ignore the screeching loud minority who are walking gay/T ghettoes, arrogantly defining for everyone else what it means to be LGBT; who have been so scarred by their mistreatment that they've internalized an outcast self-concept; kinda like people who had traumatic potty training spending the rest of their lives playing with their poo.

2. Fight for ALL of our rights [whether or not we choose or need to exercise them....am I not to fight for a woman's right to choose because I don't have a uterus?]. BUT wage those battles in a MUCH smarter way.

1. Ignore the screeching loud minority who are walking gay/T ghettoes, arrogantly defining for everyone else what it means to be LGBT; who have been so scarred by their mistreatment that they've internalized an outcast self-concept; kinda like people who had traumatic potty training spending the rest of their lives playing with their poo.

Fuck you. We're ghettoized because of the mistreatment we've suffered, in part, at your (meaning the gay mainstream's) hands. The fact that you're able to see yourself as not being in some kind of ghetto depends on your being able to point to us and say, "at least we're not like them!" whenever you're begging for scraps of privilege. (Not to say that you're the only ones mistreating us, but don't gloss over your part in it, either.) And how is what you're doing not an attempt to define what it means to be GLB(silent T), anyway, and how is that any less arrogant than what you accuse us of being?

Transgender people can't even benefit from same-sex marriage.

Can't we put this to rest as demonstrably false?

NYTimes Op-ed by Jennifer Finney Boylan: Is My Marriage Gay?

A lawyer for the transgendered plaintiff in the Littleton case noted the absurdity of the country's gender laws as they pertain to marriage: "Taking this situation to its logical conclusion, Mrs. Littleton, while in San Antonio, Tex., is a male and has a void marriage; as she travels to Houston, Tex., and enters federal property, she is female and a widow; upon traveling to Kentucky she is female and a widow; but, upon entering Ohio, she is once again male and prohibited from marriage; entering Connecticut, she is again female and may marry; if her travel takes her north to Vermont, she is male and may marry a female; if instead she travels south to New Jersey, she may marry a male."

May 14, 2009: Tenn. nixes marriage of transgender woman, man

[Jo T.] Rittenberry[, a transgender woman,] married Jeffery Scott Phillips, 36, in November 2007.

Kelly Farmer, director of communications at the Davidson County Clerk’s Office, said Tennessee authorities will not honor the marriage because Rittenberry was not born a woman.

Tennessee does not permit same-sex marriage and does not recognize gender change even after sex reassignment surgery.

Transgender people can't even benefit from same-sex marriage.

Oh really? Seems like Ms. Silver hasn't really thought this one through.

Most GLBT folks who oppose defending ourselves from the bigots attacks on LGBT partnering and equality do so because Democrats traditionally side with the cults on this question. The Clintons, Gore, Biden and Obama, the DNC and most congressional Democrats either are bigots or cater to bigots on this question. These Democrats oppose defense of same sex marriage because they’re still in the Democratic Party closet.

Others oppose defending our communities from attacks by the right out of fear, or because they're accomodationists or because they're looking for a reason to break to the right and leave the movement entirely.

In any case the idea that we can't defend ourselves and simultaneously go on the offensive to win tough anti-discrimination laws (and ENDA is a pretty limited step in that direction) and build a movement capable of suppressing the cult's hate speech and promotion of violence is totally false.
This is no time for despair.

We can do all that and more given the huge radicalization that’s underway because of the Clinton/Bush economic collapse, the Clinton/Bush/Obama wars and the Clinton/Bush/Obama attacks on our communities, the Bill of Rights, the environment, minorities, reproductive rights and immigrant and imported workers.

But before we can begin to fight we have to build an activists movement oriented towards mass action instead of lobbying or charity work, with a democratic internal life that excludes high paid self appointed leaders and which is openly independent of the Democrats.

Building such a movement is the most important question we face.

"Mass action" again? And yet, no evidence that it works. Stop lobbying and start demanding... louder, louder, louder.

Enough already. Be quiet.

Andy, you're pretty comforatble with 'faith'. If you don't have the abilitiy to fathom US history and all it's examples of how mass action works then just take it on faith.

Click your slippers together three times and keep intoneing "Ah buhleeeve, reallly ah do", until it comes to you.

A significant number of trans people are gay or lesbian too. Same sex marriage would benefit them in states where their target gender is recognised, as well as those straight trans people in states where it isn't.

In Australia, where I live, I could only marry a man, because same-sex marriage is forbidden, and I'm legally female.

In the UK, where I was born, I could only marry another women, because same-sex marriage is forbidden, and I'm legally male there.

It's true that the backlash against the SSM campaign has dramatically reduced the rights to marriage in the US for trans people: any interested party, such as a bank, insurance company, relatives etc can go venue-shopping to void a trans person's marriage - be it "gay" or "straight" - they deem inconvenient to them. That is, however, an unavoidable consequence of doing the right thing, and we can't complain.

Transgender people can't even benefit from same-sex marriage.

Thank you, Zoe, for keeping me from making an insultingly snarky (or snarkily insulting) comment...

Thanks to Zoe and to everyone else who pointed out the obvious stupidity in my post. Of course, transgendered people can be lesbian or gay. My bad. Seriously, my bad.

The point I was clumsily trying to make is that laws in many places are, well, a mess when it comes to equality for transgendered citizens. Thus, the situation for trans folk can be complicated and difficult, to say the least. Legalizing same-sex marriage doesn't deal with those difficulties and may do nothing to help transgendered citizens.

May all my mis-steps be as minor as yours on this occasion.

I happen to agree with your point about how it should absolutely be continued.

I disagree vehemently with the idea it should be a primary focus. For pretty much the same reason, plus the reasons you spoke of otherwise.

For us to move forward, we all have to move forward on the same ground, and that's not present right now.

However, I'm writing this point to say thank you. I would rather you write a column and speak to trans issues and then using LGB when you spoke to just LGB concerns.

That shows that you weren't stupid, and that you tried, and to me, personally, that counts for a a whole lot.

This comment just shows that you are willing to learn, and that is even more important.

So thank you.

Well, actually, I think it would help - no, will help (I'll be an optimist) - precisely because trans people's marriages are denied or put in legal uncertainty in obedience to gay-marriage bans. Once that's no longer an excuse to deny a marriage, it will be one less thing for trans people to worry about - and, for lots of us, a really big thing.

But it would. If two people could get married without regard to their genders, then trans people of all sexualities could marry our preferred partners.

As it stands, we have to move to the right state, based on our birth sex, preferred sex, our partner's birth sex and preferred sex, and whether or not the state allows changes of gender marker and recognizes those changes for purposes of marriage. Same-sex paired transfolk need states that don't recognize sex marker changes, except for those paired with another trans person, who want a state that does recognize the change, but must get married at exactly the correct stage in the paperwork. Opposite-sex paired transfolk want the opposite. And those partnered to a same-sex trans person who have completed their gender marker change need to be in a state that recognizes same-sex marriage (but are affected by DOMA like any other gay couple). Getting married as a trans person can be ridiculously complex, expensive, and often not feasible.

Are same-sex-loving people predatory sex addicts - nothing like "normal" heterosexual people - or are they regular folk who love and care for their families?

You know, I'd love it if we could shift the ground from this question to the question of whether one needs to be "normal" and "regular folk" in order to be deserving of rights.

If we base our claim to rights on meeting a privileged and oppressive definition of "normal" then only groups who can prove they are normal will get those rights. I'd rather remove that qualification and get rights for everyone. Freaks and perverts are just as capable of loving their families and just as deserving of rights.

Additionally, if we open up and show them all of our families, they'll find regular folks who love and care for their families -- and they'll also find abusive relationships, folks who don't love each other but stay together "for the kids," abusive parents, and dysfunctional families, all at about the same rate you'd find it in straight families. Non-bio-parents desperately trying to get custody from their abusive ex need legal recognition of their relationship too.

I'm going to hone in on the same part as Tobi here, but for different reasons:

Are same-sex-loving people predatory sex addicts - nothing like "normal" heterosexual people - or are they regular folk who love and care for their families?

I'm hoping that there's space outside of "predatory sex addicts" and "regular folk who love and care for their families." It causes me no small amount of existential pain to think that the only two choices before me are "regular" and "predatory." It doesn't mean I buy into it, but if I believe in this movement (and I do, I spend a lot of time every day reading, following, and commenting on the LGBTQ movement and population), but then the most it can push for it to move us up from "predator" to "drone" really does say more about me than what I personally believe does, no?

Perhaps the distinction is mere words... but what is it we're fighting for, then? We are a population defined by words (namely those it took to come out as a certain sexuality or articulate a gender identity), and marriage itself, for most people fighting for it and the way you define it as a goal, a set of words. That is, if it really were about the 1000+ benefits of marriage, people who mention them would at least be able to roll off about 10% if asked, and articulate how they're going to get married if it's legal and why they need those rights.

Marriage, for the majority of people who think it's the most important thing we can fight for, care mostly about its symbolic meaning instead of its legal or economic meaning.

Generally, I've tried to preference substance over style, especially since style is so easily colonized, especially since, without having access to the power economic security can bring, marriage doesn't really help people much and won't be as stable or stabilizing as we think it'll be.

All that with a helping of "We don't set the movement's agenda, there is no agenda, people decide for themselves how to spend their time and money, the movement is and has always been geared toward the goals of people with more money and time to devote, we can have a debate about abandoning something but who do we give our final decision to, yada yada yada..." I know my place, don't worry. :)

Right on, Alex. This is what alienates me the most about the marriage agenda...I'm not a predator, but I shouldn't have to become a drone just to "prove" my lack of predator-ness. If becoming someone I'm not is the cost of "equality," then that "equality" isn't very equal. I am not just like "regular" folks, and I don't want to be, either!

Marla R. Stevens Marla R. Stevens | November 29, 2009 2:50 AM

"Marriage, for the majority of people who think it's the most important thing we can fight for, care mostly about its symbolic meaning instead of its legal or economic meaning."

I beg to differ. Ask Rosie O'Donnell about spousal privilege, for instance. Ask countless seniors and partners of PWAs who do not have the right to a spousal homestead exemption to spenddowns and have to choose between losing their homes and getting necessary longterm care for their loved ones. The list goes on and on and you either know it or should.

Shame on you for trying to paint this demand for equality under the law as an emotionalistic luxury of less practical importance than employment equality.

This either/or cry is a false dichotomy of the worst sort. Are we so small that we do not have the attention span necessary to fight more than one fight at once?

Damn!

"Not all lesbians, gays or bisexuals will marry. Transgender people can't even benefit from same-sex marriage. Almost everyone, though, needs a job.

The Employment Nondiscrimination Act will touch far more lives than marriage equality ever could. In most cities and states, companies can still freely discriminate against LGBTQ workers. ENDA would eliminate that outrage."

DUH!

IAFT! Lesbian and gay people are finely seeing this? Trans people have been screaming this at the top of their lungs for the last six years, but NO! Is it gay and lesbian people are a little slow on the uptake, or just too arrogant to face reality? (HRC=Arrogant)

I can't fucking believe this. After 3/4 of the states shoved our rights up our asses for 5 years, gay and lesbian people are just catching on.

I'm going to say this: "I told you so!"

I will simply say that I agree. ;)

http://www.bilerico.com/2009/11/take_a_tip_from_the_lions_or_why_i_dont_like_the_m.php

It's an important fight, and one we should constantly be monitoring for signs of voter change. However, we have better "bang for the buck" in other issues, and we should act on that. We dare not ignore marriage, but at the same time I think we have to be careful not to flail around in quicksand on the issue, spending tons of money and lobbying energy in the process that could be used on more "easy-to-pass" and universally effective legislation.

I agree with Monica but also feel that ENDA is only part of the picture. I.E. in the USA employees have almost no rights relative to what employees have in most civilized countries. Whether straight or LGBT inclined if one is an employee their employer has the right to fire them without cause. Other employee benefits common in civilized nations are rare in the USA as well.

I'd like to see the LGBT population stop being so self-centered and focus on broader issues such as employee rights for everyone. This is more likely to occur if the bigoted straight portion of our population would stop fighting against things that are none of their business such as marriage equality.

Sadly these bigots are too ignorant to appreciate how much they are being manipulated by their religious and political puppet masters to support the rich elite in the USA.

Yasmin forgot to tell you that she and Ryan Conrad are anti capitalism, that Ryan Conrad is a self described anarchist against electoral politics ( his own words in a comment last week), that in her roundtable published on Bilerico a couple weeks go with Mattilda Bernstein , they turn against LGBT who want marriage and accuse us of being classist racist and every other -ist. This group is against marriage for ALL, not just LGBT, because they claim that it is oppressive , patriarchal , etc. (Their own words on various Bilerico posts). The very simple answer for these persons is obvious. DO NOT GET MARRIED. You would not be doing your partner a favor. We live in America, and this is a pluralistic society, not "One Size Fits All" under the regime which they wish to install.
There are some contrary arguments to consider in the marriage fight, but not from this group. They are a miniscule mini microcosm of fanatics who are calling for the total overthrow of American society and starting again from scratch, with THEIR plan for all. How they can label themselves as "progressive" when in fact they want to totally control everyone else's lives is amazing. They share in common the inability to work with credible organizations or to raise funds to back their ideas of dystopia for all.
They argue false choices, i.e., it's either marriage or health care - can't have both they say. Or as Yasmin wrote recently, claiming that the marriage crowd imagines that all they want is that wedding, and then they are guaranteed the perfect suburban lifestyle behind the white picket fence.
The facetious tone of these pseudo arguments ignores the fact that a huge segment of the LGBT community is behind the marriage fight, because it is really about visibility. Visibility in our communities, and visibility in the media. Visibility brings equality in various ways. Nothing like it has ever happened until the marriage issue arose. If a huge segment of our community wants marriage, and is financially supporting the effort, why not let them pursue this?
The Yasminites should raise funds and start their own groups to pursue their agenda. Instead, they attack and destroy the LGBT organizations and issues that many tens if not hundreds of thousands contribute to and support. We know that this is not your money used in these battles for equality, we know that you are not working in the organizations or volunteering on the marriage fight, so why not let those for whom this is important proceed?
There is literally nothing in the LGBT community, whether the Equality March, HRC, fight against DADT, marriage equality for financial equality (read the NY Times article about the higher costs of being gay), GLAAD, etc etc, that they do not pooh pooh and trash and slash. This crowd belittled the Matthew Shepherd Anti-Hate Crimes efforts, as well as immigration reform that helps LGBT persons, and removes the HIV travel ban. They are anti everything on the LGBT agenda. Just because they call themselves "Queer" (their identifier) does not make them in favor of our rights, or our larger cause. But please, none of us can speak for all LGBT persons, and none of us should be putting so much negative energy, destructive effort, and petty in-fighting to promote self aggrandizing crusades.

Pete, at least three quarters of your post is an ad hominem attack. Someone is an anarachist? So what? How does that invalidate the perspective and ideas they put forth? Someone prefers a world where there is no legal institution of marriage? Until you explain why that's worse than a world where all couples (but no one else) can get married, then you havne't actually made a point.

The standard "You don't have to get married" fallacy has been taken apart so many times before. When rights and privileges that are applicable to everyone are given only to those who are married and not to those who are unmarried, then everyone -- married or not -- has a stake in how those rights are divided up.

If you're really complaining about "negative energy" why don't you re-read your own post. You'll find that in-fighting always requires more than one side engaged in the fight. Why is it okay for you to put out negative energy, destructive effort, and petty infighting when responding to them, but it's not okay for them to do the same when responding to your side?

On what basis do you believe that folks who hold this point of view contribute nothing to the LGBTQ community? I've known plenty who fundraise, who do start their own groups, who work for major LGBTQ organizations, who are on the boards of major LGBTQ organizations, not to mention those who participate in community work outside the non-profit industrial complex.

Do you really not know of any community efforts outside of marriage, DADT, and hate crimes? What about ENDA? What about suicide prevention? HIV/AIDS? Domestic violence? Sexual assault? Adequate access to health care and legal support for low income trans people? My list goes on and on. Just because someone is opposed to your favorite three issues (or opposed to how they are being pursued) doesn't mean they oppose everything in our community.

In fact, most of the folks I know who fit the category you are maligning are the most involved in on the ground direct services to our community.

Well, Pete,

Like Tobi said.

However, the one thing I would say to you is: find me a shred of proof that I've fought against the removal of the HIV ban, and I will eat this screen. I have, in fact, actively and publicly spoken out and worked against it, several times. I am literally on record about this. Screed away, if you must, but don't outright lie.

I do like "Yasminites." Bil, are you reading this? T-shirt!

Got to run now, and look for my Yasminites!

Happy hols, everybody!

I will totally wear a Yasminites t-shirt.

Here here, Tobi! Our community groups, hotlines and youth groups are closing their doors--this is a problem. Our community AIDS programs are gasping for air, and are now having to choose between continuing to provide service to those infected, and trying to stop new infections with prevention. That's a horrific situation.

Part of this is economy. Noone has anything left to donate anywhere. I certainly am dry. I can't even pay my bills, let alone make another donation! However, there are still those of us in the community who have money who are funneling it into ONE cause, rather than to all of the programs and groups that make a difference.

While we send millions to voter marriage referendums that keep failing, 40% of the homeless youth population is LGBT. A vast majority of the trans community is under- or unemployed, and our new HIV/AIDS infection rates are SKYROCKETING nationally.

Our local LGBT publications, who have kept us informed about discrimination, violence, corruption and the state of vital programs that we need are being gobbled up by national conglomerates that then go bankrupt. Our community centers who have provided services to our community--especially to the PWA and youth segments--are shutting their doors, and our suicide prevention hotlines are hanging up the receivers.

We could be marrying ourselves right back into the closet if we're not careful. Now, I'm not anti-marriage, but I don't think its the fight to be having right now in some of the places we're having it. I live in Illinois. We have employment protection and all sorts of good stuff, so of course the next thing everyone is thinking of is marriage--but I think if that makes it to the ballot, we're screwed. We'll pump millions into another loss, and in the mean time, drain the coffers of our community groups that could have otherwise been running STD testing or setting up group homes for homeless youth. Sure I want to see marriage equality some day, but not at the expense of the lives of the most needy.

Let's try to think big picture here. The nation is still far behind Illinois and many other states in LGBT protections. In my native Michigan, there is a push now to overturn the Michigan constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage, but the state has been unable to pass anti-bullying laws or employment protections for a decade, not to mention community health services that serve LGBT and PWA populations are going broke because of Michigan's flatlining economy.

Why don't we all look big picture?

We should do marriage when it most makes sense, when it isn't sacrificing the youth, the elderly, the poor and the sick in our community to the altar of "me me me."

In the mean time, scholarship funds, AIDS services, Employment discrimination, safe schools, community health and awareness, violence prevention--these need to be bigger priorities. We should also be coming out IN DROVES and trying to vote out lazy politicians who only half-heartedly support us, and replacing them with real allies (or better yet, some of our own).

We're not going to, as a community, be able to snap our fingers and get everyone on the same page. Just not going to happen. However, we can try to be more understanding. Marriage will certainly do the most good for long-term monogamous couples, but not everyone in the community is half of a long-term monogamous couple. All of us need jobs, though. All of us need to be safe. All of us need to be educated, need a home and all of us need to be healthy. Is it asking too much to keep all of that in mind as well?

oh man... yasminites?! hahaha!

i almost just peed my pants.

thanks for the response tobi.

if anyone is interested in seeing what this queer anarchist organizing in maine looks like, you can check out my community work here: http://faggotz.org/wp/?page_id=13

otherwise, pete, i'm afraid you only make yourself look like a reactionary tool.

thank anarchists for the 8 hour work day. and thank the anti-capitalists for generic affordable HIV medications.

ps. read a book. or two...

Michael @ LeonardMatlovich.com | November 25, 2009 5:20 PM

As your personal attack on ME [unless "Fuck you" is now considered "respectful"] was allowed to be posted [whereas I addressed no one but Pete by name in my comments], Megan, I deserve the right to respond to YOU.

Step off, Sweetie. What part of "fight for ALL our rights" don't you understand? That includes your right to "play with your poo" which is what I would consider anyone who describes him/herself as "a burnout loser who spends too much time in my own head." Who's "forcing" you to do that?

I'm sure you have a wallet card spelling out all the reasons you're a proud Professional Victim, and no one need creditial their own perspective, but just for the record.

Because I'm gender nonconforming, I was first called Queer in the 4th grade. I graduated to Faggot in college.

I have been denied promotions because I was out at work.

I have been fired simply because I was assumed to be gay.

I have been clubbed to the ground for being gay and had to endure my attacker not even being prosecuted because he was a local high school track star.

Age is no mark of superior insight per se, but judging by your photo I'd say that before you were born [that is, first playing with your poo], I was the head of a college gay rights group in MUCH more then-conservative Indiana, advocating for, yep, everyone's right to be themselves, appeared on national television and in a mainstream magazine as out g-a-y...none of which involved telling other LGBTs how they should lead their lives but telling nongay society that they shouldn't.

And, if it's ANY consolation, I live at the corner of 18th and Castro.

michael,

can you tell me how marriage makes any of the violence you've experienced any less violent or devastating?

Marriage will not give you a job promotion, end work place discrimination, lessen the number of homophobic jeers children and young adults endure in school, or lessen the trauma of anti-queer violence that continues to go on unchecked (even by the piss poor revenge based justice system we have).

this is why i don't understand how marriage has become the number one priority for LGBT organizing? like, what planet are people on thinking gay marriage will help with any of the things you talked about enduring? Gay marriage is a distraction, at best, from actually addressing these issues in meaningful ways.

First off, I will admit that I was wrong to accuse you of telling other LGBT people how to lead their lives. I had gotten your post mixed up with another post while scrolling back and forth to write my response. My apologies for that.

Yes, "fuck you" was meant disrespectfully. But don't worry...I only said it because I'm a horrid bitch. It certainly had nothing to do with our being actively marginalized by "well-meaning" folks such as yourself who pretend they have nothing to do with it! No, it's just because we're arrogant professional victims bent on telling other people how to live their lives!

See, nobody goes to the margins because they like the view from there (and no, that "burnout loser" line on my profile doesn't mean I like being marginalized; it's just a quote from a movie I like.) Point being, the margins exist precisely because people get shoved aside and silenced when other people find their opinions (or skin colors, or religious beliefs, or anything else you don't like) inconvenient to their own interests. The ghettos exist because someone else has an interest in maintaining them, and to suggest otherwise is just plain insulting to the people in the ghettos.

Speaking of silencing, your description of the "screeching loud minority" as professional victims is a prime example. Painting someone as a "professional victim" to discredit their views is nothing new; to demonstrate its use in this conversation further demonstrates that our marginalization suits your purposes.

Nobody is playing oppression olympics here. I don't doubt that you've been oppressed, victimized, and discriminated against, and it was never my point to position you as being immune from such. I'm just saying that your being oppressed doesn't prevent you from pulling the same on other people who you want to get a leg up on, and it doesn't justify it when you do.

You yourself admit that age is no mark of superior insight, but if that's the case, why are you bringing up my age? And yes, you may have done a lot of things to advocate for the community, but that doesn't mean that you're necessarily "fighting for ALL our rights". Trust me, I've heard that one before from people who clearly weren't (the example of HRC and ENDA in 2007 springs readily to mind), and you've given me no reason to believe that you're any different in saying that. Bottom line: I stand by what I said before. Fuck you, and fuck the self-righteous horse you rode in on.

I have looked back through the civil rights fights of many past groups. I can see a clear pattern emerge. Most of the groups experienced major losses on state and national votes to get their civil rights and had to fight in courts! Most of the major civil rights wins seem to have came because the Law courts made the decisions to go against the popular vote and sediments of that time. The state and local voters often tried and sometimes succeeded in overturning the decisions of the court ( For example Roe Vs Wade is still being challenged! Mostly because of extreme views on both sides! ) What You can tell by the voting results of the 31 state ballot boxes is that the voters that have an extreme prejudice against LGBT people Vote! The majority of people could care less if any LBGT people marry. Those people tend to not vote! In the USA most people seem not to vote! Look at the small number of votes that are cast vs the population in the good USA! A very-very small percentage of voters make the decisions of who wins for everybody! We maybe should focus on getting laws passed?

By the way everyone, I really mean sediments! Not the word you thought I was going to use!

Michael @ LeonardMatlovich.com | November 26, 2009 12:22 PM

In response to Conrad's question:

It's less about atoning for past injustice than contributing to the eventual elimination of future injustice.

It sounds simplistic, but we continue to be second class citizens, both in law and attitudes, because we have an image problem. 99% of it we did not create, but reality's a bitch. The majority of voters still deep throat most every lie the American Taliban gives them....BECAUSE they've been programmed all their lives to do just that [while, as Pete partially correctly identifed, WE'VE been preaching to our own choir].

It doesn't matter if the majority of the world is right or wrong when it still aspires to a romantic relationship they imagine somehow more secure by government sanction. As greedy and materialistic as most of the modern world is, if given the magical choice between immense wealth or "true love," does anyone doubt that the majority would choose the latter? Or that they would want that "true love" legally formalized in some way. Look at soap TV, the history of best seling books, music, movies, theatre. More than anything else, the subject is striving for successful romantic coupling.

Were people of color in reality any less equal before Obama was elected President? Of course not, but the symbolism of that achievement has done wonders for both self-image and the image of POC among all but the most recalcitrant racist.

I'm, as one fellow blog traveler characterized me, an "ornery old queen" who shall die alone, but it is both fundamentally [shared property rights, mutual medical decisions, etc.] and strategically important to me that others have the opportunity to marry IF they choose. It's not a matter of saying we're "just like 'them'" but of resonating common human dreams where and when they exist.

And, again, inherent unfairness of the hurdle aside, showing that we're "good enough" to have marriage rights, just like "good enough" to be teachers, or single parents, or office holders, or clergy, or in the Boy Scouts or military [none of which I shall ever be] is knocking over one domino leading to the others being knocked over one by one by one. The only alternative is civil disobedience to FORCE change because we make the lives of the majority who hold Power too uncomfortable not to].

Sure, I'd like my rights dipped in dark chocolate, rolled in pecans, and served to me by a naked, priapismic Clive Owen on a 24-carat gold platter. Ain't gonna happen.

this question of citizenship that is constantly evoked by the gay marriage campaign is disconcerting neo-nationalism. it assumes that citizenship is a goal we should be striving for in the first place...

my queerness has given me the opportunity/lens to question the role of the nation state as a legitimate body that legislates and controls my body (and others!). why aspire to be a citizen, second class or privileged class, of a nation state that is built on and continues to build its empire on genocide, racism, heterosexism, rape, starvation, and the implementation of plutocratic corporate regime under the guise of liberal 'democracies'?

i certainly don't want to be associated with people that carry out that kind of behavior/logic in my name, why would i want to be associated with a nation-state that does the same?

really now? you need a homophobic, racist, misogynist, homicidal manic hell bent on world domination to sanctify your relationship status and give you "FULL" citizenship?

this kind of logic fails to look at the bigger picture. and might i remind you of your words, reality sucks. so look at things the way they actually work on the micro and macro levels and perhaps one can then see the reality of the institution of marriage is that it sucks just as much.

so... in conclusion, lets stop begging to be included in "sucky" marriage, and start real conversations about how queer and trans folks can make sure we all get access to critical services/rights like health care, even if that means shifting paradigms and building new, more just, institutions.

come on now? why settle for straight peoples' sloppy seconds? we can do better than that...?!

Like I have said numerous times on this website.
my Partner and I were subjected to hate and
harassment. We tried legal means for our protection.
The court system did not side with us. Based on our
own personal experience, I feel members of the
LGBT community are second class citizens. I honestly
believe in many cases until the LBGT individual is
seriously harmed or killed will anything be done.
We need our rights now.

It's interesting that no one has really directly answered Ryan's question, or really addressed the issues raised therein.

@ yasmin

i think the simple answer is that gay marriage does not mitigate anti-queer and anti-trans violence in any way.

and for those of us up here in rural maine, the gay marriage campaign is largely responsible for drumming up the surge in anti-queer violence in recent months.

go figure.

It’s not accurate to say that I “despair” about gay marriage and therefore think the way I do. I ardently believe we will have legalized marriage within the decade. And that will be a wonderful, and well fought, legal and moral victory. In the pause after Maine I spoke against the LBGT movement making itself a single-issue struggle. This is not politically healthy.
As a longtime student of many social change struggles, I have seen that whenever a “movement” -emphasis on the moving part of MOVEment— becomes solely about one issue all the other branches of our tree begin to wither and die. In a country in which L,B,G, and T folk are murdered weekly, time and money need to be spent on protecting ourselves, our jobs, our friends, our lives. It is time to focus on ENDA, gender and queer liberties, and the red States where our tribespeople have to fight for their lives.

Jeanne, thanks so much for the clarification. I wholeheartedly agree with you that the movement must work on multiple fronts. As a resident of a bright red state (Kansas), I certainly know what you're talking about when it comes to the need to focus on ENDA, gender and queer liberties. But I also think that we hurt ourselves if we back away from the issue of marriage equality.

In the red states, in particular, the marriage tsunami hit us and not vice versa. What I mean is that, at least in Kansas, we never intended to take on the issue of marriage. We were trying to work ourselves up to seeking protection against workplace discrimination when events in other states convinced a posse of far-right ministers to push a marriage ban onto the ballot. No surprise: We lost that fight, and lost badly, but we actually came out far stronger politically than we ever were before. And we ended up with more straight political allies than we ever had before. Heck, a unified statewide organization didn't even exist before we were forced to fight a battle we didn't want to face.

Determining what to fight when and where isn't easy. It's gut-wrenching awful to lose and lose and lose at the ballot box, and yet in many ways I think the fight over marriage has made us stronger. It's certainly forcing wide swaths of voters to look at us in a different way and to consider that we are equal human beings.

Once again, thanks for your comments.

Can I hear an Amen! Go to signforequality.com. We are fighting the hell back!

gay marriage is the Oscar and we SHOULD put all our resources into it. If you look at the momentum worldwide, America is starting to look a lot like afghanistan. We CAN get this and WILL get it. All the other measures we need to pass will as soon as we get the "Big Fish" that is gay marriage. forgive the pun.

Here's my blog on the progress to date, with a worldwide perspective.

http://ericinmiami.blogspot.com/

Alex Grigny Alex Grigny | January 19, 2010 6:09 PM

When I came out at 26 in 1975, I opposed marriage, whether straight or gay, on grounds that we need not copy or adopt heteronormist values and institutions of the past, we needed to create our own values.

The turning point for me came when I realised a few years ago, after the Netherlands accepted and legalised marriage equality, that equality in treatment was essential to our struggle. Hate armies and wars or marriage bonds, but all people should be able to join in or not, without discrimination. It's not about whether you agree with marriage or militarism, it's about equal opportunity to make your own decisions and rule your own life and being treated equaly without prejudiced interference and censorship due to who you are or are perceived to be.

And that is for me a basic principle in my personal struggle. Marriage equality is essential for us (unless marriage gets abolished for all, hehe), so are repealing DADT and DOMA and passing ENDA in the USA. They are all part of the same bitter struggle for equality. And all battles and fronts are important.

I fail to see how if this country actually claims the right of freedom to each person, and if marriage is a government administer contract how they can deny anyone from marriage to any other person regardless of sex. Either rights are equal for everyone or you do not really have equal rights as I see it but I guess I am simple minded. I do not see how a law forbidding same sex marriage is legal, end of story in my mind. However I am not one of those judges who decides such things.

SkepticalCidada | February 3, 2010 7:13 PM

What I take away from Maine is a lesson that falls between the two sides. In a number of places, we could be moving forward on comprehensive civil unions, as in Washington State, but can't realistically achieve marriage for, probably, years to come. In those places--Maryland, Illinois, etc.--could move forward to California's everything-but-the-name position with relative ease, as an interim measure. People somehow have convinced themselves that civil unions are a dead end, but in Vermont, Connecticut, New Hampshire, D.C., they weren't dead ends. They softened the opposition to marriage equality and, after a few years, we were able to pass marriage bills in those places. But if you mention trying to get civil unions as an interim measure, too many activists scream "segregation" and won't listen to any strategy that includes them. A readily achievable goal, however, is--within just a few years--being able to say that half the states have marriage or civil unions. (We're currently at 10 states on that measure.) Plus, with five states already having same-sex marriage, the fear is now greatly reduced that the community will get "stuck" at civil unions for decades.

Well, Im getting old and too tired to fight the religious nuts in the US. As soon as I get my pension, I'm outta here to a country where my Canadian marriage is recognized and honored. To hell with the Mormons, Baptists and Catholics (especially those on the Supreme Court). Eight more years in this backwater of western civilization and I'm done.

"gay marriage is the Oscar and we SHOULD put all our resources into it. If you look at the momentum worldwide, America is starting to look a lot like afghanistan. We CAN get this and WILL get it. All the other measures we need to pass will as soon as we get the "Big Fish" that is gay marriage. forgive the pun."

I totally agree with this post!

Why are there only two options here? I'm not a "predatory sex addict" but I'm also not " regular folk," thankfully, and my relation to family is different than most straight people's . I'm not looking for a relationship and family structure that mimics theirs. I think by focusing so exclusively on marriage equality, we risk losing sight of who many of us we really are, and what we uniquely bring to our world(s). I'm more interested in creating a world where children whose sexuality or gender is different grow up loved and accepted as the beautiful unique flowers they are right in their own communities, regardless of whether they go on to replicate the social forms of those communities; where their unique contribution to the social texture of their world, the category-crossing identities and allegiances they create, the inherent challenges to norms that they embody, are appreciated and celebrated as gifts to their worlds.

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