Drew Cordes

Me, my Tea Party friend, and gay marriage

Filed By Drew Cordes | November 15, 2010 7:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Living, Marriage Equality, Politics, The Movement
Tags: gay marriage, libertarian, Tea Party

I am close friends with a Tea Party-attending libertarian. (I'll pause to allow gasps of shock.)

teabag_used.jpgOur friendship is sustained by the usual things -- common interests and hobbies, sense of humor, etc. We're both passionate about current events and politics, though as you might expect, we often disagree on the latter.

I've never had an issue with those who believe in fiscal conservatism and small government. I understand the whys and wherefores of that. I even agree, as most people would, that the U.S. generally should try not to run the deficit sky-high when possible. It's the issues of "social conservatism" that often pull the anger and frustration out of me. Anti-immigration, anti-gay, anti-secular, anti-choice - the usual suspects of ignorance and fear.

I don't lump my Tea Partying friend "Ben" with their ilk, nor does he define himself as a social conservative. He opposes gay marriage, but not because he's ignorant or bigoted. He's neither. Like in many of our political conversations, I don't agree with him, but believe it or not, I understand his point of view.

Ben (whose pseudonym here is taken from one of his heroes, Ben Franklin) believes strongly in separation of church and state. So much so that he opposes all legally recognized marriages. If he was in charge, all marriages would be religious in nature and have no legal or civil impact whatsoever. If churches want to ban gay marriage, that's fine, because they're private entities.

Similar to the Boy Scouts' policy, it's unfortunate, and it's a policy one hopes they'll reconsider, but it's their decision. Gay, straight, bi or trans, if two people (or three, four or five as far as he's concerned) want their partnership legally recognized, then only civil unions will do.

This is a perspective I can understand, and even support. However, the point of disagreement between Ben and me is on the practical implications of this particular belief. I posed a hypothetical to him: If gay marriage was made a ballot issue in our state, how would he vote? He answered that he would vote against it, on the principles explained above. I found this somewhat surprising; and not-so-surprisingly the discussion that followed was a bit heated.

We both know he's not homophobic or a bigot, but regardless of the reasoning behind it, I insisted that voting against gay marriage is most certainly a bigoted act. He retorted that it wasn't, and that if a vote on all marriage came up he'd vote against that, too. But that issue had no plausible shot of arising anytime soon, I responded, whereas gay marriage is currently looming large in propositions and candidates' campaigns across the country. Ben did not see this as cause to alter his ethics, however.

What I think this comes down to is weighing the means and the ends, during which we confront the same unavoidable notion that divides our Congress and makes our country dysfunctional: compromise. From my perspective, the means are Ben's ideals. He means well (as we all do), but his inability to adapt the more unfeasible facets of his beliefs to more attainable current goals creates an end of supporting the continued injustice of bigotry. From his perspective, the means of stoically holding the line of his beliefs is the least he can do to contribute to the end of making the country the better place it should be - real separation of church and state, dispatching the two-party system, a simpler tax code, etc.

We both believe we're right, and both of us have merit. The question is how can we compromise so that LGBT people receive our deserved rights? I'd gladly vote to repeal all civil marriage and institute civil unions, but the chances of that movement taking hold are very slim at present. As I see it, that's really the only bargaining chip I can offer Ben on this issue. This undoubtedly smacks of one-sidedness to him. I know I wouldn't like to make a concession then never see the favor returned within my lifetime, but how else can we arrive at our shared goal of equality? Just like our Congress, there doesn't seem to be much of a chance to meet halfway.

While the paths of thought Ben and I traverse may be radically different and full of political landmines, we both arrive at the same location. Both us knowing this is what allows us to be friends while we (sometimes angrily) yell at one another "You're going the wrong way!"


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It seems his vote would be cast on the assumption that allowing same sex couples to get married would be an expansion of government regulation of religion, but I believe that's a false assumption based on the way the religious right has framed the debate.

It's framed as if the government currently does straight marriage and we're debating adding gay marriage to the mix. But think about it, the government will be regulating marriage the same way regardless. It's more a matter how fairly that existing legal institution is enforced.

I'd suggest asking Ben this question -- pick any government service you know he opposes, perhaps welfare. What if there was a vote on denying that service to all everyone of a particular social minority (people of color, women, LGBT folks, etc)? Would he vote yes, because it would be one step closer to making government smaller? Or would he vote no because of the reprehensible discriminatory impact -- the government service would still exist along with all it's administrative overhead, etc.

Because similarly, having a discriminatory system of legal marriage is not one step closer to no marriage.

In fact, considering the reason for that discrimination is based within certain religious doctrine and not others, it seems to me that a government system of equally available marriage is one step closer to an actual separation of church and state, whereas allowing a few churches dictate a discriminatory system of marriage for everyone is one step closer to theocracy.

No, marriage is not a religious institution, it is a secular one that was stolen by the Catholic Church during the dark ages. And even if you don't believe in marriage, what is the worse evil? Would he prefer the institution be used to foster inequality? His stance is either a bigoted stance or an ignorant stance.

He is neither a bigot nor ignorant. Quite the opposite. Trust me, I know him well. If you want to criticize him the worst you can say is that his decision is idealistic. With other contexts/issues, we admire people that stand by their ethics no matter what. That's what he's doing. You can argue that the reasoning behind an anti-gay vote doesn't matter -- the voting booth doesn't distinguish a bigot from a thoughtful person who can't bring himself to violate an unrelated personal ethos. But as I said, he's for equality. His methods just differ drastically from the norm. Accusing him of ignorance and bigotry only hurts and cheapens the discourse we people of different political beliefs should be having.

There's a difference between idealism and tunnel vision. He would be described as the latter.

Honestly, I've yet to be a self-defined libertarian whose definition of "liberty" wasn't completely defined by their own liberty and not their concerns for the genuine liberty of others. In other words, the concept of a genuine equality of supposed liberty isn't part of the equation.

He thinks that marriage is a religious institution, that is ignorant.

Just curious Drew, does BEN plan on marrying? Or is he going to continue his life with the thoughts he believes at this moment. BTW,how old is this gentleman? As we mature it is pretty amazing how we evolve.
It has become quite clear that "marriage" is not a religious institution, many times it is preformed in a glorious place of worship, the perfect backdrop for those photos we all appreciate in our latter days. Also, "straight marriage", tipping 50% in divorce rates, obviously needs attention, let alone "Repair". As long as murderers, rapists, physical abusers are straight and have "the right" to marry, it is well beyond my understanding why we are being treated as folks that are undeserving of basic Civil Rights.
As I believe most everyone believes (I HOPE) there needs to be a clearer realization of Church and State. If the religious organizations (Not for profit businesses) choose not to preform such services, that means less capital for them and perhaps they should be taxed as, personally, why should I pay property and school taxes while organizations under the law, such as Churches, do not have to. Imagine Schools, Colleges etc... not letting gays be schooled because of who they are. I know this was an off-shoot of the conversation, but everything - in America, usually does come down to money.
My partner (hate that) and I have been together for over 23 years. We look forward to New York extending marriage rights to us soon. If not, we have decided to go to MA and tie the knot. It's a bit disheartening knowing that NY recognizes gay marriages preformed in other states, but will not allow the union here. Kinda dumb, no?
Thank you for allowing me a response, I am quite curious if Ben plans on taking part of a union which he likes to use as an excuse. If we cannot get our Civil Rights passes by the Supreme Court, they certainly will not abolish the current term of Marriage to meet Ben's needs. The question to him should be "Under the current definition of Marriage, do you think all men and women should be able to marry if they are in love?" And if NO, then then he should come up with a better "excuse" than his take on marriage in general, which I might add is pointless. Much like the Tea Party and many of their actions. Okay, off the soap box. Have a great day.

True to form, Ben and one of his girlfriends (he's polyamorous) conducted a purely spiritual marriage ceremony, complete with rings. He did not get his union legally recognized because he doesn't believe in it.

Your friend's "ends justify the means" approach to civil liberty does possess a certain... idealistic purity. Idealistic purity and ends justifying means, especially when applied to restricting minorities' rights... certainly your friend can see the dangerous path he's on - one tread by people I doubt he would enjoy being compared to.

Furthermore, it is hamstrung by the fact that the means he supports, in this case, do nothing to advance him any closer to his desired end. Denying specific minorities the ability to make use of a certain government agency brings us no closer to abolishing that agency - does your friend sincerely believe that straight people will stop marrying if gay people cannot? That white people will stop marrying if black people cannot?

You say that you honestly believe he is neither ignorant nor bigoted, and not knowing him as you do, I will take your word on it. If he is indeed not ignorant, then certainly he must be aware that whether or not he considers himself bigoted, regardless of his personal feelings on equality, whatever his actual intent in doing so is... casting votes that enshrine bigotry in law makes him a participant in bigotry.

This reminds me of what I am going through with my nephew. He is not homophobic at all but a very passionate follower of Ron Paul. He is constantly linking to articles by Justin Raimondo for me to read. It has been kind of confusing for me because it is difficult to disagree with some views the libertarians espouse. What I find is that they are fairly inbred as far as ideology is concerned. They school each other and blindly follow a script that never deviates from a fanatical consistency that can only exist in an ideal form which revolves around private property and would have to rely on noblesse oblige in order to function fairly. It seems a socially Darwinistic political philosophy.

Marriage has a tradition associated with property ownership, defending the ownership and inheritance all bound together by traditions developed to determine paternity. Issues such as same sex marital relations and various problems resulting from inequality are easily sidestepped, I think, because what is tacitly factored into the libertarian ideology is that a weaker party will always be dependent on a party that is stronger. I don't think libertarianism is synonomous with egalitarianism, which I think in a real life scenario would make for a form of government that would be very feudalistic. I don't think feudalism has every been very egalitarian which would not bode well for things like marriage equality.

Think of the current bullying situation when there is no authority available or willing to intervene. That's what comes to my mind when I think of a world where a pure libertarian ideology dominated.

I was bullied, year after year, in school. I was mocked, beaten, poked with sticks to get another kid and me to fight each other.

Some of the teachers and administrators encouraged the bullying. It seems to me that more of them encouraged the bullying - perhaps because they saw me as weird and therefore troublesome - than discouraged this. A few of the teachers and administrators went so far as to bully me themselves.

I don't think the problem was too little authority. I think part of the problem came from conformism, and part from authoritarianism.

I've picked up on what Rand Paul has said a few times. He sounds like a used car salesman. I don't believe what the libertarians offer is freedom from authority. I think what those who are the driving force behind a faux populist movement hope to do, is create a vacuum to be filled by authority that won't be regulated by any kind of representative system of checks and balances.

Check what Justin Raimondo says. He doesn't even believe anyone has a right to be gay, never mind entertaining any kind of employment rights for transsexual, transgender or intersex people as if he would even accept that we exist. Then read the sexist things he has to say about lesbians, moving vans, turkey basters, promiscuity among gay men and try to square all that with what he has to say about sexual diversity.
http://takimag.com/article/gay_marriage_sucks/
Most of these people are too anal/compulsive about their ideology to be trusted. They don't even recognize how contradictory what they say and what their leaders propose is.

I should clarify what I said here:

He doesn't even believe anyone has a right to be gay

I should acknowledge that he doesn't believe the state should intervene in behaviors involving consenting adults. He rejects any notion of biological determinism, however. Paul Rand is on record as saying the Civil Rights Act should be repealed.

I don't think my remark in the blockquote above is entirely inaccurate because I think the right to be different comes into play and it involves naturally inherited non conformity. One does not have to be gay or lesbian to be perceived as gay or lesbian. There are many for whom biology plays a part in those perceptions. There are obvious racial differences which are certainly genetic. People's lives can be made intolerable. If people have no recourse in matters of discrimination they are not able to enjoy the same privileges others do. Marriage is a privilege that affords people certain opportunities and rights. As long as the institution is in place those privileges and rights should be available to everyone until the impact the institution has is examined in relationship to fairness to everyone.

I agree with libertarians that equal outcomes regarding a person's success is not an achievable or desirable goal. I do think, however, that people should have equal opportunities for success wherever it is possible. There are occasions where people's rights require the force of collective authority behind them. I remember Kennedy calling out the troops when James Meredith enrolled in Old Miss. Without that kind of government intervention black people would still be living in the dark ages, so would lgbtiq,etc. You'd have to be a total Polyanna to believe in some of the scenarios the libertarians are trying to sell people on.

Actually, Justin Raimondo _is_ gay. From Wikipedia:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Justin_Raimondo

"During the 1992, 1996, and 2000 presidential elections, Raimondo supported the campaigns of Pat Buchanan, both as a Republican and in the Reform Party. As he is openly gay, his support of the social conservative Buchanan attracted considerable attention."

I know Justin Raimondo is gay.

and this is how much sense he makes:

"The agenda Clinton & Clinton would impose on America — abortion on demand, a litmus test for the Supreme Court, homosexual rights, discrimination against religious schools, women in combat units — that's change, all right. But it is not the kind of change America needs. It is not the kind of change America wants. And it is not the kind of change we can abide in a nation we still call God's country.[17]"

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pat_Buchanan

Sorry, my vision of freedom is not quite the same as Scalia's, Roberts', Alito's and Thomas'.

Raimondo makes as much sense to me as Clarence Thomas.

What does libertarianism mean in the context of Pat Buchanan' "God's country".

I realized the other day that almost all of the friends I discuss politics with share similar lefty viewpoints. I commend you for talking with politics in a respectful way with someone who sees things differently.
Perhaps I have my own prejudices. I have a hard time with the libertarians. Like Gina said, when they talk about freedom, it is from a self-centered viewpoint. They like smaller government, and don't care that this means that many people no longer have the freedom to eat or to have a place to live. Eating and sleeping are important freedoms to have, along with health care. But somehow these don't seem to count for libertarians. They have a very narrow view of freedom --- if you have money, and you're white, you can do what you want. If you don't, you're screwed.

The US isn't the only country on the planet. Marriage is recognized internationally. In fact some faiths, like Buddhism, see marriage as civil not religious.

Libertarianism is just immature and idealistic and not reality based.

And anyway, liberals don't like to run a deficit either. We have a deficit because we've enacted liberal policies and the Bush Administration cut taxes without cutting spending. Indeed, the way conservatives strongarm us into giving up liberal policies is to cut taxes and thereby cut the funding.

Opposition to the right of same sex marriage is unadulterated bigotry, no matter how convoluted the justification.

At the same time, marriage, however much it's evolving, remains an archaic institution that oppresses women and children.

Companionship, romance and sexuality are not, in the end, confined to or even particularly enhanced by marriage. In the real world marriage is the pathway to institutionalized, lifetime wage slavery. Homes, picket fences and all the trimmings come with a 20-30 year mortgage.

The bitterness of divorce proceedings is the clearest indictment of the failure of marriage as a viable institution.

And, as always, religion, cultism, is the enemy. Religion is a form of institutionalized insanity composed of equal parts of greed, superstition and ignorance. It the modern form of the insanity of the Dark Ages. Religion is humankinds greatest tragedy.

Actually, marriage is pretty secular.

At the same time, marriage, however much it's evolving, remains an archaic institution that oppresses women and children.

It's either evolving or it's not. You can't say bother are happening. The answer is it's evolving, and that is reflected in court decisions affirming same-sex marriage. The basis of Judge Walker's ruling for instance, is based on the fact that our understanding of gender has changed and marriage is no longer based on gender roles.

I can only conclude that opposition to marriage from the left is based on an outdated understanding of civil marriage.

I don't see divorce as evidence of the failure of marriage. Rather it's evidence that marriage has evolved to be understood as not necessarily a lifelong thing.

"You can't say both are happening"

Sure I can.

Marriage is evolving and it's still an archaic institution that oppresses women and children. Same sex marriages appear to have many of the historic and institutional faults of hetero marriages and both are tied to promoting home sales and making priests fat and happy. I don't see much advantage in that. Personally I'm from the old school - shack up and when it's over smile a little, cry a little and always keep the puppy.

The bitterness of divorces is a clear sign that marriages don't work. Amicable divorces are a sign that the breakup is not hostile, and that marriages don't work.

Most of the left is not opposed to marriage in the sense of wanting to outlaw the institution except in the sense of criminalizing the participation of priests and other cult parasites in a civil arrangement. From what I've seen the left, like most people are watching and analyzing the mutations in partnering arrangements. I suspect that marriage will become an increasingly unattractive form of partnering.

"Personally I'm from the old school - shack up and when it's over smile a little, cry a little and always keep the puppy."

REALLY? We are all human and feel the same in regards to courtship and love.

Over the past 20-30 years Gays have moved forward toward being a natural part of society, which we have always been of course. The days of us "going against the norm" Specifically taunting society with outward displays of soft porn have been reduced considerably. Those Old School folks such as yourself must have never fallen in love or had that soul mate That you want to spend your entire life with. I feel badly for you

Your little quote is quite disturbing. The general gay populous does want a home, insurance, protection at hospitals, family and to be part of filing our 1040's as a family. Reactions such as your statement truly defeat and hurt us a a human race.

Remember "Key Parties" "Swingers", they're all still out there, just not as vocal as in the 60's and early 70's. C'mon Bill, it's the 21st Century for goodness sakes.

Is Ben married? Will he accept his social security check; his Medicare card? If his spouse dies will he accept his spousal social security benefits. If he was in the military would he want to talk about his wife or girlfriend with his friends? If his wife was not a citizen, would he expect her to be granted access to the U.S.? Will he accept the tax allowance for married couples and not pay inheritance tax on the value of 1/2 his own assets when his spouse dies?

If the answer to any of these questions is yes, then Ben is indeed not only ignorant and bigoted, but also a hypocrite. You disrespect yourself by calling him your friend.

I am a proud gay man and a Libertarian. Many of my gay friends are also Libertarians. We are all socially progressive and fiscally conservative. We all support marriage equality and ENDA. For those of us who support social progressiveness and fiscal conservatism, we simply cannot support any other Party.

I should submit a correction. I don't view marriage as a religious institution. I view it as a private matter between individuals(and/or god if thats your thing). Who you love is no business of the government. Gay, straight, polyamorous.... or even those single people among us not in a relationship(who pay a high tax burden).

All other issues can be addressed via civil contracts, wills and living wills.

Give me a line item to repeal state recognized "straight" marriage and you got my vote.

The government needs to stop grouping and categorizing us. That creates us vs them mentality. We are all individuals with different sexes/genders/orientations.. and last I checked there are many more then just 2 possibilities.
That is reality.

Marriage is a civil contract, your alternative to marriage is, wait for it, marriage.

Im sorry friend. You loose. Libertarians are a group of people who do not believe in compromise. AT ALL! Ever. They are as close to being true anarchists can be without violence.

Really they have some interesting ideas and compelling arguments, but they never honestly think things thru to their logical conclusion. Libertarians egnore the pervasive human weaknesses. Greed, lust for power, averis, deceite and laziness, etc.

The end results of any truely libertarian society would be very wealthy attorneys, bribed judges a poor populice, and a declining society ending in a violent world. There would be no orgaoinzation to stop the general deteriation.

I actually tend to agree with Ben - at least so far as marriage should be a religious ceremony only. Everyone should get a civil union from the govt.

But that's where we cross paths. It's okay to hold those beliefs, but voting against someone else's rights is just bigotry.

As long as heterosexuals have privilege, the argument of "lets desecularize all marriage" argument is really a red herring argument as an excuse to maintain the inequality and is a red herring in the strictest qualification for that fallacy.

The correct idea IMHO is to legalize fairly until (if ever) it's all de-legalized "fairly". Personally, I think child-raising is always deserving of tax credit. I think I almost don't care what it's called anymore as long as I get an equal tax benefit. But separate not equal is fraught with problems. (Rosa Parks anyone?)

As I heard a comedian put it once, that Gays should be allowed to marry. After all why shouldn't they suffer like everyone else does. Which really is kind of the point. In a country that claims equality how can marriage which is a Government regulated Contract be denied to someone regardless of sex?

"We are all human and feel the same in regards to courtship and love." Companionship, romance and sexuality are not, in the end, confined to or even particularly enhanced by marriage.

"Over the past 20-30 years Gays have moved forward toward being a natural part of society..." Untrammeled stepfordism.

I feel sorry for conformists who, because it's what they're told to think, accept the idea that marriage is the only proper form of partnering - it's not. That's christer drivel. Unfettered partnering, the criminalization of cult interference in civic institutions and laws to protect women and children are the beginning of an answer.

You can have all the contact you want with 'swingers' parties but I'm a gay Kinsey 6. I've never in my life gone to a swingers party but if that's what pulls your chain, by all means, indulge.

Finally, what on earth would make you assume that I don't know what century it is or that I haven't and don't have a robust emotional life. Maybe when you grow up you'll learn not to make so many revealing and disturbing assumptions or have so many bigoted ideas about people who have grown up.

If people want to go to swingers parties you say: "I've never in my life gone to a swingers party but if that's what pulls your chain, by all means, indulge."

Why look down on those for whom marriage "pulls their chain?" Surely, swinging can hold just as many pitfalls and dangers.

Except for the legal and financial benefits (which is what the gay marriage movement is mostly about, I think), I'm with you, Bill. I, personally, don't much see the need to get married. The tax break would be nice, but it's not a personal/spiritual need for me. But for others it is. Their preference may seem archaic, boring, overly safe and flawed, but we should be respectful of their individual view of happiness. Being an atheist, I find religion can be archaic, misinformed and even dangerous, but if I meet someone of a certain faith I'm not going to tell them their beliefs are stupid and worthless and that they're deluding themselves. As always in this realm, tolerance is the answer.

On another tangent: Dan Savage has some interesting points on which marriages are "failed" and which are "successful." Do we realize that for our culture a marriage is only a "success" if one partner dies? You can have an acrimonious, awful marriage for 40 years until one partner dies, and that goes in the books as a "successful" marriage. That's a bit fucked up if you ask me. Whose to say a 25-year, 10-year, or even 5-year marriage ending in divorce can't be a success? Were they happy together? Did the relationship just run its course? Was the parting amicable? I think we need to re-examine our notions of success and failure when it comes to marriage.

Drew, I don't 'look down' on people who want to get married. I support their right to do so while opposing the idea that marriage is good for most people or even a good social institution. It's not. A lot of the hoopla surrounding same sex marriages is just as hilarious as that accompanying hetero marriages.

Perhaps G. 'K' confuses 'swinging' with serial partnerships, a form of partnering that continues to make a lot of sense until we get the cure. What I mean by serial partnerships is easy in and easy out, always good advice. Perhaps 'K' means cruising, the term gay men use - swinging was for hets. I gleefully cruised and rutted two shifts a day in the alleys off Sunset and Melrose, in Griffith park and on Southern California beaches. (I worked for the railroad and slept at work).

I kept that up that exhausting schedule until the Advocate, then an LA paper, began to reprint material from the Gay Men's Health Crisis. I probably owe my life to those GMHC articles. Huge numbers of the people I once saw cruising I later saw emaciated and dying.

What I criticized in G. 'K's comments were his silly assumptions that marriage is the only answer and that people who are older than him are, of necessity, not as bright as he thinks he is. He'll get over that if he matures.

I feel sorry for conformists who, because it's what they're told to think, accept the idea that marriage is the only proper form of partnering - it's not. That's christer (?) drivel. Unfettered partnering, the criminalization of cult interference in civic institutions and laws to protect women and children are the beginning of an answer.

REALLY? Conformists? There is no conforming here, there is true love and sharing. Protection of US as a couple. Marriage is not there to just protect women and children. You obviously are pulling on perhaps your childhood memories?

If I were to reflect on my family and marriage, you bet I'd be running away from it as quick as I could. A little more information for you, sir, I was in a previous eight year relationship before my current 23 year relationship. There have been many ups & downs. My family is mostly dead and my partners family does not accept us. We've worked hard and have made quite a wonderful life for us now and when we retire. Why would be want to take any chance in losing our lifetimes work?

I am not as "young" as you presume my friend, and as far as you coming into the 21st Century, it's simply because you talk all that "OLD SCHOOL" homosexual bulls*&%.

The joining of two lives in the presence of family and friends is healthy. Being able to profess one's love outwardly and without criticism would be a wonderful thing.

@Drew - I am not too sure where you are coming from, especially looking at your picture and seeing that you are somewhat young. Shouldn't you be treated as an equal in the eyes of humanity? Whether or not you want to act on it.... at this time in your life, knowing that the option is always there for you. That is what we have fought for for years, in my case over 40 years. I don't know if we will ever see Federal acceptance of our Civil Rights, just waiting for NY to extend the right to have them preformed here. Our family can start somewhere besides a Law Office to make sure our rights are protected. That's not equal, not is it Civil!

Where did I say I shouldn't be treated as an equal? Where did I say I didn't want the option? I'll fight tooth and nail for gay marriage and all gay rights. I'm just not sure marriage is what I personally want to do. The point I was making was even if you oppose marriage for yourself personally, you can still advocate for the right and respect those that want to exercise it.

Conformity consists of promoting the idea that marriage is the only way to partner. That's stepfordism and not true.

Companionship, romance and sexuality are not, in the end, confined to or even particularly enhanced by marriage.

Sorry you never got a chance to figure that out.

VERY TRUE BILL

Any relationship is a commitment, and they are work, instead of hopping in and out of bed once bored, sometimes we all need grow up. You have to admit it would be nice not to die alone, simply because you had such a jaded look at marriage.

@Drew, my apologies, so much conversation, guess when I read your response that you agreed with Bill, I took it all the way back to the beginning. You have been very eloquent on your part. Funny how this conversation started about your friend and ended up on such a level of Gay Marriage, Civil Rights, and old gays jumping on the wagon that we are suppose to go "against" everything marriage stands for, "that's what being gay" always was. Of course that was long before AIDS, and long before we have been accepted to such a large degree. We don't have to Protest anymore. WE are realized.... isn't that nice. :o)

Please refrain from recommending your christo-Stepfordian views and I won't recommend that you adopt more advanced forms of relationships.

It's clear you're not ready mature enough for them.

And get a clue, please, it's not Gay Marriage, it's same sex marriage. And yes, that is politically correct. Gay marriage is the term that opponents of the right to same sex marriage use.

I want to know specifically which of the 1,138 Federal Benefits for Married Couples he would take away!!!

I can't speak for Ben here, but I've got a relatively similar perspective and I can say that I'd love to take away as many of those 1,138 Federal Benefits for Married Couples as possible -- and make them simply 1,138 Federal Benefits Accessible for Anyone.

How to do so should be applied on a case by case basis. Hospital visitation? Some family members are dangerous, stop letting them in automatically and denying everyone else. Try to institute In Case of Emergency cards with emergency contacts, those contacts can decide who else can and cannot visit an patient incapable of doing so themselves.

Healthcare? That's an easy one, end benefits given based on who you have sex with. Allow individuals to designate any one person to be on their benefits, perhaps more if they pay the whole premium. Eventually, universal health care can make it a moot point.

Welfare benefits? Put an end to marriage "bonuses" that cut individuals welfare benefits if they are single or get divorced. The practice has been well documented as a mechanism that discourages abuse survivors from leaving abusive partners.

Filing taxes? Why not be able to jointly file with anyone who you are financially entwined with? Shift tax incentives away from be married and apply them to taking care of dependents or partially supporting another person.

I could go on, but the point is that there is little or no need to reserve so many benefits for married people when unmarried people could benefit from them as well. We've got a whole system where married people get a piece of the pie and unmarried people don't. Instead of demanding same-sex couples to be allowed to participate in this discriminatory structure, why not dismantle the source of the discrimination. Let's begin with questioning why the US government reserves 1,138 benefits for married couples where most other governments only reserve a couple hundred.