Michelle Marzullo

Woman Auctions Her Right to Marry in NY

Filed By Michelle Marzullo | December 08, 2009 6:30 PM | comments

Filed in: Marriage Equality, Media, Politics
Tags: 14th Amendment, eBay, Jamie Frevele, marriage, New York same-sex marriage, Point Foundation

In response to the recent denial of same-sex marriage to LGBT people in New York, Jamie Frevele is auctioning off her right to marry as a heterosexual woman on EBay. What do you think about this?


Here's her reasoning:

"New York State has voted down marriage equality. A lot of people just don't believe all adults should be allowed to get married, usually for religious reasons, which is silly because you need to obtain a license from the state to get married, and there's a separation of church and state in this country, so denying someone the right to get married based on their sexual orientation is actually against the Constitution. The 14th Amendment, actually: Section. 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

I'm an unmarried heterosexual woman, and since I probably won't be using my right to get married, I would like to give it away. I would like to sell it to the highest bidder and donate the proceeds to an organization that supports LGBT rights since the government designed to protect all of us is picking and choosing based on what they think is icky, weird, or unkown to them.

Bid now, and you can have my super wonderful privilege and legal ability to get married as many times as you want in a classy place like the one pictured. You don't have to know the person, you don't have to like them, you don't have to think through your decision to get married or anything - you can just do it! Because you can! Come on, it's cool to get married, and think of the pictures you'll have to show people of this person that they will definitely think is so wrong for you and probably is! But heavens to BETSY, do NOT marry someone of the same gender because that would be a mockery of the institution of marriage.

And if it doesn't work out, just get divorced. Half the cool people who get married do that anyway.

I will write you up a fancy, wonderful, articulate proclamation handing over my right to get married. I have no official documentation because this is something I was born with since I was born heterosexual. Unfortunately, this is only a symbolic gesture. However, since I'm picky and difficult, it's probably something that, if a physical object, would have been considered pristine and shiny after some dusting. Your bid, on the other hand, is real, and the donation you make to an organization that supports those who have been treated as second-class citizens will be well worth it."

Ms. Frevele will donate all proceeds to the Point Foundation, which is a scholarship fund providing financial support, mentoring, leadership training and hope to meritorious students who are marginalized due to sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.

(Full disclosure: I was one of those students supported by Point for my doctoral work--I couldn't have done it without them. The scholarship is incredible as it supports a student for up to five years, even if they switch schools.)

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It's odd. I find it confusing what she is actually doing. Her wording indicates that the winner will gain the right to marry, but that's obviously not the case. It's not clear, but she could be pledging not to get married in exchange for this donation.

In any case, donations are great but the real value of an act like this is publicity and that's where I wish it had been more.

Before I got under the jump, I was pondering, could the winner set up a loveless marriage with her along with contracts and pre-nups to gain access to some marital rights? Now that would be interesting. Could the winner get access to her health care? Or give her their health care in exchange for the money it costs for the winner to get healthcare for their spouse? Could the winner marry her and have her be the sole heir, with the contracted expectation she hand it over to the winner's partner? Or would she marry the winner's partner in order to get citizenship? The options go on and on. And any of those would be the kind of things that could make headlines.

Ha, Tobi, you almost took the words out of my mouth.

I'm tired of this hetero posturing in favour of gay marriage, which is really just about reiterating a system of privilege anyway. If straight men and women would really like to give up something of value, I have a suggestion: give me your health care. You know, the kind that, in many situations, only married people/domestic partners are allowed to have because they're so blessed to be in couples. Because, powers above forbid that single people, regardless of marital status, should be deemed worthy of health care. Which, unlike marriage, and here I end my sarcasm, is actually a basic human right.

Yet more silly posturing by another vacuous straight person who can't see the privilege for the meaningless gestures.

I fail to see how raising money for a scholarship organization in our community is a "meaningless gesture". I doubt that the young people who get money from Point -- often after being cut off by their families after coming out -- would find it meaningless.

I figure if she can turn her anger and frustration over marriage equality into actual dollars for a LGBT org that helps LGBT people, more power to her. I appreciate creative fund raising, especially with the economy being in the shit and donations to charities being down.

"If straight men and women would really like to give up something of value, I have a suggestion: give me your health care."

If a single straight person gives you their health care - it's got nothing to do with marriage. And she's single. But - if they can have that benefit due to access to a legal relationship you aren't permitted - that does have to do with marriage. Regardless of whether one supports universal health care.

I fail to see how a single straight person, who is not benefiting from a marriage privledge and doesn't intend to, effects your health care due to her status as a straight person.

What a bastard - trying to find a way to express solidarity with gay people and support one of our institutions.

Nice outreach there.

Wouldn't it be funny if, just after someone wins her right to marry, SHE MEETS THE MAN OF HER DREAMS???

And then she tries to marry him, but can't get a license because the county clerk kept a copy of this eBay page just in case she tried to back out of her arrangement.

On an unrelated note, I once knew a guy who tried to sell his virginity on eBay and got banned for life. I didn't know people were allowed to pull these sorts of stunts on that site.

It's because she's donating the money to charity that it's been left up.

There's also that the whole "selling virginity = arguably solicitation/prostitution" part to that other one which explains the difference even further

the_czarina the_czarina | December 9, 2009 2:38 PM

To Yasmin:

I'm a cis female straight ally who has dedicated a lot of energy and time (I don't have much money, but as much as I can give I do) to working for GLBTQ Equality; not just marriage.
I do this alongside GLBTQ people who don't seem to mind me at all - some who are good friends.

I also happen to consider myself a leftist activist; even a socialist, OMG! who is perfectly amenable to looking for ways to completely restructure our paternalistic crap capitalist system.
I'm in my late 50s, belonged to SDS as a college student at a time when, yes, the FBI kept stupid little files on SDS members, and have been around the block.
(Just establishing my street cred; and, no, I don't want a medal.)

I had no choice about my gender identity or sexual orientation as no one has; and I am powerfully aware it bestows automatic privilege under the F'ed-up system in which we live.
But it's really hard not to use the term WTF: as in WTF else may I do to help?
I'm open.
If I could share my health benefits I would; if opening a vein would help, I would.

Yeah, this gal seems self-important and cutesy, and she's all about the one-trick pony of marriage.
However, it sure appears that her heart is in the right place, the Fund that is the recipient of her stunt a qualty choice; and hopefully she's raising some awareness among the majority of straights who aren't cutthroat homo- & trans-phobic religious fanatics and/or real enemies.
...That lazy, insufficiently empathetic 'movable middle'.

In the insane society that we are stuck in at this moment - where it is Swiftian madness that I and they are permitted to vote on your rights, het support is needed.
Please don't mock the 'good guys'.