Monday, July 6, 2009

Separate But Equal Marriage

I got into a debate on gay marriage with a gay friend of mine, and the "separate but equal" issue around civil unions vs marriage was raised. One man commented saying that civil unions are tantamount to the civil rights issue of separate but equal programs and facilities , and even suggested that we'd prefer the gay people to ride in the back of the bus. A bit of a stretch don't you think? So this raised the question of whether gay marriage is actually separate from heterosexual marriage. I say yes.

To me, if you cannot say "I now pronounce you husband and wife" at the end of the ceremony then it is not marriage. A marriage was designed to bring 2 individuals together, and at the end of the ceremony they are no longer those 2 individuals, but a husband and a wife. Two halves of the same whole. This is why I believe that a gay union, though it can have the same emotional commitment, the same love, and should have the same rights as a marriage, is not a marriage.

Try asking a gay couple which is the husband and which is the wife and see what kind of reaction you get. This is the reaction I got from the question, "I have never thought of an answer to that question and never will. It is offensive to even ask an ignorant question like that. In any relationship that I am in there are two men and we would both be a "husband." The terms husband and wife are strictly titles as they should be. This is setting the entire female movement back 40 years. What "role" would you define as a woman's role? Dishes? Laundry? At home in the kitchen with a baby on the hip? If you are talking about sexual roles we refer to that as top and bottom. However some people are adventurous and go both ways. Regardless of any of that information I am not going to be emasculated by some bullshit title that you want to try to slap on me or any other gay man." The fact that you would even have to ask that question makes it separate from a heterosexual marriage. And do you think if you asked a heterosexual couple that same question you'd get the same defensive answer? Nope. Therefore, it is different. It is not the same. And this is not about roles of women vs men, but the titles of the parties involved in a marriage.

The separate but equal stance on the racial issue was wrong because the blacks were no different from the whites. They weren't asking that anything be redefined to include them, but that they, as people, were already included. The gays on the other hand are asking for marriage to be re-defined. That alone makes the reference to the civil rights issue baseless and not just a little bit offensive. In things other than marriage, relating to discrimination due to their sexual orientation, I can see the reference. But not as far as marriage goes. Their unions are separate. They are incoherently different from a heterosexual union. Therefore a separate but equal benefit is the logical solution.

But that separate but equal is just not good enough. It's an all or nothing stance that many have taken. Instead of being happy with the legal rights for now and continuing to move forward, they won't accept the compromise and continue to push and push hard. And wasn't it Newton's Law of Physics that said that every action has an equal and opposite reaction? Which means that the harder they push, the more resistance they meet. And who is suffering due to this refusal to compromise? They are. By not accepting the legal rights compromise, they are losing out on the main point they wish to secure. Interesting approach to the problem.

And now I have been informed that I am still violating the rights of the gays by not supporting their right to define marriage how they want. So the argument has basically come down to the belief that they have a right to define marriage how they want, but I do not have that same right. Interesting stance. And any position I take against it is illogical, while the stance they take for it is logical. How can you have a debate with somebody who believes they are the only ones allowed to make the rules?


  1. Your way of thinking is totally effed up, why do you speak in such a condescending and righteous manner. This explains your spinster title,you should be grateful you are not gay because any real woman would not marry you, let alone a straight man.Enjoy the lonliness.

  2. Thank you, I will. It would have been nice though to show how my logic was effed up instead of just attacking me personally. But I guess a debate on logic was too much to ask. Although as I saw in an earlier discussion elsewhere that my logic is inherintly flawed since it comes to the worng conclusion.

  3. Spinster - I couldn't have said it better myself. Your logic is not effed up at all and I commend you for being able to have this type of discussion with your gay friends. Too many people aren't able to do that.

  4. Thanks. I'd been avoiding it like the plague because I have a lot of gay friends. My friend and I were having a pretty good debate but then he pulled in some other people. And of them is where I got the quote. That guy made an awful lot of assumptions about me based on my stance. I appreciate a supportive comment. Thanks again.

  5. again, Why do you spreak in such a condescending and righteous manner? your blogs are written as though you are assuming all of your readers need to be educated.

  6. I'm sorry you feel that way. It is not intended as condescention. And I don't assume my readers need to be educated, I assume they are educated.

  7. Hey Gal, I think you made good points and I'm sorry some of us gay folk are so vehement. It's a very sensitive subject in the way that our families are not given the same protections and recognition as our straight friends. We have to concoct complex legal wranglings to approximate what a marriage license accomplishes. Even then, those arrangements can be contested in court in the event of death of a partner. Perhaps, it would be better to move incrementally, time will only tell.

    In this country, Marriage is a civil right supported by the government with benefits/responsibilities that permeate throughout state and federal levels. I totally disagree with DOMA as well as the ban that states have instituted by popular vote. Civil rights should never be decided by "majority" rule. It should be done by the legislature process and be allowed to be challenged/affirmed by the legal process.

    I totally respect where you are coming from but politely disagree that we are asking to redefine marriage from our point of view. I do understand your viewpoint about marriage. Of course that's natural for you. I don't mean that in any way condescending. My opinion on the matter is Civil Unions for all and call it what you want in church or at home. That allows churches to still stay true to their doctrines and keep tax exempt status and provides the same legal protections for both hetero's and homo's alike. I wouldn't want to be married in a church that didn't recognize my union anyway.
    BTW - If we were married, we'd be husbands both.

    Keep up the great dialogue, even if we don't agree, we can still continue talking!

  8. Your idea to define them all as civil unions legally and leave the marriage definition to religious issues is a good one. As I stated above my objections have nothing to do with the rights, I agree that the unions should have the same rights, but the use of the word marriage. If they were all civil unions first and the religious name for it second, it would answer many of the concerns of the masses. Great idea!