Separate still not equal: Why gays need to call it marriage

Hey, AN, here's a post I wrote yesterday at Good Reason News. Please feel free to visit me there and leave comments, if'n that's what you're into.

I've laid out my argument for gay marriage several times before, but to succinctly review what I've said, I maintain that since homosexuality is not a mental disorder, that when it takes place between two human adults, they are both in the position to provide sound consent. And that since nearly all our laws concerning sex involve sound consent (and are designed to protect those who are unable to provide it), a ban on gay marriage can not be logically defended.

It, of course, is religiously defended - to which any reasonable person would reply that religion does not and should not play a role in our government.

Now, it takes a lot of discussion to bring the Christian conservative to understand that they're logically cornered on this, but once they do, they often use the last little projectile in their pathetic arsenal — civil unions.

Today the governor of Rhode Island vetoed a bill that would allow domestic partners the right to organ... Now look, I understand that domestic partnerships are not civil unions. That's exactly my point. Less rights are afforded to those in domestic partnerships than are to those in civil unions just as less rights are afforded to those in civil unions than are to those married.

Conservatives ask me if I'd be happy if 'civil unions' were legally identical to marriage, if I'd be happy.

They can't, and they never will be because with the different title comes a different set of legislation. Would African-Americans in the 1940s and 50s been happy if their children's schools were segregated, but equal?

This case in Rhode Island proves that different classifications result in different treatment and eventually different institutions. Separate is never equal.

Nobody's looking to change your precious churches or force kids to try being gay, it's rights like funeral arrangements that need to be afforded these people.

Since this different classification forever puts upon the 'civilly united' the threat of unequal treatment, I couldn't really back it and so no, I wouldn't be happy with that.

By calling it something else, even if it started out exactly equal, it's leaving open the loophole that one day the country will sway right and the powers that be will bestow some benefit to one and not the other, probably in an attempt to shore up their base (just like this Rhode Island case).

That's what I mean when I say separate is not equal.

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Comment by Billy Deaton on November 13, 2009 at 5:55pm

I don't realistically think that the U.S. is going to declare every secular marriage suddenly a 'civil union' just to appease less than 10% of the population. That's an example of when gay marriage, WOULD affect straight marriage.

If your ideal is that marriage ought not be a legal term that comes with certain benefits, that's fine, but I have to deal in reality. You can deal in ideals and we'll see which of us has more success.

Marriage isn't necessarily a religious term, and the history of the concept is so long and varied, it's kind of useless to look at its history. Not to mention that the history of it shouldn't really matter to forward looking people.
Comment by Johnny on November 13, 2009 at 2:17pm
Um... well... I don't completely agree.

Marriage is, however you twist it, a religious term. It is intended to be holy matrimony.

If anything should be changed to aviod discrimination, I think the term "marriage" should be changed to "legal or civil union."

Why don't we just de-holy marriage? Wouldn't that solve the problem with bigots saying gay marriage is ungodly? I don't think that a heavy religiously biased word "marriage" should have association with tax rights (and other benifits of marriage) in a freedom of religion government anyway.



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