Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Gay Marriage? - Whatever ...

I don't care much about the gay marriage activism, so the drama playing out in California kinda bores me to death. It's essentially a conservative agenda as most feminists have long realized. I also don't care much about the internal US politics on that issue as the country is stuffed so substantially that a small 'victory' on a by and large unimportant civil rights issue should not divert attention from how bad things really are over there.

Just to be clear, gay people as much as anyone else are perfectly entitled to see their relationships legally recognized (ie visitation rights in hospitals, retirement planning, access to partner's medical plans and so on and so forth). This, however, doesn't seem to be the activists' issue as they have claimed in many countries that civil partnerships that guarantee to same-sex couples the same legal rights and protections as to married couples (except the word 'marriage' won't be used to described those relationships) are insufficient and hugely discriminatory.

Well, here's my main problem with this: In my little universe, marriage as an institution has been an overwhelming failure. Roughly every second marriage today ends up in the divorce courts, and there is an even larger number of people who would get divorced but stick together in unhappy marriages due to religious or other cultural pressures. - And that's just for straight folks. Now, explain to me, why do gay folks clamor so hard for the 'right' of access to the same flawed institution? We do not seem - well, most of us anyway - to be hardwired to sustain marriages as the life-time type institutions that they're supposed to be.

To my mind, the state should not be in the business of sanctioning marriages. Leave it to religious organizations as a special membership benefit. So, queer churches such as the MCC - ignoring anything the bible ever said about homosexuality - can then offer to their gay flock marriages at a discount.

Beats me though, why there is this hysteria about marriage...

2 comments:

  1. Well i fully understand and think you have a valid point. whether it is called marriage or partnership, as long as I am entitled to the same rights and benefits, its makes no significant difference to me.

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  2. I'm from Spain, and due to our legal system (which is not Anglosaxon but a civil-code based legal system like the French one), there is no way to ensure gay couples the same rights as heterosexual couples unless they are considered marriage (i mean civil marriage not religious marriage).

    In fact in continental Europe civil marriage is nothing more than a civil contract between two parties and is independent from religious marriage.

    In Spain gay unions were legal before the modification of the civil code allowing same-sex marriage was passed. But there was no way they could achieve the same rights as heterosexual marriages, since they were not recognized by the constitution neither the civil code, and that meant that if gay couples were to have the same rights the parliament should have changed hundreds of laws (not only the constitution which is extremelly difficult to change in many european countries, but also all the laws related to social security, insurances, family law, inheritances...).

    So, in Spain (as well as Netherlands, Sweden, Belgium and Norway, who have recognized same-sex marriages) the "name" is very important: anything outside civil marriage can't have the same rights as civil marriages.

    Anyway, ignoring if the marriage status in California or other US states is as important as in western europe in order to inherit or achieve social rights, another question that comes to my mind is: why should be CIVIL marriages only male-female? CIVIL marriage laws should adapt to the social reality and not the other way round.

    I don't expect religious "laws" to change since religions pretend they are "eternal" but civil laws in democratic countries do change together with society's demands: that's why the definition of CIVIL marriage changes with society. Not much time ago interracial civil marriages were banned in the US by law!

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