Monday, August 9, 2010

equality & relationships

Over the last week or so I've been thinking about equality and relationships. First is started off with thoughts about equality for relationships, in light of all this Proposition 8 nonsense (I say nonsense as in such a proposition was even passed), and then due to some events over the weekend, both in the lives of friends as well as my personal life, I started thinking about equality within relationships. But I'll tackle these thoughts one at a time.

Equality for Relationships

For those of you that have either a) been living under a rock or b) are non-Americans and rightly so don't follow every news shenanigan of ours (a lot of it is true shenanigans, or just mere depressing), the citizens of California, or at least 52% of the voting population in California, elected to pass Prop 8. I'll let Wikipedia sum it up for me nicely:

Proposition 8 (or the California Marriage Protection Act) was a ballot proposition and constitutional amendment passed in the November 2008, state elections. The measure added a new provision, Section 7.5 of the Declaration of Rights, to the California Constitution, which provides that "only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California."

The 'marriage protection' act? Oh barf. What are we protecting marriage from? Couples who love each other and want to get married? Oh the atrocity, the horror, the... absolute ridiculousness. Probably the only thing they could rightly be protected from would be America's 50% divorce rate. But that's another story.

Anyway, last week Prop 8 after a few different debacles was brought up to District Court in which it was found to be unconstitutional under the 14th Amendment of the Constitution, which states in part that the government must respect all legal rights due to each of us according to the law and also, under equal protection, that no state can deny any person equal protection due to them under the law. Yeah, remember that part of Government 101 where we heard somewhere about how 'all men are created equal'? Right. Here's looking at you.

So anyway, Prop 8 has been overturned in District Court, which is a victory but really just one step in the right direction - ultimately it is predicted that this case will rise to the Supreme Court, and it is also expected that the Supreme Court will hear the case. Whatever they decide, it will be a landmark decision (think Roe v. Wade, Brown v. the Board of Education, you get the idea).

My favorite part of all this is listening to the arguments against gay marriage. One argument I heard was that it affects the sanctity of marriage. First, I'd like to reference back to the 50% divorce rate. Just saying. Second, how does anyone else's marriage affect your marriage? Maybe if everyone started paying more attention to their own marriages, we wouldn't have such a high divorce rate.

Second, there's the argument about what religion says marriage is, and so maybe it's okay to call gay marriage a 'civil union' but not marriage, oh no, heaven forbid we let them call it marriage. But remember that other part of the Constitution that says something about the separation of church and state? It really was more than a tiny detail. It was kind of a big part.

For conservatives to argue that marriage is a protected act of God - what about all those marriages born by atheists, or agnostics, or any other religion that doesn't recognize the same God? We obviously don't all believe the same thing, but we wouldn't find it acceptable to stick our nose in those marriages or make them be called 'civil unions' - well unless they were also of the same sex.

However, my favorite argument is the one that says, 'how will this affect the children of gays and lesbians'? There is no research (or any research that could hold its water, anyway) that suggests children fare worse, or are at a disadvantage, by being raised by a gay or lesbian couple. Have any of these Prop 8 supporters bothered asking the child of a gay or lesbian couple how they feel about their parents being allowed to marry?

Well no one has asked me. I was raised lovingly, happily, superbly, by two lesbians. I was given so much love, support, encouragement, even the discipline and structure I needed to excel in school and life in general. So please, Prop 8 supports, don't you dare speak on my behalf. I'll be the first one to stand up at the wedding of my parents, or my gay and lesbian friends' weddings, and declare my support.

Lastly, for those Prop 8 supports, did you go knocking on anyone's door and ask permission to marry your spouse? No. So don't ask it of others, just mind your own damn business and let equality exist for all couples.


  1. Misha, this is fantastic essay! I find it so disturbing that people expend SO much energy fighting gay marriage, when it doesn't affect them AT ALL. Imagine if those people put the same energy into trying to improve education or help the poor?
    My favorite argument is also the "sanctity of marriage" angle. If they're so concerned about sanctity, why don't we do something about all those crappy reality shows that offer marriage as a prize? "Don't worry bachelor, you can always get a divorce." The fact that people don't take heterosexual marriage seriously is a greater threat to "sanctity" than any loving homosexual couple will ever be.

  2. Excellent article Misha! Thanks!