Why should I care?

Just to preface, I’m not picking on anyone – this is a post I’ve been meaning to make for quite some time.

I’ve heard a couple of times, “Why should I care if I can’t marry my same-sex partner?” Well, in 1996, following the passage of the inanely-titled Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), Rep. Henry Hyde requested that the General Accounting Office prepare a report to determine the federal laws that are affected by the legislation – that is, those which are triggered by “marriage” or relating to a “spouse”. The result is a collection of 1,049 federal laws classified to the United States Code in which marital status is a factor in thirteen categories.

Here is a summary of the report. It’s a lot of material, but even if you just skim it you start to get a feeling for what’s at stake. Plus, you’ll have a little ammunition the next time someone asks you why they should care about same-sex marriage. For my part, I don’t care if it’s called marriage, civil unions, or purple tomatoes. I do care that whatever arrangement is arrived at is equal and identical to the benefits conferred by heterosexual marriage. It’s going to be a hard road to get there, but I believe that this is an achievable goal, one that we will see in my lifetime.

9 thoughts on “Why should I care?

  1. mindslide

    I’m in complete agreement on this issue, though I thank you for the link to that report — I’ll pass it off to my mother. And her partner.

  2. pogo101

    I continue to believe that the government should get out of the marriage-recognizing business altogether. No marriage penalties … but then, no marriage boons, either. “Marriage” would be a matter of private contract, including the right to grant to one’s spouse(s!) a Power Of Attorney and the right to hospital visiting privileges, etc.
    Yes, failing the foregoing, I agree that there isn’t much (legally-cognizable) basis for restricting marriage to opposite-sex partners. If the government gives married people goodies, it has to have a very good reason for its definition OF “marriage.”
    One problem I see is this. Polygamists may now say (and some already are) that it is religious discrimination not to recognize polygamous marriages, just as it is gender discrimination not to recognize same-sex ones. (And I think they have a point … but, bear in mind, under my libertarian approach, they could “contract” to be married to as many adult people as wished to reciprocate. And I wouldn’t care, particularly, because in that Utopia, my government wouldn’t be giving them any greater benefits as a result of their burgeoning “marriage.”)

    1. berin

      The World is Ending!!
      (Okay… it’s a bad joke, but I find myself in agreement with a known conservative. The world *must* be ending!)
      The term “Marriage” is a religious one, and implies a blanket of assumptions. The state has no business in promoting nor recognizing it simply in terms of seperation of Church and State.
      As for polygamy… I don’t see any reason why it shouldn’t be legal, even if the State would then be obligated to extend certain protections to assure that all parties consent to the agreement.

  3. aerofox

    Loriana and I have been talking about the idea of
    “marriage” off and on for a while.
    Basically, the state of Ohio won’t recognize her as
    female because her birth certificate says “male”
    We had an idea of just changing her last name to
    match mine and just let people “assume” we are
    married….though, I don’t know what can of worms
    we would be opening by doing that.

    1. otterdaemmerung

      Re: What’s in a name?
      Actually, I don’t think any worms would be threatening your vicinity. Cases in point:
      1) If a Miss Doe marries a Mr. Smith, she can choose to be recognized as Mrs. Smith, Ms. Doe, or Ms. Doe-Smith–all without any legal change to her birth name of Doe. Using the name makes it legal, and the more you use it the more legal it becomes because it’s substantiated in more than one place. Of course, many applications will ask you if you are or have ever been known by any other name, and being known by a different last name isn’t seen as a big deal in our society.
      2) My given name is Terry Christian. As you probably know after years of being acquainted with me at MFM, I’m gay, and Miaghi is my partner/”husband” of nearly 11 years now. His last name is Jennings, and so early on in our relationship I made the bold decision to be known in many arenas as Terry Christian-Jennings. I didn’t want to be just Terry Jennings because I’m male and thus have my own family heritage to exemplify, so hyphenating it seemed the best option. Although I’m simply Christian legally and with my job, I’m Christian-Jennings on my library card, on my voter registration, on my bank accounts, and every other quasi-legal sense. I haven’t given up any part of my birth name, either, so that makes it even easier to defend.
      Hope that gives you two some helpful ideas! 🙂
      – Ot-Tor

  4. animist

    Dude, you rock! Great post, and timely too. I’ve been quite surprised that so many Gay guys I’m friends with think of marriage as a cop-out, a kind of acting straight. I hope your post is read by by those guys, and they think some about this issue.
    — Bob

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