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Paul Crowley

Heh, finally something on which we disagree! I agree that gay marriage is progress, but when did marriage stop being a tool of the patriarchy? I mean that in both the literal sense and the "when did we stop considering it so" sense.

I don't think the State has any business setting out rules about what sort of relationships it plans to recognise, and I think it does so for wholly bad reasons. I'm sorry that so many people seek the State's approval; I think it sends a message that its judgement in these matters is valuable. I'd like to see it get out of that business altogether and abolish the distinction in law so it doesn't have to care. Then we can have gay marriages, poly marriages, "marriages" for sex that last an hour (which some of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence already have specific ceremonies for) or what have you, and no-one has to campaign for it - they just have to do it.

You can call this privatising marriage or abolishing it, whichever makes the best/most outrageous slogan...


Well, this married (to an opposite sex partner), straight (mostly), long-time polyamorist sends you and Ingrid her most heartfelt congratulations! If nothing else, I would hope that poly people would see gay marriage as an obvious step on the way to opening up the whole institution of marriage to new forms of family. This is not a zero sum game.

Greta Christina

Paul: I've seen the "there should just be no such thing as marriage, the state shouldn't be involved in people's relationships" argument before. And here's my argument against it. (Apart from, "it's never, ever going to happen.")

Without marriage, the only legally recognized relationships we would have would be those of (a) blood family and (b) business contracts. And I don't want that. I want it recognized, not just by society but by the law, that Ingrid and I are family -- every bit as much family as our blood relatives, and in fact more so.

Without marriage (or something like it, like civil unions or domestic partnerships, which by your argument I assume you're also opposed to), the single most important relationship in my life would have no legal recognition whatsoever. Inheritance, hospital visitation, custody (a moot point for us, but not for a lot of couples), power of attorney if one of us becomes incapacitated, etc. etc. etc.... all of that would automatically fall to my father and brother. And while I am reasonably fond of my father and brother, with all due respect to them, I do NOT want that stuff going to them. I want it going to Ingrid.

Without marriage, or some form of legal recognition of romantic relationships, there is no way for that to happen. There is no way for us to have family that we choose -- just the families we're born with.

And with all due respect, the "marriage is a tool of the patriarchy" argument is more than a bit oversimplified. That's one of the points I made in my pieces How Gay Marriage Is Destroying Normal Marriage -- No, Really and I Do -- And Why. Marriage is an incredibly ancient and complex human activity, and while "tool of the patriarchy" is one aspect of its history, it is only one aspect.

To quote myself, "The history of marriage, and its growth away from ownership and towards equal partnership, is the history of the human race’s maturation. Participating in it means participating, not just in the history and the ritual, but in its growth and change."

And same-sex marriage is, IMO, a huge part of that process of change.

Now, what I *would* like to see is a change in the law that makes it easier for people to designate their chosen family... other than just in marriage. (To some extent we can do that now -- you can give your friends power of attorney, etc. -- but it's very piecemeal, and it's easily trumped by blood relatives if they want to be assholes about it.)

I'm all for expanding our definitions of "family." But removing the legal status of marriage doesn't accomplish that. In fact, it's a step backwards from it. It wouldn't expand how we define family -- it would narrow it even further.

The Nerd

How many times are they going to marry and un-marry the people of California? When will the madness end? It's about time we all realized what needs to be done: marriage for everybody in the nation, or nobody. Anything else is discrimination.


Did I mention I love you? I just sent everyone, even my wife, an email announcing this deadline and asking them to donate. She told me not to spend money this week, but I did. Thanks for the head's up!

(pun intended...)


Greta Christina, you hit the nail on the head. Great essay.

It is huge.


This is almost a year late, but...

What I found interesting is the number of gay couples who traveled to California from out of state during the time that gay marriage was legal there in order to get married, knowing full well that it wouldn't matter once they returned to their solidly non-gay-marriage-friendly state. (In this case it's Ohio, whose voters pushed the marriage-is-between-one-man-and-one-woman clause into its constitution a while back with much less overall notice from the rest of the nation. Maybe because it was a red state for so long?)

The reasons for this are likely the ones you already talked about in your other post about marriage. Part of me, however, thinks, if a couple is going to go to all that trouble anyway, why not move to the state in question and get the legal rights as well as the emotional impact?

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