Wed Mar 27, 2013, 03:27 AM
BainsBane (28,802 posts)
A cynic's support of gay marriage.
Last edited Wed Mar 27, 2013, 02:04 PM - Edit history (1)
Many years ago, in the early 90s, I was a bridesmaid in a wedding between one of my best friends and her female partner. The bridesmaids wore ugly kelly green dresses, but we didn't have to spend much because we found them at thrift stores. This was in Texas, and obviously gay marriage wasn't legal. Unfortunately, my dear friend's marriage broke up after a few years, not unlike my own--which being a heterosexual marriage, was legal. I admit to feeling a bit of jealously that she was able to extricate herself from the union without the legal bullshit I had to endure: a bank account that I was not able to access without my ex's signature, but from which he was able to remove my name and clean out without my permission, followed by the legal hassle of divorce. Then there was the endless rigmarole involve in getting back my maiden name, when changing it in the first place through marriage couldn't have been easier. My friend had to deal with none of this. She packed up her stuff and left. But then, as we well know, she didn't have any of the benefits either. Had they had children, only one could have had legal custody. She couldn't include her wife on her health insurance policy, and if she had become ill, she would have faced a world of obstacles.
Marriage is a series of benefits and obligations. It's also a legal relationship meant to endure, to bind a couple to each other for perpetuity, or until the courts set you free. Moral justice requies that my gay friends have access to the full range of those rights and obligations, including the legal hassles that result when the union breaks apart. Gay people deserve the same legal rights afforded to straight couples, while cynical straight people like me--I'm somewhat ashamed to admit--want them to have the same range of hassles we have to go through when those unions result in divorce. Marriage, as the Supreme Court has held many times, is a fundamental right. It can also be a pain in the ass. Gay people deserve the rights to experience the entirety of that experience: the joy, legal standing and protection, and heartache and legal hassles that come from divorce.
My friend is now happily remarried, but her union again lacks legal sanction. Her second wife seems a much better match, and I expect they will live the rest of their lives together. They deserve to have that union fully recognized by law, so that as they grow old they have the full range of rights and responsibilities straight couples both enjoy and, in some circumstances, dread. Romantic or cynic, I think we can all agree that gay marriage is just marriage and should be recognized as such under the law, for all the good and bad that entails.
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