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Reply #28: Used to agree, but have changed my mind lately. [View All]

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Plaid Adder Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-07-03 09:03 PM
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28. Used to agree, but have changed my mind lately.
I put up a real long post about this whole thing a couple days ago whcih you can still see on the livejournal:

I never thought that the word "wife" would be anything but a joke for us, but after we did the ring exchange it really took on a totally different meaning for us. We don't refer to each other that way in public, but we do use it in private, and it does mean something different to us than "partner." This may have to do with our being women; I don't know. Your mileage may vary.

For almost 15 years we've done without same-sex marriage and we've been all right. But it is a serious problem that our relationship has no legal weight, and that will only get worse. Where I differ with you about this is that I don't think Bush can push through an amendment or federal law "codifying marriage" without also legally confirming our second-class status. It just seems very unlikely to me that we would end up with two different institutions, one for heterosexual couples and one for homosexual couples, that are legally equivalent but denoted by different terms. We will end up either with only heterosexual unions recognized, or a two-tier system with us on the bottom. Separate but equal has already been tried, and failed.

Marriage is a complex institution and American attitudes about it are wildly incoherent. The rash of "reality" shows in which contestants get legally hitched for the good of the ratings is proof of that much. Our country is based on the idea of separation of church and state (at least it used to be) but in reality marriage has, for most people, always combined the two. The churches insist that marriage is a spiritual institution over whcih they should have jurisdiction; but all the same, no established church would be happy with a proposal that tried to solve this issue by separating religious marriage from legal marriage.

Because that really would be the fair and easy way to do it: give marriage to the churches, and let them decide who can get married, while embodying the legal rights that are normally invested in marriage in civil union, which would be available to any couple willing and able to meet the legal requirements. Under that system, married couples would be spiritually united but have no more *legal* rights than unmarried ones, while anyone in a civil union would be on the same legal footing whether they had been married or not.

That will never happen, however; and it will never happen because it would significantly weaken the power of organized religion in this country. That's what this issue is really about. The religious right will never be satisfied with a monopoly on the moral high ground if it means the legal ground is being cut from under their feet. What they're fighting is not just homosexuality; it's the attempt to weaken their control over this very potent legal institution.

C ya,

The Plaid Adder
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