One cheer for equal rights to marry

The right to be together legally
The right to be together legally
I have long been a proponent for the rights of any consenting adults to marry any other consenting adults.

I think my uncle would have lived longer had he been born in an era where being gay was not a crime. I think my aunt would have been happier had she and the woman she loved been able to be together as an acknowledged, legally accepted married couple.

And bluntly, I think that for any two people who make a lifetime commitment to each other, their rights to share benefits of Social Security*, Medicare/Medicaid*, inheritance, and to make end-of-life decisions to each other should never have been questioned.


I think government involvement in ‘legitimizing’ marriage at any level of government is bullshit. I think the right of any consenting adult to marry any other consenting adult (or any consenting adults to marry any other consenting adults) is and should be a matter of personal contract. And I think that neither local, nor state, nor national governments should have a say in it.

Marriage is a contract. State governments define who is a legal adult capable of entering into a contract. Once they have set that limit, their job (other than enforcing the terms of the contract in the case of disputes) should be done.

Legal adults of any sexual orientation should then be able to make their contracts with each other and live lives protected by the laws of their state.

We needed to get there, and we should have been there from the very beginning.

But having the Supreme Court do a legislative fandango with the Constitution to make this happen was not the right way to get there, and because of the squishiness of the decision, a lot of bad shit is likely to be the fallout of this one good thing.

* I think government entitlement programs are corrupt, and I think they should be eliminated—but while everyone who works is being taxed for them, everyone who receives them should be treated identically—and if there are specific benefits that are tied being married in the eyes of the government, those benefits should be available to all committed couples.

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19 responses to “One cheer for equal rights to marry”

  1. Grace V. Robinette Avatar
    Grace V. Robinette

    I grieved for Dulcie who was forced to sit in a distant room with her friends while my sister – her lover – lay dying. I had no control over the situation. Bully brother limited my access as well. He was a man, and considered women loving women to be unacceptable, which is why we’ve had so much trauma throughout the centuries.
    That said.
    Governmental departments determine what can and cannot happen with regards to anything that costs the Government money. Plus, I want to point out that when one person is admitted to Palliative Care, it currently is the rule that only families have access and control over decisions.
    Again, that said, I feel that every couple – heterosexual, homosexual, lesbian – who plan to marry should go through Couples Counseling first. Not everyone is as honest, forthright as they’d like us to believe, regardless of their orientation. Amazingrace

    1. Misty Avatar

      Here’s what I don’t understand: Why is it a bad thing to get married for reasons other than romantic love? It’s such a weird line in the sand to me.

  2. Irina Avatar

    If benefits is the only argument: well, then it can be ruled that one person can only share the benefits with one other person. I don’t see the problem.
    In all stable Triples I know, either all three are working and paying taxes and insurances or two are working, one stays at home with the kids. So there are actually two incomes/taxpayers/insured to share their income with the unpaid-by-outside-people hard work of the stay-at-home-parent, instead of one. (In our country married people used to pay less tax, but are now the same as before. Having kids lowers your taxrate, as does being a single parent, or being the sole person with an income in a marriage with at least one child.)

  3. JT Avatar

    Agree. Couple (and I think it should be limited to that, just for economic reasons–otherwise everyone who manages to land a govt job will suddenly have 15 spouses to share the benefits) identify themselves for benefits and that is called a civil union. Govt does not define “marriage”–churches or any other sort of association can do that for their members. We worry way too much about the labels we use, and too little about our behavior.

  4. Nissa Annakindt Avatar

    I am a lesbian. I don’t believe ‘marriage equality’ means that redefining marriage to include same-sex partnerships that cannot fulfill the purpose of marriage is a wise thing. You will not believe the level of vicious hatred and bullying that I receive on a daily basis from the #lovewins crowd. I guess civil rights don’t apply to people like me, and it’s not homophobic to attack a gay person who doesn’t toe the party line. Since gay people don’t have the right to dissent.

    1. Texanne Avatar

      Hi, Nissa–

      I’ve seen the #lovewins tweets, and I wonder what became of gracious winners. Shouldn’t winners be happy and eager to move forward? I’m so sorry that you’re experiencing such conflict when you ought to be feeling just plain happy. Try not to worry about it–you know how fast things blow over, given the 24 hour “news” cycle.

      And I agree that churches shouldn’t be forced to marry anybody they don’t want to. (I’m straight, and I had to shop around to find a minister who would marry us because I fall outside the religious mainstream.)

      A lot of the anger and “hatred” you may feel coming from conservatives has a lot more to do with their fear of religious persecution than it does with any feelings of animosity or judgment against gay people. In a couple of minutes, someone will do something outrageous or horrible or a Cardassian will sneeze, and people will stop thinking about gay marriage. It’s a done deal.

  5. Nissa Annakindt Avatar

    I am a lesbian. I am also a person who does not believe ‘marriage equality’ means redefining marriage to include same-sex relationships, or suing all the churches. You would not believe the level of vicious hate I receive from the pro-gay marriage crowd on a daily basis. I guess civil rights don’t apply to people like me, and it’s not homophobic to hate gay people who won’t toe the political party line.
    A lot of people think that the Supreme Court ruling settles the issue for all time. But then folks said the same thing about the Dred Scott decision.

  6. Misty Avatar

    I have no idea what the right, wrong, or better way to go about this would have been. Politics makes me want to dig my eyes out with a spoon. ๐Ÿ™‚

    That being said, I’m happy that we’re moving in the right direction as a nation… And I’m sad at some of the backlash I’ve seen here in my home state of Texas, including local county courthouses refusing ALL marriage licenses whatsoever, citing freedom of religion.

    There are so many great things about Texas. I don’t understand why people in this state allow our leaders to make us look like backward hillbillies on the national stage. :/

    1. Holly Avatar

      As I noted elsewhere, I think the government needs to get out of taxing marriage (the mandatory license and the higher couples taxes where applicable).

      Texas may be dicky in the way it’s going about its withdrawal (and I’m sorry your state is currently embarrassing you—mine was great fun during the George Bush / Al Gore / hanging chad fiasco {hangs head in remembered pain})—but I think the government’s withdrawal from taxing and controlling marriage is the right thing to do.

  7. Claudette Avatar

    Hear, hear! Well said, Holly. I’m with you on this one.

  8. BJ Steeves Avatar
    BJ Steeves

    I am usually in agreement with you more than 95% of the time. But in this case, I DISAGREE!!!

    I will not have your blog used for a firestorm, so I will leave it at that because I know many agree and many disagree, and this is not the place for a fight.

    1. Holly Avatar

      Hey, BJ. You’re welcome to comment, and I’ll happily hear you out. You’ve earned your place here. And you need not worry about starting a firestorm.

      I delete flames, and do so based on my always present, always linked BLOG RULES. (Top right sidebar of EVERY blog page.)

  9. Rez Avatar

    My personal feeling is — marry your goat if you wish. Have a wedding that bonds 3 guys, 2 gals, and a chicken. Who cares, so long as all consent and it harms none. (The goat and chicken are property, and don’t get a say.) I can’t see the harm in it even if I squint. Wasn’t the purpose of ‘morality’ supposed to be preventing actual harm??

    But I think SCOTUS just opened a can of worms we’ve not seen the end of … I expect the next fight will be about polygamous marriages.

    And there you have the hazard of the state defining marriage beyond “civil contract”. So long as the state specifies what constitutes marriage, there will always be these outliers and corner cases under the law.

    I also fail to see how one type of marriage damages another. There has always been a huge range of what constitutes marriage, from “two cavemen went home together and just never left” to the fullblown multitiered civil contract with religious ceremony on top. Is one more or less because of the other?

    If you want church sanction, get married in the consenting (not forced to comply) church of your choice. That doesn’t harm me either, even tho I’m not a believer.

    1. Misty Avatar

      Honestly? I think secretly the big problem goes back to the government and social benefits.

      Marriage is how the government tries to encourage what society at large has deemed to be “proper” or “healthy” ways of living (with the excuse that it’s for the children), while punishing people who choose not to live that way, through higher taxes or denied access to certain programs.

      So if everyone can marry everyone, then everyone can have access to those benefits, regardless of whether they choose to live in a traditional, heterosexual, two-person marriage.

      Most people won’t admit that this is what it goes back to, but I still have my suspicions. ๐Ÿ™‚

      So many crazy things about the world start to make sense when you realize that a lot of things happen because one group is trying to control another. ๐Ÿ˜›

      1. Holly Avatar

        Marriage doesn’t mean squat to the government at any level.

        That which the government wants less of, it taxes. That which it wants more of, it funds.

        The government taxes marriage and funds welfare.

        So its great interest is in creating more people dependent on its handouts from cradle to grave, because folks who only survive because the government feeds them (badly) and houses them (badly), and makes it almost impossible for them to dig themselves out of their crappy, dangerous lives must vote—if they vote at all—for the means that enables their own survival.

        Folks on welfare with no way off have to vote for the “bigger government, more handouts” solution, because the government that feeds them also turned them into helpless beggars incapable of surviving on their own.

        And the more of them it can create, the bigger and more powerful it will become, allowing it to crush more people through massive taxation to fund its programs.

        This was how the USSR starved. Don’t think it can’t happen here.

        1. Rez Avatar

          “Were we directed from Washington when to sow, and when to reap, we should soon want bread.”
          — Thomas Jefferson

          “A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover they can vote themselves largess out of the public treasury.”
          — atrrib. variously to Tytler and de Tocqueville

          An enlightening book: Why They Behave Like Russians, by John Fischer, 1947. (Should you find it floating around, it is out of copyright. OpenLibrary’s copy got mangled which is why it’s offline.)

    2. Holly Avatar

      Oh, boy, Rez, do I ever disagree with the “goat, chicken, whatever” section of your comment!

      Morality DOES serve what does not harm the species. People have added unnecessary variants over the centuries, but I’ve listed the core genuinely harmful sexual behaviors below.

      This is excerpted from my “Ten Normal Genders” post:


      4) To be considered a normal human gender, the variation must do no harm to the species or the individual.

      This qualification rules out rape, pedophilia, incest, and bestiality as normal variations, moving them into the realm of biological aberrations and/or experience-induced deviance.

      Rape (any nonconsensual sex) and pedophilia (any sex with pre-pubescent individuals) both do physical and psychological damage to the individual and can cause physical trauma that removes the victim from the genetic pool (even if not causing death).

      Incest can cause the same damages as rape or pedophilia and also in cases where pregnancy occurs, can double lethal mutations into genetic lineages and introduce them into the larger gene pool over time.

      Bestiality creates opportunities for persistent and potentially lethal zoonotic (animal-to-human) diseases to get a firm foothold in human populations.

      1. stephanie Avatar

        Also, marriage has to be between consenting adults right? Legally speaking? At least here in the US, that’s my understanding. I know the definition of adult is rather vague and can be fudged a bit one way or the other to allow teen younger than 18 to marry in SOME states. But then the teens in question AND their parents have to consent….

        Although the goat, chicken, whatever may technically be an adult of it’s species it cannot consent since it cannot speak in a way that the majority of people can understand. Add to that that the highest level of intelligence science has measured in animals is in the toddler to preschool range (so far anyways), this says an adult animal would not equal an adult human in understanding and thus be unable to consent, legally, even if they could talk. Unless we plan to let elementary kids sign legally binding contracts?

        And that’s before we get into the gross factor of cross species diseases (HIV and AIDS anyone?) Frankly we don’t need more diseases like that as a society. I am against marrying cross species for sure.

        BUT I think any number of any mix of male/females should be able to draw up a marriage contract satisfactory to the group and then get married. And that contract should protect their rights if one of them were to choose to violate it. But EVERY single person signing that contract would have to do so voluntarily…no peer pressure/coercion or anything.

        However, I don’t think that group of people should then be able to force the catholic priest down the street to marry them though. But the local Justice of the Peace should most certainly issue said contract: no fuss, no muss.

        I’m still not sure how we got to the point where religion got all mixed up in the government and legal definition of marriage. And I think that government trying to regulate people’s intimate agreements is wrong. Especially when it indirectly gives the government MORE power over the people (i.e. welfare peeps with no opportunities where they live and no way to leave…)

      2. Rez Avatar

        Well, the fact is, people who wish to marry their goat (or some other species-counter-survival matchup) are so rare as to not even be statistical blips. They breed themselves out of the gene pool before they can do any harm (you might notice nowhere in the world is overrun with goat-lovers). Legislating against these rare corner cases will harm other people more than it prevents corner cases, because corner-case legislation always suffers from feature-creep to justify its continued existence. (Kinda like how the laws against pedos now mostly affect teens being teens.)

        Conversely, there’s ample evidence that the homosexuality range is pro-survival. They may not reproduce, but they commonly are the maiden aunts and bachelor uncles whose primary contribution to other people’s childrearing is longterm life experience, and these non-reproducers also balance out the overprotective nonsense (which does =not= raise healthy minds) typical of young parents. Families, cultures, and species benefit from this, which is why homosexuality has not bred itself out, and exists to varying degrees across many species, not just humans. It is not a corner case; it is a biological norm in social species.

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