Sunday, December 07, 2008

Prop 8 and the Marriage Conundrum

Having been in a long relationship and being single now after the death of my partner, I find myself feeling lots of different things on the subject of same sex marriage.

Of course, I'm for it for equality's sake. I want us to have the same, the very same, rights as everyone else in this society. We shouldn't have to live in this state of second class citizenship that we've been forced to accept.

So, as far as that goes, I'm in favor of having the ability to marry if we want to do so. Particularly for all the rights and benefits that marriage (on BOTH a state and Federal level) afford anyone who is able to avail themselves of that legal status. And let’s face it, if we don’t have a Federal right to marry, we don’t get much out of the states that do give us that right.

When my partner died a few years ago:
I was hit with taxes up the wazoo. If we’d been a married couple, this would not have happened.

I was not able to collect his Social Security benefits, nor was I even able to collect the pittance they give as a Social Security death benefit. Because we were not allowed to marry.

I did not have access to the more than one thousand rights that married folks have – the first class citizens, that is, the straight people.

I could not collect the death benefit from his job at a University – nice liberal-thinking institution. Liberal except on this issue.

There was a lot I could not get because we were not allowed to marry.

Am I angry about that? You bet your ass. But anger undirected is worthless. So I try to channel it into better things.
Would we have opted for marriage if we'd had the chance? Who wouldn't want the legal benefits and protections?

However there’s a lot about marriage in general that gives me an awful icky feeling. There’s something there that smacks of assimilation. And if there’s one thing I’ve never been, it’s an assimilationist.

I’ve always believed that gays and lesbians are unique – and created to be unique. We have a part to play in the wider world. And we shouldn’t dilute our power by aping heterosexuals in every way. There's a unique gay sensibility but that's a topic for another time.

Equal rights, full equality, sure. Assimilation on every front, no.