Tuesday, March 15, 2005

"No rational purpose for limiting marriage to opposite-sex partners"


I am supposed to have views on gay marriage. After all, I am a lesbian, happily partnered for 25 years – and my ex and her partner are plaintiffs on one of the lawsuits working their way through the California courts.

On an interim basis, we won one yesterday. A local judge, a Catholic and a Republican at that, concluded that “No rational purpose exists for limiting marriage in this state to opposite-sex partners.” Frankly, well duuh! And there was more: the prohibition “cannot be justified simply because such constitutional violation has become traditional.” So this will get appealed and opponents will howl and maybe some more states will pass bans on gay marriage.

I certainly applaud the lawyers and the plaintiffs and even the gay marriage campaigners who pushed into the public consciousness the massive inequities under which our “illegal” partnerships suffer. It actually is legally difficult and expensive to protect your joint life when you can’t get married -- think no health insurance and rapacious relatives who want to steal your property from your partner when you die.

But I have a hard time putting this issue in the foreground of my concerns, even as a lesbian. The problems visible gay folks have getting employed worry me a lot more. The danger of getting bashed by a bigot also remains real. Then there is what still happens to gay kids: thrown out by their crazy fundamentalist families, they wander to the streets of San Francisco and end up hooking and shooting dope. Now there is something to worry about!

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