Thursday, May 15, 2008

Marriage available to all in California

Phyllis Lyons and Del Martin in 2004.

Hot damn! The Supreme Court of the State of California says the state must allow us -- queers, lesbians, gay men -- to get married. Separate but equal doesn't work under our state constitution, apparently. They are not about to opine on whether same-sex marriage is a good thing, but it is unequivocally a legal imperative if the state is going to be in the marriage business.

My ex and her partner were among the plantiffs. She writes:

Who would've thought that it would take the Supreme Court to "rule" that we're human beings? Who would've thought that I would be supporting a "patriarchal" institution? But I think Kate Kendall [of the National Center for Lesbian Rights] is right -- "there is no lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender person in this country that is not better off because we won." The Court's language is very strong and the attorneys say that it is groundbreaking. I firmly believe that protecting one group's fundamental human rights protects everyone.

What a day. What a day to remember that we are all connected and all deserving of love and dignity.

I agree heartily. I'm not a big fan of state marriage. In the too recent past marriage was a set of rules to ensure orderly ownership of women and children; in the present it is too often simply an imperative for keeping health insurance.

But I sure do want a society that practices community recognition and affirmation of all people's chosen, responsible relationships. I work for that affirmation within the Episcopal Church -- that is, within a voluntary institution suited to blessing partnerships.

Marriage, the thing the state licenses, still needs some reworking -- let's start with getting national health insurance. But this is a good day and a good decision for the dignity and equality of all people.

1 comment:

Jeff said...

"there is no lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender person in this country that is not better off because we won."

Well, that might not be exactly true. I've heard of one same-sex couple married in Canada but now residing in California where one of the couple is now concerned that, if their marriage is now recognized in California, the state's community property laws will leave that person substantially worse off in case of a dissolution. (In fact, that couple had deliberately not become domestic partners under California law to avoid the possible consequences of California's community property laws.)

None of that is an argument against same-sex marriage—as a gay man, I wholeheartedly support it. But "that no gay person is not better off" seems an unwarranted generalization—the vast majority are but a few—those who married a same-sex partner in other jurisdictions yet now assume a "single status" as a resident in California—might not be.

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