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Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
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Monday, March 27

Gapers Block

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Pete / March 2, 2004 10:29 AM

Simply put, gays and lesbians have the same right to a 50% divorce rate as heterosexuals do. "Threatening the institution of marriage"? Oh, please!

Chuck / March 2, 2004 10:41 AM

I think the government shouldn't have a say as to how people decide to live their lives. But that doesn't change my stance on same sex marriage which I am against.

daruma / March 2, 2004 11:02 AM

"The Bachelor" and bachelorette can marry a stranger on tv; Britney Spears can get married for a day in Vegas; but I can't marry my chosen beloved of five years because we are both women? It's ridiculous and horrendous and I hope it changes soon. George Bush may be using it as a diversion tactic but it's the most important issue to me personally.

paul / March 2, 2004 11:19 AM

Next up - same-sex cohabitation and parenting -they'll want to protect the institution of family too.

One argument I haven't heard listed with the divorce rates and Britney marriage - pre-nup agreements. Isn't a loophole much more of a threat to 'death do us part' vows as an institution?

marcy / March 2, 2004 11:28 AM

In the past, wives were considered the property of their husbands. In the past, there was a ban on interracial marriage. Just as we can't imagine modern life without these equal measures, it's hard to believe that there are still laws preventing gays and lesbians from being treated as complete humans.

amyc / March 2, 2004 11:32 AM

I hope Mayor Daley follows in Mayor Newsom's brave footsteps and just starts issuing marriage licenses in Chicago. This is a civil rights issue, and whether or not it's unpopular with a majority of Americans is really beside the point (see also Loving v. Virginia).

If your church refuses to recognize or perform same-sex weddings, that's protected by the First Amendment. But I have yet to hear a convincing reason why the state should not issue same-sex marriage licenses.

steve sleeve / March 2, 2004 11:33 AM

big up to pete -- true and hilarious.

i'm totally for it, and feel like a lot of people's problem with it is that the good-ol-fashioned heterosexual marriage is rooted in religion. now i have nothing against being religious, though i'm not personally, but seems like the greater good as a people would be to advance past "traditional" sex/gender roles.

besides, if there was ever a time for same-sex marriages to become legal, it's now -- think of all the reality TV marriage shows that could come out of it. COME ON BUSH, DO IT FOR THE MEDIA!

A lex, x, x / March 2, 2004 11:46 AM

Let people marry whomever they want to! As though marriage were such a "sacred" institution (e.g. Britany, Liz Taylor, Scott Peterson, etc.) As I wrote over on my site:

Defending the sacrament of marriage?

I look around me and see how many hetero marriages exist that are completely fucked up. There are plenty.

And when Mrs. Gomez is sleeping with her co-worker, or Mr. Smith has beaten the shit out of his wife again, or when Susan from down the street has to cry herself to sleep every night because the man in bed next to her is a man she stopped loving 12 years ago, and when the Jones family stays together "for the sake of the children" even though they really hate each other, let me tell you there is nothing sacred about that.

Pete / March 2, 2004 12:27 PM

Marcy's comment reminded me of yesterday's excellent "This Modern World" strip at Salon:

A Brief History of Marriage in America

It's highly worth sitting through the "free day pass" ad if you're not a subscriber.

Carly / March 2, 2004 12:57 PM

I agree that the reason it's illegal is based on religion and prejudice.

I can't see any other reason why it wouldn't be allowed.

This is just another hypocritical conservative agenda.

Not My Real Name / March 2, 2004 1:09 PM

A marriage license should be issued to anybody who wants it.

A civil marriage license does not a marriage make. It simply allows two people to check a different box on their tax returns, qualify for their partner's employer health care benefits, and make some changes to estate planning. Yes, these economic benefits can be hugely important, but a marriage license has nothing to do with the love, commitment, religion, beliefs, etc. of the folks applying for the license or anyone else.

The idea that issuing licenses to same-sex couples denigrates the so-called "institution" of marriage is absurd.

Any couple with an interest in receiving the economic benefits (and drawbacks!) of a civil license should be able to get one.

Kenan / March 2, 2004 1:18 PM

You're all missing the point. Don't you know God hates fags?! And all sin! That's why whenever Jesus met a prostitute he slapped her hard in the face and said, "You're going to burn in hell, bitch!"

(oh my. I'm in a mood today.)

Benjy / March 2, 2004 1:36 PM

There is absolutely no reason not to allow for same-sex marriages, as performed and recognized by the government. The issues such as inheritance and pension rights, guardianship of children, living will execution, tax benefits, etc. should be granted to any commited couple regardless of sex. And these need to be done in way in which they are recognized anywhere in the country. The government, being a secular institution needs to act accordingly and not muddy its actions based on the clamoring of religious fanatics. Just as evolution should be the norm in science classes, gay marriage should be allowed because scientific evidence strongly suggests homosexuality is biologically based. So to forbid marriage between two people who love each other because they are homosexual is no different than to forbid a marriage because two people have different skin color. And states had just such laws on the books. In fact South Carolia only repealed theirs in 1999!

Even as a free society that protected the rights of citizens, there was still plenty of inequality through the ages. We've worked to remedy most of those past injustices. To start formally adding injustices to the constitution is a huge stap back for civilization.

emily / March 2, 2004 2:39 PM

I wish someone would explain to me how two people making a loving lifetime commitment to each other threatens the institution of marriage. I'm absolutely ashamed of what the homophobic leader of our "free" country is trying to do.

Hey Bush, while we're at it let's make gays and lesbians sit at the back of the bus.

Cinnamon / March 2, 2004 2:43 PM

Bush says he wants to boost the economy but I don't think he does. If he did, he'd be all over permitting gay marriages. Can you imagine the huge boon to the current $32 billion per year industry this would make?

Amy / March 2, 2004 4:11 PM

Hope to see you all at the rally this Thursday at noon!

Kris / March 2, 2004 4:16 PM

Benjy, Alabama has South Carolina beat: their anti-miscegenation statute stayed in the books until 2000.

As resident homo on the GB staff, I probably don't have to tell you my opinion. Kenan's right; there is no compelling argument against same-sex marriage that doesn't boil down to "God hates fags," and while there's not much I can do about someone holding that as a personal belief, it has no place in public policy.

I too hope that Chicago will join SF in taking the lead on this issue, although as Mayor Daley pointed out himself, it's Cook County Clerk David Orr's call, not the city's. (Still, I'd imagine that as with most things around here, what Daley wants, Daley gets.)

I truly don't believe that a Federal Marriage Amendment will ever get out of the gate, but I'm sort of glad Bush is promoting it. Now his awful legacy will include being the president who tried to write mean-spirited bigotry into the Constitution, and one day we'll all look back at him in the history books like we look at Governors Orval Faubus and George Wallace, shaking our heads in bemusement and shame.

Tom D. / March 2, 2004 4:33 PM

The government should get out of the "Marriage" business. There's one point on which I do agree with our semi-elected President, "Marriage is sacred." It's a religious institution, and as such shouldn't be something that the government gets involved with. Leave Marriage to religions and limit the government to some sort of Civil union which would facilitate things like parental rights, property transfers, medical decisions, etc. Of course that annoying "constitution" thing would prohibit discrimination against same-sex couples in regards to such Civil Unions.

(As a purely 'political' aside, the Shrub's proposal to amend the constitution is a blatant election-year ploy. The White House did the math and before proposing it, they knew that it won't get out of the Senate or the House. Furthermore, they know that there is a good chance that DoMA will be struck down on Constitutional grounds. (reread W's announcement speech and you'll see what I'm talking about) That's fine with them - it will be yet another wedge issue with which to rouse the right-wing rabble.)

Ramsin / March 2, 2004 6:54 PM

I think the legal arguments are more interesting than the ethical arguments. It seems to be a more tricky question on strictly legal grounds. Ethically, it's obvious: you can't have separate laws for separate people, ever. So of course same-sex partnerships should be allowed to mature into what the state calls "marriage"; however, religious institutions should be protected should they choose to refuse to perform the rite.

I think it would have to be done slowly, state-by-state, and only after evaluating the laws pertaining to marriage in that state or municipality. But should the state be allowed to outlaw it? Absolutely not. In an election year, though, this is a dangerous issue and Bush and the RNC is loving this chance to push everything to the background to show middle America pictures of two flamboyant guys getting handed a marriage license by an elected official. The question isn't really "yes" or "no", but "when" and "how"?

tony / March 3, 2004 1:27 AM

No reason to restate what's already been said. Certainly prohibiting same-sex marriages is unethical. Maybe what we need to do is go back through all the laws and replace "marriage" with "civil union" so we can lose all the baggage associated with the m-word. Sheesh, marriage is in such a non-sacred state nowadays that it ticks me off when people think the institution will collapse because of this.

Anyway, institutions that exclude people suck.

Jeff / March 3, 2004 4:11 AM

The most flabbergasting part is when people say instead of gay marriage there should be civil unions for homosexuals.

So gay folks should show their commitment with a ceremony that is separate, but equal to marriage?

Holy shit. Do people even here themselves speaking anymore?

Ian / March 3, 2004 8:02 AM

I'm all for everyone getting to marry everyone else, regardless of sexuality.

In Sir Charles' words, "Anything less would be uncivilized."

daruma / March 3, 2004 2:18 PM

Marriage is not just a religious institution; it confers legal status. Therefore, it is discrimination to limit it to only certain citizens.

paul / March 3, 2004 2:58 PM

I'm all for same-sex marriages. But I think an even better solution would be to get rid of marriage altogether.

Ian / March 3, 2004 3:23 PM

I'm with Paul. Here here!

Andrew / March 3, 2004 4:14 PM

The most flabbergasting part is when people say instead of gay marriage there should be civil unions for homosexuals.

The real solution is for everyone to get civil unions.

The problem is there's one word for two different, but similar, concepts: religious marriage and civil marriage.

Religious marriage should remain unchanged -- we have no right to force our opinions on a religion, whose rules traditions are determined by its god. It's no more right to tell the Church to marry two men than it is to tell them to recognize Mohammed as a prophet.

Civil marriage is a social and legal construct, not a religious one. It should be renamed civil union -- at all levels of government and for all possible combinations of sex, gender, race, etc. -- to avoid confusion with religious marriage. It should be defined as the legal union of two humans and subject to the same equal rights protections that all other civil contracts are.

Religious marriage should have no bearing on a couple's federal legal status; you can marry in a church, but you better make sure you file for a civil union license or the government won't recognize you as a couple.

paul / March 3, 2004 6:14 PM

Yeah, the whole idea that there could be civil unions suggests that maybe there's something more than civil about marriage as is - that it has a religious component, or maybe a moral one. It shouldn't.

Audrey / March 3, 2004 7:36 PM

My understanding of civil unions (which may be wrong) is that there is no "until death do you part" line -- meaning a lawyer is not required to end one. Even with 50% of marriages failing, 50% are surviving, and with decades of psychological studies showing that children fare significantly better with married parents than divorced ones (and an equal number of economics studies showing that divorced women fare worse than married or never-married women even in this day in age), I'm not convinced marriage should cease to exist.

Instead, I would like to see more choices for both heterosexual and homosexual couples -- with the endgame being the difference. Civil unions could become either a stepping stone to marriage or not. Regardless, I personally think if there were several options -- staying single, creating a civil union, forming a marriage -- there would be much less divorce and a greater sense of responsibility and respect toward each other.

I hope the discussion broadens toward a more mature and honest approach on modern relationships.

armaghetto / March 4, 2004 2:28 AM

I'm in favor of gay marriage. Civil unions = seperate but equal in my view. I really haven't heard a convincing argument against gay marriage, except for the whole "it's against the bible" thing, but well, the bible isn't the constitution. The weakening the institution argument is laughable.

Whatever. What do I care if two people I don't know get married? Just don't bug me to buy you a wedding gift.

armaghetto / March 4, 2004 8:58 PM

See: also "Southern Strategy" guys

The Patriot / March 20, 2004 3:21 PM

Why is the Jew obsessed with pushing queer marriages on my country? Answer: Because the Godless Jew wants to destroy every vestige of white western Christendom and instead impose their hate-filled militant Zionist philosophy. I say to hell with the Jew. Let's unite people! There are more of us then there are of them!!

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