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Ár nDraíocht Féin
Three Cranes
Chaos Matrix

February 23rd, 2004

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10:04 am - An interesting item of note
I was reading roc441's post on this, and decided to look up "marriage", just to see how the American Heritage Dictionary defined it. You might be surprised:

marriage 1a. The legal union of a man and woman as husband and wife. b. The state of being married; wedlock. c. A common-law marriage. d. A union between two persons having the customary but usu. not the legal force of marriage: a same sex marriage.

So I looked up "marry", because the dictionary told me to:

marry -tr. 1a To join as spouses by exchanging vows. b. To take a spouse. c. To give in marriage. 2. To preform a marriage ceremony for. 3. To obtain by marriage. 4. Nautical To join (two ropes) end to end by interweaving their strands. 5. To unite in a close, usu. permanent way.
-intr.</i> 1. To take a spouse; wed. 2. To combine or blend agreeably.</i>

So I looked up Spouse, because I was highly curious as to what this "spouse" they talked about was. Is it a man, a woman, or even gender-specific?

spouse A marriage partner; a husband or wife.

Hmm. Weird. So where does "spouse" come from? that might tell me more:

[ME < OFr. spous < Lat. sponsus < p. part. of spondere, to pledge.]

It then directed me to the PIE root of the word, spend- and so I went and looked it up.

spend- To make an offering, perform a rite, hence to engage oneself by a ritual act.

So there's a lot of jargon there. What does it all mean? It means basically that the dictionary defines marriage as an pledge between two parties of indeterminate gender.

Personally, I think this rocks.

So, why on earth do I care?

Hell, I don't know. I'm straight, in a long-term relationship with a beautiful woman, and I don't plan to get married in the next year or two, nor do I place a huge importance on it. I'm conservative and generally vote Republican. I've never experimented with homosexualtiy, and I'm not likely to. I was raised in a town where "gayness" was kept out of sight, and not a single person ever "came out" to anyone that I knew; to be "gay" was a horrid thing that no one spoke about. I don't even pretend to understand how anyone could be attracted to a man. Quite simply, I have no reason to be Pro-Gay Marriage, and a cursory glance at me would make me at best indifferent, but at worst completely Anti-Gay Marriage.

But then I look around me. I realize that some of the people I respect most are gay, bisexual, or of other orientation.

I think for a moment, "Well, shit. You know, it's an unimportant issue to me. It really is. I could care less if a person who is not me can get married."

The next moment I think, "Yes, but damnitalltohell, it matters to some people I consider friends, and what is a friend if not someone who will stand up for you in times of need?"

Finally, I think, "You know, some gay people are far more committed to their partners than many are to their legal spouses. What sort of sense does it make that Brittney Spears can get married for 72 hours, but Kirk can't get married to Steve for life? What kind of a fucked up world is that? If there's logic here, I missed that boat."

So I start to write letters. I begin to consider this a sticking point in the next election. I follow wild tangents that form in my brain about definitions of words that I've taken for granted.

Personally, there are two totally acceptable outcomes, but there's no middle ground in this case. At least, not to me.

Outcome #1: Gay marriage is allowed, and given equal status with heterosexual marriages. To paraphrase the Mass. court, "separate but equal" is has never been.

Outcome #2: All marriages are more difficult to get. If you're concerned with the "sanctity of marriage", walk the talk. Eliminate the ability of a person to get married on a whim. Make it so full of red-tape, lacking in benefits, and heap fees on top until it reaches a breaking point, and no one who is sane would get married. Only those imbued with the absolute insanity of love and devotion.

And this business of a constitutional amendment? I have little to say on that, but what I have to say is very important:

1: The Constitution is designed to grant freedoms, not take them away. Any amendment restricting any freedom would be very much against it's spirit, in my opinion. Note the repeal of the 18th amendment.

2: The Constitution is not designed as a dictionary, either. Thus my use of the American Heritage Dictionary. Use documents as they are intended, not as toilet paper for taking notes.

Thank you for listening. We now return you to you're regularly scheduled programming. Please remember to write your congresspersons (all of them) while watching said programming.
Current Mood: accomplished
Current Music: "Everybody's Talkin'", -JB

(6 comments Leave a comment)


Date:February 23rd, 2004 07:37 am (UTC)

Of all the places...

All marriages are more difficult to get

My son's father is Catholic (severely lapsed, of course). He has a teenage nephew (David), who ended up getting his girlfriend pregnant. Both are under 18. In what I consider a completely stupid move, having gone through the same thing with Alex's dad, they have decided to marry despite their age and not being together very long. (Tangent: Marriage is about 2 people, not 2 people and a child. If you didn't want to marry someone the day before you found out about the pregnancy, it is exceedingly absurd IMO to do so afterwards.)

They want a Catholic wedding, and the Church these days requires couples to take classes on marriage (no idea what they talk about), and also to meet regularly with a "mentor" married couple, so the afianced party can get a good sense of what a real marriage is like. Normally, the Church makes the couple wait at least 6 months. However, they are making David and his fiancee wait a year to 18 months. Talking with Alex's father, the Church has apparently decided they'd rather have a couple live out of wedlock or be single parents than to have couples divorce.

I was amazed and impressed at such a practical view by the Roman Catholic Church. Now if only they'd apply such logic to everything else.
Date:February 23rd, 2004 07:52 am (UTC)
This subject is very personal to me. Mostly because I am Bi. Did you know the first couple in San Francisco to get married recently was a lesbian couple who'd been together nearly 51 years? May the gods grant I could love anyone that long!

I get absolutely infuriated at the "it'll destroy the sanctity of marriage" argument. How does a couple together for 51 years making it legal in any way make a straight couple's marriage fail? I just don't get that.

Here's my wish: I sincerely deeply wish someone would fight it in the courts using the Freedom of Religion argument. To define it as one man and one woman is to create a law based on a specific religion, which Congress is NOT supposed to be able to do. I really wish someone would fight it this way. Ok, off the soapbox for a little while.
(Deleted comment)
Date:February 23rd, 2004 09:21 am (UTC)

Re: San Fransisco

I would say even more so, because they know it means something. But Britney's a slut.
[User Picture]
Date:February 23rd, 2004 03:17 pm (UTC)
Yes, something I feel strongly about, actually.... I am probably most of the opinion that "marriage" should be left up to a couple's (couple being defined as two or more people who make a commitment to each other) spiritual beliefs, and that "civil unions" should be used to recognize unions for governmental reasons, if it is even necessary to do so.

But, second choice would be that marriage not be confined to gender - that equal status thing.

In my world, it's ALWAYS about the connection, and never about the legal label, but out in society, if the marriage or the union is given legal status, it will also help to foster more acceptance for other people's choices.

Yes, please, write your congresspersons. :)
[User Picture]
Date:February 24th, 2004 08:07 am (UTC)
Please remember to write your congresspersons (all of them) while watching said programming.

I wrote to mine and they wrote me back saying they would vote for marriage protection...which was their way of saying I'm a degenerate, because like you, I think my gay friends should be allowed to get married if they want.

So guess who won't get my vote in the next election.
[User Picture]
Date:February 24th, 2004 08:23 am (UTC)
Time to get your friends to write too, then. Oh, and also time to send them a letter saying that you have decided that if they refuse to represent your views, that you will refuse to allow them to represent your views in the future.

Good luck. I'm sorry to hear that.

If this makes us degenerate, then I say, "So be it. I can still vote, asshole. And I don't vote for assholes who think I'm a degenerate."

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