Omigod! The Supreme Court did what?!? And “The Pride”

The predominently Roman Catholic SCOTUS refused to block same-sex marriage in Washington, DC, and today couples started to apply for marriages licenses

I had  a particular context for this news,  having gone to see The Pride in Manhattan on Friday.  It contrasts the romantic  lives of  gay men in London in the 1950’s with that in the 1990’s.  My companion, a young gay man, remarked that the gay culture of the last ten years seems quite different, in part because of the foregrounding of the issue of marriage. 

His idea, I think, is that it isn’t just the dominant topic of discourse that has changed, but also the way in which one can now see becoming a more permanent partnership as a more likely outcome for a relationship. 

We’ve heard  a lot of opinions on this blog about the merits and demerits of marriage whatever one’s sexual orientation is.  We’d welcome comments on that topic  and this new development.  And, of course, whatever else you think should  be said.

Finally, if anyone wants to comment on the play, please do.  The review I’ve linked to is problematic.  It left me wondering whether the reviewer had ever experienced the sense that one is an outsider in one’s own society.

8 thoughts on “Omigod! The Supreme Court did what?!? And “The Pride”

  1. This is a double edged sword, on one hand you have to say it’s un American to not allow the freedoms of one to do as they wish. On the other the sanctitiy of marriage is an enormous thing to abolish. My uncle who resides in the Hill Crest area of San Deigo, Ca. and I have had this conversation for years. While I was stationed in San Diego we got to know each other very well. I have never seen myself as a homophob however he had pointed out to me that I really had no idea of what it to be or live a homosexual. For this I truely admire him, I over the years have learned more and more from him, and on this particular argument we still agree to disagree. It always seems to come down to a why question. I ask him “Why marraige?” he says “because it’s only fair”, I agree it’s fair but there are some as his partner stated that bring up that they dont get the same treatment. This is where my Uncle and I agree at least in California it has absolutly nothing to do with benifits as the domestic partner now gets all the same rights as the spouse. So I cannot speak for other states, and I know Cali is a bit out there but on this one I think they got it right by allowing this. As for the actual Marriage that argument may never go away, and yes my uncle is aware of the biblical part of this. He’s a Catholic that attends church two or three times a week. While I do not agree with changing the laws about the act I do agree that we need to ensure that the domestic partners are getting the same rights as a spouse at a minimum. I can say this, it really gets me going when the majority vote on something and one judge overturns it.

  2. Umm, huh? Letting women marry women and men marry men somehow ‘abolishes’ the sanctity of marriage?

    No. Anyway, my real comment:

    Progress on the marriage front is great. But I want also for us not to lose track of other things, like how there are other valid family structures that we should be just as supportive of as marriage. In short marriage is nice, but it isn’t so sacrosanct as to be a better form of family than anything else. It’s harmful to take legal/cultural privileges that all families should have, and say that we can only have them through marriage.

    There is at least one good book on the subject, which I mean to finish reading soon.

  3. I’m on my phone, so I can’t say as much as I’d like right now; but domestic partnerships do not receive all of the same benefits as marriages in California. They might get all of the same state benefits- but they don’t get any of the federal, and the state benefits (like hospital visitation for example) don’t apply out of state.

  4. Just a response:
    David, I was referring to what the folks on the other side of the discussion say when they speak about it. As my opinion alone I do not agree with it, I believe it should be a man and a woman. This is only one persons opinion though and by no means should it be taken as gospel.
    Kathryn,
    I just got off the phone with my Uncle and he’s not sure and neither am I so your probably correct about not crossing the state lines. Neither of us have had to deal with it so I shouldn’t speak to that. I was referring to the state benefits as those are the only ones we know of. I do apologize for any confusion I may have caused. So if that’s the case perhaps looking at as step one getting at least the benefits would actually be a big plus would it not? At least it’s a step?

  5. DavidC,
    I was just putting out there one of the discussion points that my uncle and I have heard.

    Kathryn,
    I apologize the state would be all we are aware of, I should have clarified.

  6. The problem is not with the merits or demerits of marriage (or any other legal status), it is with inequality and institutionalised discrimination and abuse.

    The reality of marriage for a lot of heterosexual women is of systemic inequalities (in earnings, in domestic workload, in social standing, in protection against violence).

    For same sex couples a lot of (not all) the inbuilt problems with marriage are less relevant because of the lack of gender based power imbalances. Some of the inequalities that they currently suffer, however, can be redressed through respecting their basic human rights (radical!).

    So “marriage for het women = bad” and ” gay marriage = good” are statements that totally coexist. The only way in which this can be at all problematic or confusing is if you put the abstract concept of marriage before the real life question of how it interacts with people’s real lives. In which case, duh, you’re an idiot. Who shouldn’t sit on the SCOTUS.

  7. @cgrable- regardless of whether or not gay marriage is an affront to the sanctity of marriage, sanctity is a religious term (meaning holy or sacred). So, legally, I don’t think we can use that as an argument without compromising the first amendment’s non-establishment of religion clause.

    That said, I realize the biblical issue is tangential to the legality of gay marriage, but since it seems people’s religious views on the subject are influenced by the bible, and their religious views influence their political opinion- I want to say a couple things about that too. I think the issue of homosexuality in the bible is highly subject to interpretation. There are a few passages that are often cited as evidence of its immorality that I think are not quite so easy to use against homosexuality as some might think.

    First, there’s the Mosaic law- but we don’t tend to think that rapists and their victims should have to marry (Deut. 22:28-29), or that wearing mixed fabrics is morally problematic (Deut. 22:11), so it’s not clear why we should adhere to some of those proscriptions and not others.

    Then there’s the story of Sodom and Gomorrah; but I find it difficult to think that’s a narrative with any lessons for sexual ethics. For one, it doesn’t seem that the people of Sodom were “gay.” When the men of the town go to Lot’s house to rape the visiting angels, it says that it was every man of the town. In the context of a tribal society, where value was placed on dominance, it makes more sense to see it as an attempt to assert dominance over the “foreigners” through rape as a violent act. That interpretation is reaffirmed, when after Lot offers up his two daughters to be raped in place of the angels (another reason why we shouldn’t think of this in terms of sexual ethics), the men respond angrily that this “alien” (Lot) is trying to tell them what to do, so then, they threaten him with rape. After Lot and his daughters are saved, his daughters rape him to get pregnant (by getting him drunk to the point where he doesn’t know what’s going on). When Lot and his daughters are the ones being saved by God, and yet they act in morally reprehensible ways with respect to sexual ethics, it just doesn’t make sense to understand the narrative in those terms. I think the story has more to say about immigration policy than it does about homosexuality per se.

    The other most often cited passages seem to come from 1 Corinthians and Romans; but those are letters from Paul to particular people responding to particular situations. He wouldn’t have been referring to monogamous committed relationships between people of the same sex, because that just didn’t happen during his time. When people of this time had sex, with people of their same sex, it was through extra-marital affairs, and pagan religious rituals. Those are very different things from gay marriage. There’s also some discrepancy over the interpretation of the actual text, because at the time they didn’t have categories of sexuality like we have now, so there wasn’t a term for homosexual then, with the same meaning we have in mind today. (Sorry for the length of this comment!)

  8. I have to say while this is a very compelling disucssion it gets lost when people read a comment like “So “marriage for het women = bad” and ” gay marriage = good” are statements that totally coexist. ” This will drive away folks that are on the fence about these things. To a person that was not level headed it would seem as if Lady was trying to say marriage is only good for homosexual women. This I actually had to calm my uncle down about, I do appologize I draw on him a ton for this subject as I state before with me not being homosexual Its not for me to attempt to know, however knowing him I do think its fair to him to understand.

    Kathryn,
    I believe your arguments are very sound and this too as I stated is where my uncle and I get into it with some folks. As with any book It truely is a matter of perception. There are different version and different rightings depending on which religion your following. We dont often cite verse my uncle and I honestly we find it much more fun to people watch. Anyone who has been in the HillCrest area of San Diego can tell you it can make for a great day. I guess the reason why I have come to this is my uncle is ill, he has been fighting for almost 30 years now and last month the doctors are not giving him much of a shot for the first time in a long time. I can remember being scared to death of going to Hamburger Marry’s becuase it was a gay hang out. It ended up being the most fun I had thanks to him. Honestly as a guy if you dont mind you butt being pinched you can get free drinks:-) That first trip and through the years he has tought me a different side of life. Never trying to change me, not even once did he care who I was. Even when people were protesting our return from Iraq he was there and actually picked me up at the base. Without a dad he became that for me, and for that I will always love my uncle. I’m very happy to know that he was not the only one out there. I appologize for the post, I hope that it only helps someone out there find that person in there life. I would never have become the man I am today without him. Homosexual or not he is and always will be a great man.

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