Sunday, February 08, 2009

Did Prop 8 Divorce Anybody?

Whew. It’s been a long time since I posted anything here, but this video (h/t to Julian) has been on my mind:

"Fidelity": Don't Divorce... from Courage Campaign on Vimeo.

My reaction, like Julian’s, was to get just a bit teary-eyed. If you can look at these photos and still oppose gay marriage, I think your moral intuition is broken.

But at the same time... I really wish that no one, gay or straight, invested state-sanctioned marriage with so much emotional significance. Did Prop 8 actually divorce anybody in the emotionally or spiritually relevant sense? No. I figure that most of the loving couples shown in the video are still together (or at least, they’re as likely to be still together as heterosexual married couples). There is no law preventing gay people from having marriage ceremonies, celebrating anniversaries, presenting themselves as spouses, and so forth. Churches that permit gay marriage can continue to marry same-sex couples. (And churches that oppose gay marriage could refuse to marry them even before Prop 8.) The only question is whether the state ought to formally recognize them.

State-sanctioned marriage does matter, for reasons relating to tax treatment, legal power-of-attorney, parental rights, and so forth. As a matter of civil rights and equal treatment, I favor state-sanctioned gay marriage -- at least until the state backs out of the marriage-sanctioning business entirely. But somehow “don’t take away our preferred tax treatment and legal power of attorney” doesn’t ring the same emotional bell as “don’t divorce us.” If we all viewed state marriage as nothing more than a standard form of contract with a few attendant privileges, maybe the anti-gay-marriage contingent would be less agitated over the whole thing to be begin with.


Kevin B. O'Reilly said...

I have to say that I did not get teary-eyed precisely because I thought, "Hmm, I guess it would be sad if I thought any of these folks were actually going to be splitting up because of Prop 8's passage. But since *instead* they took time to send in photos of themselves in their still-loving relationships that does not seem to have happened. So, all right, I'm stopping this video 'cause the music's getting on my nerves."

There is plenty of emotional ground to mine when it comes to the gay marriage issue, but this effort misses the mark for sheer incoherence.

Gil said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

I would imagine that these couples' marital status matters quite a lot to the children in many of the photos. If their parents were counting on marriage to protect their rights as co-parents to children they've raised from birth, legally severing that bond puts them in jeopardy.

Anonymous said...

The state should not be sanctioning any marriage. As you say let that emotive term exist for religious groups etc.

It does however make sense for a limited state to promote and encourage two person partnership (because they the partners can look after themselves when sick etc). Why can't the government/state simply recognise legally and without any judgement long term relationships of any nature be they hetrosexual, homosexual or even asexual such as elderly siblings living together. At most a few restrictions could be placed such as requiring a minimum length of time for the relationship to be formed before the tax reductions etc are granted.

Anonymous said...

I think the video was designed to respond to Ken Starr's new objective of taking Prop 8' victory and trying to apply it retroactively by divorcing the gay married couples in the future.

Anonymous said...

I can't believe that so many people in this world don't recognize this simple universal truth: Try to take something away from someone, and they'll want it more.

Unknown said...

I think the people have spoken. If you don't care to live in a democracy, there are a few other countries that would gladly take you in.