September 2004


I am The Cyberwolfe and these are my ramblings. All original content is protected under a Creative Commons license - always ask first.
Creative Commons License

Last word

I’ve seen alot of bumper stickers and posters going both ways on the subject, and I thought I’d officially voice my opinion one last time.

In 40 days, Oregonians will have the opportunity to vote on the adoption of Constitutional Amendment 36, which would once and for all define ‘marriage’ as a “one man, one woman” situation, I.E., no same-sex marriages or other spousal recognition for same-sex couples in our state Constitution.

Read on for my opinion.

Marriage has for centuries been defined as man+woman, largely due to religious directives, but for other reasons as well. The most common ‘accepted’ idea of marriage is when a man+woman couple are in love with each other, they decide to join in marriage and forsake all other interests for the duration of the marriage. This is written as “’til Death do us part”, but we all know the definition of divorce.

I have nothing against marriage. I also have nothing against same-sex couples enjoying the benefits (and responsibilities) of marriage, if they so desire.

Now, our founding fathers had no idea what society would look like in 200 years, but they did make sure to put the following words into our Declaration of Independence: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

Seems to me that any mix of people wanting to be recognized as being ‘married’ would fall under that last bit.

Marriage is currently defined as man+woman because the people who wrote the laws considered any other variation to be abhorrent. Homosexuality has been present since the dawn of Humanity, but has been considered an abomination in all but a very few nations throughout history. This is no longer the case. In Oregon, we have made it illegal to discriminate against anyone for their Race, Creed, disabilities or sexual orientation – why should we now go back on that and legally define in the Constitution that a marriage is only a union of a man and a woman?

There are two parts to any marriage – the vows the people involved take to each other (which are not defined anywhere, and society has already accepted the idea of couples writing their own vows) and the legal domestic Partnership, which defines the legal joining of resources and debts. Society calls the whole thing a marriage, but when it gets right down to it, the only part that matters legally is the domestic partnership that officially makes the people involved of the same family, and thus responsible for the others.

Now, if a woman does the homemaker thing the same as any other ‘traditional’ wife, should she not be entitled to health care and other spousal rights just because her ‘husband’ lacks a Y chromosome? Should a man be denied the right to decide upon the medical treatment of his spouse, simply because that spouse has a Y chromosome? In all other respects, these couples live as any ‘traditional’ couple would, caring for and supporting each other, they just happen to be gay. This somehow makes them inferior? Bullshit.

As far as I am concerned, I think we should legally define ‘marriage’ as “a domestic partnership wherein the principal parties agree to combine their financial and legal responsibilities into a family unit, with the members of said unit gaining all the benefits of said union.” Notice there is not only no mention of gender, but no mention of numbers either. Call me progressive.

Vote no on Amendment 36.

5 replies to “Last word”

  1. Jalpuna! Says:

    You’re a good man sir.

    The older I become, the more I find myself embarrassed by thoughts I had years ago (I was homophobic as a kid) and embarrassed by thoughts so called “intelligent people” still have (WMDs anyone? Hello? Colin Powel – you still out there?).

    200 years from now, people will look back on this era. I wonder if their judgment of us will be kind? I’m not certain it should be.

  2. Casey Says:

    You make some good points, but you should look at the larger picture. Let me explain:

    What is the basis upon which homosexuality hangs its hat? It’s the assumption that being gay is a natural predisposition to being attracted to the same sex. Okay, whether you agree or disagree is irrelevant. But if we say that it’s okay for homosexuals to marry based upon this predisposition, what do we say to someone who says they’re predisposed to being attracted to children? How about someone who says they have a predisposition to a group of people? After all, they were born that way, right? Well, maybe so, maybe not. But we’re talking about what our Constitution should say about being the best marriage institution for Oregon. Read on…

    Laws are based upon legal precedent. Once we set a precedent that it’s okay to marry someone based upon predisposition or sexual orientation, it becomes next to impossible to limit marriage to anyone who has an attraction to groups, animals, family members, etc. But the truth is, we have laws that say who you can marry and who you can’t marry. You can’t marry your sister, you can’t marry more than one person, you can’t marry someone under age 17, etc. Nobody has the right to marry whoever they want. Not heterosexuals, not anyone.

    If gay marriage is made legal, group marriage will be right around the corner, I guarantee it. If you don’t think so, do a Google search on the word “polyamory” or group marriage. There are hundreds of alternative marriage organizations waiting for that precedent to be set so they can make their move.

    Can you imagine a group of people who demand to be allowed to marry because so they can have access to marital benefits together? Whether they’re predisposed to the group thing or not, doesn’t matter by that point. The law, with precedent already set that marriage can be based upon sexual orientation, will have to take their word for it. If their motivation was to simply gain benefits from the state, by that point you’d have to allow them to marry. When you consider the health insurance benefit alone, it’s obvious our economy would buckle under the pressure. Businesses who provide insurance would have to provide insurance to every spouse of every employee. The cost would be staggaring, so businesses would simply not offer insurance at all.

    Gay marriage sets a precedent that marriage can be determined by “predisposition” and that opens a pandora’s box. You won’t want to deal with the consequences, I promise you that.

  3. -leslie.- Says:

    There are two thoughts that come to mind when reading your post, Casey. The first is that your argument is the same one that was used when white people and black people wanted to marry each other and it, too, was illegal… now that we’ve had time to look back on that decision, we can say it was a good one. I have a feeling that the societal prejudice against gays marrying will be the same- fifty years from now, we’ll wonder why we hadn’t done it sooner and people of this generation will seem antiquated in their discrimination.

    I also don’t like the slippery slope argument for government because it implies that we need the government to legislate our private lives, which is ironic because initially, that’s what the GOP was designed to prevent.

    I like it that the government provides services that I can *choose* to be a part of, but I draw the line at the government *choosing* what services it will provide to me. Meaning that I would much rather the government offer marriage services to consenting adults of all configurations, and leave the moral decision of what’s right for me up to, well… me.

  4. Da Wolfie Says:

    (Quiet applause) Thank you, Leslie, well said indeed!

  5. Casey Says:

    Comparing gay marriage to inter-racial marriage is not only ignorant, it’s offensive to people of color like myself. Banning inter-racial marriages was wrong not because it was unfair to people who wanted to marry across ethnic lines, but because ethnicity is an inherent, genetic characteristic trait that cannot be discriminated against by definition of the Constitution.

    Homosexuality, however, doesn’t enjoy such a luxury. There is no such thing as a gay gene. There is no such thing as being born gay. Contrary to what you might read in Willamette Week or the Mercury, being gay is not an inherent, genetic characteristic. It’s a result of nurture and environmental factors.

    HOWEVER… Measure 36 isn’t about a sexual consideration, it’s about what’s best for Oregon families. Homosexuality is another topic of discussion altogether. If Measure 36 doesn’t pass, we’re one court case away from legalized same-sex marriage, and the majority of families around Oregon don’t feel the same way about same-sex marriage as they do in Northwest Portland.

    Traditionalists in Pendleton, The Dalles, Coos Bay, Klamath Falls, Burns, Vale, Medford, La Grande, Sisters, Ontario or elsewhere around the state do not want downtown Portland values shoved down their throats. People around the state think it’s pretty arrogant of four Portland Commissioners to decide for them what’s best for Oregon families. That’s what Measure 36 is about. It gives Oregonians a chance to voice their opinion, something Diane Linn and her girlfriends didn’t want to make available to them.

    What you’re saying about not wanting government choosing services for you is so accurately in line with my point. Diane Linn should leave the moral decision-making up to Oregonians.