So last year a few thousand same-sex couples got married in Portland, and a few months later Oregon passed a same-sex marriage ban, Measure 36, in response. Then last month the state Supreme Court decided to punt on the bigotry amendment's constitutionality or lack thereof and overturned all those marriages basically on the grounds that queers were already and still are second-class citizens even without Measure 36. At the same time that decision was being handed down, a civil unions bill got introduced that basically says "every time the law says 'marriage', substitute 'marriage or civil union'." I'm not 100% sure, but I somehow suspect that these civil unions will be queers only, no opposite-sex couples allowed. But whatever, it's a starting place for continued legal battles of doom. Meanwhile, the anti-same-sex marriage crowd has introduced a "reciprocal beneficiaries" bill, like a weaker version of what Hawaii's got, which is good not just for same-sex couples but also for say, siblings or roommates or grandparents and grandchildren, or basically any two people who want to designate each other with certain rights and privileges more limited than those granted by marriage. The idea is to make civil unions look too extreme or something, and I'm supposed to be up in arms about it, according to the latest action alert email . But really, I want both of these bills to pass. Duh. Anything that helps raise awareness of the fact that legal marriage is just a standardized contract, but that really there's a lot of different ways for relationships to be structured, legally or otherwise, is awesome by me. And reciprocal beneficiary stuff, while basically just a standardized version of stuff like inheritance and power of attorney that can already be arranged if you're motivated enough to get a lawyer to set up the contracts, is more inclusive than same-sex-only civil unions. Grawr. I know that if reciprocal benificiary stuff gets passed first, then wankers are going to argue that civil unions aren't necessary, just like the Measure 36 campaign ran ads claiming queers could get all the rights and privileges of marriage through contract law, but no. What we need to do is holler, loud and clear, that both of these laws are a good idea, they should both pass, and p.s. if civil unions really are the same as legal marriage then frickin' well make them open to opposite-sex couples and make legal marriage obsolete while you're at it. Duh. (That last should probably be my secret agenda, huh? People really seem to like the m-word. Oh well. Oops!)
Also, in a completely different kind of "aw, crap" news (this one, at least, isn't my fault), boo CA Supreme Court! Boo! L-E-T-S-G-O, L-E-T-S-G-O...
All I can say is I'm in a better mental state for getting shitty news today than I was yesterday, but that just means this news is making me get all indignant, instead of curled up in a little ball crying.
Update, 10:35: And now that I'm just the teensiest bit grumped-out, I find myself noticing a faint but distinctly unpleasant smell in my kitchen, one that may inspire me to go all obsessive cleaning. Coincidence? I don't think so. Feh!
Hey kids! If any of you reading this live in the United States and haven't yet emailed your Senators to tell them to oppose the Federal Marriage Amendment, it would make me really happy if you did so. Especially if you live in Indiana, Ohio, Louisiana, Alaska, Nebraska, Arkansas, North Dakota, or South Dakota. Tell your families and friends! I could rant and rant at great length ( but ) the real point is: read up on the FMA and think to yourself, Is this the kind of law I want in my country's Constitution along with good things like freedom of speech? Then try not to get too cynical about depressing stuff like the USA PATRIOT Act. "Grown-ups did that. Never forget that." Okay, time to shut up and eat cake and think happpy thoughts about going to the Oregon Country Fair tomorrow, to do happy hippie dances of the temporary autonomous zone persuasion, and generally pretend that the world is okay.( More articles on the subject as I find them, mostly for my reference. )
Okay, so everybody's beaten me to the punch posting about Matt and David's wedding (including the lucky grooms themselves) but I'm going to say "Hot damn!" and "Congratulations!" again, because it makes me happy. And now, speaking of the city of San Francisco doing things that make me happy, Professor Bernoff and his Tom got married yesterday! Their pictures are second only to Matt and David's for cuteness, so if you need another reason to be happy (and hopeful that civil rights will win out over legislated bigotry in time), check that out. Yay!
Update, 14:22: And go city of San Francisco again!. Suck it, Prop 22!
If y'all haven't read pants_of_doom's National Coming Out Week wish list, go do so now. It's good stuff. On a similar note, here's a link to the discussion that ensued when I posted grumbling about President Bush's announcement that federal government lawyers are working to legally define marriage as a union between a man and a woman (because apparently it's not enough that states keep passing laws that say the same thing, and the Defense of Marriage Act says it's okay for states to disregard each other's laws concerning same-sex marriage --- this has to be a federal issue, too... but I digress). It was a good discussion, I thought, but it made clear to me that a lot of people don't know very much about the legal issues surrounding marriage and domestic partnership and such. Since this is kind of a hot-button issue for me, I'm full of fun facts about it, and I figured hey, why not share? To start off, here's something I wrote to someone who thought I was common-law married because Peter and I are registered as domestic partners with his grad student union, so I can get cheaper health insurance.( Long story short, no, I'm not married, common-law or otherwise, and here's some facts about common-law marriage and domestic partnership. )
By the way, October 11 is National Coming Out Day, and this year the Human Rights Campaign is encouraging people to come out in favor of same-sex civil marriage rights (as distinct from religious marriage/commitment ceremonies, which are available to everyone, though not from all religious denominations, and either way don't confer legal benefits). I think this is a good idea, although it sort of misses the point that marriage as an institution has other problems besides the fact that it discriminates against same-sex couples. I'll post about that later, but for now this post is long enough.
Update, 18:36: Ok, it was long enough, but I want to remind myself that I also want to write about the Bush Administration's Marriage Protection Week bullshit (timed to coincide with National Coming Out Week, no less), and maybe post links to resources like the Alternatives to Marriage Project (probably my primary source of information on this issue), so anybody interested in learning more can do so. Am I forgetting anything important? If so, please leave a comment. coldtortuga, I remember you were curious about my personal views on marriage; these posts should help make them clearer but I could write something to address that point in particular...
So much for states' rights, let alone recognizing other countries' laws.... though really, people who really want to reap government benefits for their relationships should just incorporate. There's no restriction on gender or number of people involved in a limited-liability corporation, either... and the law says it's a person. I know that's oversimplifying things grossly, but on the other hand it merges two of my hot-button issues in a gloriously perverse way. If loopholes in corporate law could take down both marriage discrimination and corporate personhood, that would pretty much make my day, yep.
I fuckin' hate the law, but stuff like this makes me wish I knew more about it. Grumblegrump.