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March 2nd, 2004
04:02 am
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Maybe this can start a meme ...
Gay marriage has been running through my head a great deal in the last several weeks. (Hard for it not to, when you both work at a newspaper and have many friends of alternate sexuality.)

One of the main secular arguments that conservatives advance to oppose gay marriage is that it will "destroy marriage." The snappy answer to this -- "Anyone out there getting a divorce if gays are allowed into the club? Anyone? Show of hands?" -- is, I think, largely correct, but in some ways it is also attacking a straw man.

The problem is that the traditional conservative line of attack is not that it will destroy existing marriages, but that it will by some magical mechanism cause unmarried people to think less of it. I find this line of reasoning equally unpersuasive -- "Uh, Mabel, you know, we're standing in line behind ... you know ... a gay couple. Maybe we should forget the tax breaks, legal rights, and societal approval and just go home" -- but the fact remains that that's the party line.

I've been giving this some thought, and an idea just crystallized.

As a person of conscience, I would like to think of myself as someone willing to take a stand for social justice, even if it's personally inconveniencing. I want to be able to send a message, such as by going to San Francisco and lining up for the altar. But I'm not gay. I am, as I explained to the reporters in SFO when I visited to pass out chocolates to newlyweds, "mildly bi" at best, and my last several relationships have been with members of the opposite gender.

And it hit me: What this means is that I am a prime candidate for the traditional definition of marriage. I do have a protest voice. What could send more of a message than having the ability to get married -- and refusing?

If the conservatives want to talk up the Federal Marriage Amendment by warning that the alternative is "destroying marriage" for unwed heterosexuals, how powerful of a rebuttal would it be for opponents to hold up a list of hundreds of thousands of names, and say, "For these unwed heterosexuals, YOU are destroying marriage"?

Fortunately, it looks as though the FMA is dead on arrival -- there are at least 36 confirmed "no" votes in the Senate, and it requires two-thirds majorities from both branches of Congress. But I would be very surprised if this is the last word in the battle, especially if (God forbid) Bush claws out another four-year reign.

Such a protest may be needed yet. And I'm wondering if there are enough unwed* straights willing to speak up out there to give this critical mass.

As for me, I have a certain special someone to discuss this with before I can give an unambiguous yes, but I would be proud to call myself among that crowd.

(* Not to exclude couples, but divorce as a protest measure has far more drastic consequences, and I'm not certain I'd recommend it unless an amendment looks unavoidable.)

Current Mood: thoughtfulthoughtful
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From:thefirethorn
Date:March 2nd, 2004 04:50 am (UTC)
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I've been married for nearly 10 years, and I enjoy mentioning that fact in my letters to congress. I think, and have always thought, that straight married couples should protest this absurtity -- we are the ones, after all, who are being "protected."

As for straight singles -- I think your passing out chocolates or flowers etc. to marrying couples is a great idea.
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From:baxil
Date:March 3rd, 2004 02:35 am (UTC)
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Thanks. Blame elynne though. :)
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From:thoughtsdriftby
Date:March 2nd, 2004 09:39 am (UTC)
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Protest call should demonstrate the hypocrisy

Suggestion:
Asking all prostitutes, interns, and domestic servants to abstain from sex with politicians for one month
Protecting of the sanctity of their marriage

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From:auryanne
Date:March 2nd, 2004 10:39 am (UTC)
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You raise an interesting point, certainly! I found the email address for the mayor of San Francisco somewhere on Livejournal and emailed him expressing my support of his actions. Not that my sexual orientation should make a difference, but I think it is important that he hear from "the other side". If you want it, let me know and I'll see if I can find it again.
From:_starblade_
Date:March 2nd, 2004 01:26 pm (UTC)

Heh.

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You've learned the 'nullification' technique.

Basically, it's a way to focus the destructive energies of somebody else back onto themself. It's kind of something you don't want to do on a regular basis, but it's quite necessary sometimes.

I think this is one of those occasions.

In other words: You go get 'em, tiger... I mean... dragon. Or crouching tiger hidden dragon or something. :P
From:raki
Date:March 2nd, 2004 02:14 pm (UTC)
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From:baxil
Date:March 3rd, 2004 02:42 am (UTC)

O_O

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So, you notice that article quotes Reverend Fred Small? I thought I recognized the name; quick Web search. Sure enough, he's a former folk singer (proof they're the same person here) who wrote and performed one of the songs I included on my 15-Bean Soup music mix years ago.

Small world. And good to know he's still out there being inspirational. :)
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From:lysana
Date:March 2nd, 2004 04:50 pm (UTC)
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I don't see where someone refusing to exercise their own rights is a logical protest against people whose rights are being abrogated. It makes about as much sense as men boycotting the ballot box until women got the vote.
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From:baxil
Date:March 3rd, 2004 02:50 am (UTC)

short answer:

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I think that in particular is a troubled analogy. Voting carries implications far beyond a protest action. You can refuse to get married and still vote for liberal politicians willing to promote social change; but if you give up the vote as a protest, where's that second recourse?

Chooising to limit one's marriage behavior due to a moral stance is, in essence, a boycott. And like any other boycott, one person by themself doing it really doesn't make much sense one way or the other. But if it's something that builds momentum -- if it can attract a crowd, and if people can vote with their feet in large enough numbers to make the affected institution sit up and take notice -- it sends a message for change. Which is the point of all boycotts in the first place, really.
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