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Sunday, August 8, 2010

Prop 8 - what a' great feeling

Wedding cake of a same-sex marriage, photo tak...Image via Wikipedia

I was asked by a reader of my blog to comment on the August 4th ruling on Prop 8 (the anti-gay marriage proposition which passed in California by a large margin in November 2008), or more accurately, he was surprised I didn't write about it. To this I answer, I was caught unprepared when the ruling was announced, and I was sans computer for a few days. But now, I have no excuse. So here it is.

My perspective on this issue is not very "other" because I am sided with Judge Walker's ruling which overturned Prop 8. However, if you count all those who voted for this abomination, then I might be considered as "Other," since I was in the minority vote, and that makes me feel very proud of my otherness.

However, I have one confession to make: When gays started campaigning to legalize same-sex marriage I was dumbfounded. Why would anyone want to get married if he or she can get away with not getting married and still have a family?

My view on marriage was quite grim. I always asked myself what marriage was about: Love? Not really, check out Afghanistan, Iran, Yemen, India, and many other places on this planet where girls are forced into arranged marriages without having much say in the matter. Even in this country, many women marry for financial security and social status, look up the women who married Donald Trump. Procreation? Not really. Today anyone can procreate without getting married, look up Bristol Palin, the latest spokesperson on sex moratorium. And check out divorce rates, not too encouraging for someone contemplating marriage.

Marriage, I concluded in an uncharacteristic pragmatic fashion, was really a (business) contract between a man and a woman cloaked in some binding social-financial-contractual obligations. Check out child custody, joint tax returns, inheritance rights, alimony, credit card debt, where to spend Christmas/Hanukkah/Thanksgiving, how to cheat without getting caught, and the list goes on and on.

In short, I felt that marriage was totally overrated and that gays were being silly for buying into the Cinderella myth. Then I realized it was really about equal rights, and I felt quite stupid that I didn't get it right away. But once I got it, there was not a doubt in my mind or heart that if anyone wanted to try out marriage no one had the right to stand in the way. Furthermore, I think marriage is included in the U.N. declaration of human rights, check out article 16. And I'm all for human rights.

We all know what kind of privileges married couples have in this country. Gay-rights activists already listed them for all to see. But what irked me the most about Prop 8 was that many gays have an invisible problem when it comes to marriage rights, which those who voted for Prop 8 seemed to not realize (or maybe they did, which makes them look even worse). Civil unions, as far as I know, don't help foreigners get permanent resident status in this country, so without the option of marriage, gays who have partners from other countries are totally screwed. So basically gays have no choice: if they want to live with a partner from another country they HAVE to get married even if they don't want to get married. That's the law of the land.

So I am very, very happy about this victory and what it says about this country, and I will hold my fingers crossed until it gets its final approval by the Supreme Court. Can't wait to see how Chief Justice Roberts will explain his surprising ruling.

And to all the other Justices and Judges who will rule on Prop 8 I say:

Let them eat [wedding] cake!

related reading:

Slate: The conservative defense of marriage

another article I found after I wrote this post

Politics Daily: Bi-national gay-spouse rights

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