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Posts Tagged ‘same sex marriage’

The Australian parliamentary Labor party (the current party of government) met at 7pm Canberra time yesterday to vote on the party’s leadership. The result being the return of Kevin Rudd to the Prime Ministership. Mr Rudd recently became an advocate of same-sex marriage, something the (now) former prime minister Julia Gillard was not.

Five hours later, at 10am Washington DC time, the US Supreme Court (SCOTUS) ruled that the Defence of Marriage Act (DOMA) was unconstitutional on the grounds of equal protection. Same sex marriages in states where it is legal are to be treated as any other marriage federally.

The court also ruled in another case (Prop 8) that the party appealing the federal court’s decision had not standing to appeal, therefore the lower court’s decision to declare Proposition 8 unconstitutional in California stands, thus same sex marriage is again legal in that state… and with DOMA struck down the rights and benefits of marriage federally that flow.

In politics, law, or life, when change does not (or is not permitted to) occur smoothly, change can occur seismically.

I know that linking Kevin Rudd to SCOTUS is tenuous at best… but what the hell…

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And now in New Zealand, everyone may marry the person they love.

over to you Julia Gillard… or Tony Abbott.

 

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The unchanging meaning of marriage?

A fascinating reflection on what marriage has meant throughout history, and how expanding the definition to include same sex couples, is (in historical terms) a minor change.

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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.

Words from the United States’ declaration of independence, wonderful sentiments, a great creed for a nation to aspire to, a bar by which the US set itself, at its inception, to be measured, and the creed by which I measure the US.

This creed is a dream. It is a dream that Martin Luther King Junior alluded to in his famous 1963 ‘I have a dream’ speech. It is a bar that the US has never reached, but from time to time it does something to show the world that it is aware that that bar is still there. The most recent example of this is the election of Barack Obama. At all other times, the US appears to me, to be at war with what it stands for.

The United States’ ongoing war with its own creed, while frustrating in its outcomes, is highly entertaining to watch.

The California Supreme Court today has guaranteed another series of episodes of this war, specifically the battles surrounding the right to marry, by validating both Proposition 8 (which banned same sex marriage), and those same sex marriages that were legal at the time they were performed. It has guaranteed such a sequel by delivering a decision that gives each side of the issue, both heart, and a direct cause to fight again for their point of view. Conservatives would have been heartened by the court’s validation of prop 8 but not the validation of the 18, 000 marriages. Progressives would have been heartened by the court’s validation of the marriages, but not the validation of prop 8.

Let me set the scene for this inevitable sequel. Same sex marriage is illegal in California as per the legally validated Proposition 8… BUT, the 18,000 same sex marriages that were performed before Prop 8 was voted on have been declared valid. 18, 000 couples are in essence legal precedents. In a state where only straight people can be legally married, these couples are in effect¬† ‘honorary straights‘ in relation to marriage law.

As I understnand it, and in my opinion, the situation that the California Supreme Court has presented, is not only contradictory, it is untenable and will be resolved in one of two ways.

Firstly ballot initiatives. Opponents of prop 8 will raise signatures to place a question removing prop 8 law from the California Constitution onto the 2010 Ballot; and proponents of prop 8  will also raise signatures to place a question to invalidate the 18,000 marriages onto the same ballot. I cannot wait to read about and follow those battles.

Secondly, the issue will be taken to the US Supreme Court. This is where the whole issue of same sex marriage in the US may eventually have to be resolved anyway, as was the issue of mixed-race marriage resolved there in 1967.

So, coming soon to a news servise or blogsphere near you, a gripping saga with a 2010 release date, PROPOSITION 8 – THE SEQUEL, when the US is once again at war with what it stands for.

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If the denial to gay and lesbian people of the right to marry is based upon a PERCEIVED threat to children – it must then stand to reason that those people who are ACTUALLY a threat to children, or who have who have been found GUILTY of ACTUAL child abuse, ought have their right to marry revoked.

In my opinion, if you take the Christian right’s arguments against marriage equality to their logical conclusion, then the right to marriage can be revoked on many levels. For example, a couple of old chestnuts… Claim – Marriage is about procreation. Logical conclusion – non-productive consummation of marriage is grounds for annulment of that marriage, as they have done damage to the institution as a conduit for procreation… another… Claim – The love between a man and a woman is special/sacred and must be treated as such. Logical Conclusion – Those found guilty of spousal abuse ought have their right to marry revoked, as they have done damage to the institution as a special/sacred loving union.

Religious rightists railing against marriage equality between hetero and homosexual people are not really interested in protecting’ marriage, nor are they really interested in protecting children, nor are they really interested in protecting the wellbeing of those in marriage. They are by their words, coupled by their lack of action in actually doing what they say they are defending, are simply protecting and defending their own ideology and positions of power.

The institution of marriage, of itself, does not create nor protect children, it does not protect those in a marriage from each other, nor does it elevate one class of couple’s love above another’s – for love simply is… The quality of, relevance of, protectiveness of, and the loving and nurturing nature of the institution of marriage can only be generated in the hearts and minds of those involved in such relationships. Such virtues are not the sole preserve of one class of person or couple, are not found in greater or lesser quantities in straight, gay, bi, or asexual people – but are intrinsic to individuals, and are amplified when coupled through love.

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