Why Gay Marriage is a Bad Idea

No, not in this way…

But now that I used this cheap ploy to get you here, please stick around and read this post.

My wife and I are one of the estimated 18,000 same-gender couples that legally married in California before the enactment of Proposition 8. Days like today are tough. While we rejoice with and applaud the decision of New York State to allow same gender-loving couples to legally marry, there is a bittersweetness to it. I have faith that one of these days this horrendous provision will be overturned.

In the meantime, back to that “gay marriage” thing…

I sometimes joke (in an unfunny way) that we are gay-married. That’s the thing: we are. We’re legally married in the State of California (since Prop 8 didn’t invalidate our marriages), and our relationship is now accepted and recognized in New York. This is a good thing. What’s bad is that, as we travel around the country, some states say that we’re married, others say no; some say that our legal domestic partnership is legally valid (even when our marriage isn’t), while others don’t — and many states hold that we are legal strangers. This makes for complicated travel. What if we were in an accident? What if… well, what if lots of different scenarios that legally married heterosexual couples take for granted? (And, as a matter of fact, privileges that UNmarried heterosexual couples are granted, just because they are a male-female couple.) See? Gay married. See? Not funny… Not funny at all.

What we seek, and the only thing that makes legal sense and the only thing that is a true “fit” with the foundational ideas of the United States of America’s right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness is MARRIAGE EQUALITY.

Conservatives call it gay marriage again and again and again until it's been ingrained in our psyches. The media has gulped the Kool-Aid on this because it's an easy shorthand term. But it's wrong, and we shouldn't use it! Words matter.

There are thousands of legal rights afforded to legal couples composed of a woman and a man. Various numbers are thrown around, but the truth is that no one even knows the exact number! Some of these are narrow and don’t apply to many people, but others are almost universal. These include the right to be taxed fairly and equally, the right to own property together, the right of survivor benefits — including Social Security, and on and on. The thing that’s common in these is that they are conferred by the federal government.

In order to have true, honest MARRIAGE EQUALITY, the federally-imposed Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) has got to go. It’s legal bigotry, and it creates a separate class of people to discriminate against — a truly unAmerican law.

There is legislation that has been introduced in Congress called the Respect for Marriage Act. This would repeal DOMA. It would take us out of the status of being “gay married” and would provide for full legal MARRIAGE EQUALITY.

This bill has been introduced in the House by Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) and in the Senate by Dianne Feinstein (D-CA). Both versions are the same, and both have a number of co-sponsors. If you’d like to know if your elected officials are among them, here is the House list (click on View Co-Sponsors) and here is the list of Senators. This would be a great time to contact yours and urge them to co-sponsor this legislation — or to thank them if they’re already on the list. We live in troubling times, and if you don’t actively participate in the system it will remain so. Know that those who oppose marriage equality are the ones who are the most vocal!

Thank you Senator Dianne Feinstein, Senator Barbara Boxer, and Representative Judy Chu!

By the way, President Obama has endorsed this legislation, so thanks to him too.

So, like many, I join my voice in saying I♥NY today — but let’s not stop at celebrating this little victory and forgetting that there’s far more to do before we achieve true marriage equality.

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