Category Archives: Marriage equality

Guest Post: Magazine Re-review

In case you missed it (I did, because I was up to my nose in invitations), I wrote a guest post for So You’re EnGAYged about the representation of gay couples in wedding magazines.  Or (spoiler alert) the total lack of representation.


The Definitive Expression of Love and Commitment

“A private moral view that same-sex couples are inferior to opposite sex couples is not a proper basis for legislation.”

Word.  Yay for this intermediate victory for marriage equality!  I skimmed over the decision, and a few things stuck out:

1. Sounds like the defendants of Prop. 8 were very poorly organized: not knowing what to argue, having witnesses withdraw for dubious reasons, putting up expert witnesses who couldn’t pass as experts, etc.  Judge Walker doesn’t really hide his disdain for them, painting a picture of folks who were great at manipulating voters and terrible at swaying great legal minds of reason.  That… might not fly so well in the 9th Circuit.  I mean, sure, they’re a bunch of lefty weirdos, so they probably support marriage equality.  But they are a bunch of lefty weirdos!  They probably don’t like having democracy besmirched like that.  You know?  Maybe (hopefully?) I’m over-thinking this.

[Edited to add:  You know what makes me angry, though?  Equality opponents framing the decision as a deprivation of Californian’s “core civil right to vote for marriage.” Because “voting for marriage” is not a civil right.  Voting is a civil right, but even the right to vote is and has always been subject to greater limitation than the right to marry.  For example, convicted felons can be deprived their voting rights permanently (although I think in California the restriction only applies to incarcerated felons), but you could not permanently deprive felons the right to marry (unless they’re gay).]

2.  I like Judge Walker’s approach of comparing allowing same-sex marriage to other changes in marriage from the last centuryish.  I also like that when I started explaining the decision to Collin, we had this conversation:

Robin: So he says, look dudes, allowing interracial marriages didn’t destroy the institution, ending coverture didn’t destroy the institution, this won’t either.

Collin: What’s coverture?

Robin: It’s the old system whereby getting married erased the woman as a legal entity, and she became part of her husband’s legal entity instead.

Collin:  I want that! I want to cover you!

Robin: Tough luck, buttercup!

Collin: I want your social security number! I want your birth certificate! I want to mush them into mine!

Robin: Well I want to stay a person.

Collin: You’re a lady, I know all you really want is to get married.

3.  There is no three.  Other than to say, once again, yay!


Rights and Privileges

The night I got engaged, while celebrating with friends I started to mouth off about how it seems that a lot of straight people who marry have never recognized their straight privilege before they started wedding planning.1 And then they’re all “what charitable donation/ceremony reading/blog post will help alleviate me of the guilt of my privilege!?!?!” Hint: there isn’t one.

The more I think about it, the more I remember a blog post (which I now cannot find, to my dismay) arguing that “privilege” is an over-used word in conversations about social justice, because there are some things that are denied certain people which are fundamental rights, not privileges.

Marriage is a fundamental right.

Current caselaw has tortured out some sort of way to escape the pesky precedent of sentences like “Marriage is one of the ‘basic civil rights of man,’ fundamental to our very existence and survival.”2 by arguing that while marriage is a fundamental right, but choosing your marriage partner is not. Which is obviously a load of crap.

Straight privilege still comes into play a lot with weddings: with family’s acceptance, with vendors’ cooperation, with friends and acquaintances considering it a ‘real’ wedding. But the actual legal union of marriage being limited to opposite-sex couples is just too egregious a denial to talk about in terms of “privilege.” It’s an injustice. It’s a cruelty. It’s a shame.

And I know a blog post can’t fix it. But for what it is worth, I support marriage equality.

1I don’t mean to sound obnoxious or mean. I realize not everybody took a bunch of women’s studies classes in college (that’s one of my class privileges!) Also, I think anything that gets people in the headspace where they start to recognize privilege is good. Even if it doesn’t start until you plan a wedding, it will probably persist afterward.
2Loving v. Virginia, 388 U.S. 1, 12 (1967) (quoting Skinner v. Oklahoma ex. rel. Williamson, 316 U.S. 535, 541 (1942)). [Yes, Kiely, I did just put a law review footnote in my blog.]