not married

but a party is a different thing altogether

I hope I have to say it only one more time.

I have no interest in getting married. I'm uncomfortable with the idea of official marriage of any kind.

A letter in the Village Voice this week expressed a reader's disgust that "gay people" now want to get married, after " . . . thousands of years of crafting the finest true alternative/outlaw society this planet has ever known, with all the deaths, suffering, joys, and triumphs that were so hard fought . . . . "

Yeah, "Gay", it's not just about settling down and making babies anymore, you know!

Barry and I have been together for twelve years. It goes without saying that as born-again atheists we certainly don't need any corporate religious cult to sign on to our commitment, but we also don't need any goverment, or any other group or individual, to interfere with what we are perfectly capable of handling ourselves, our commitment to each other.

That being said, in this very imperfect society, government does get involved in the commitments people make as couples, up to now by unjustly declaring who is entitled to the benefits it grants only to such couples. More fundamentally, governments, and especially the U.S. government, refuse, except through the conservative and archaic device of marital contracts, to provide the simple health and financial tools which individuals, couples and families need.

Yes, I'd like to be able to visit my partner in a emergency or hospital room, to be able to make medical choices for him if he is unable to do so himself, to be his heir should he pre-decease me, and to share title to our home. Someone has enumerated almost 1500 other benefits which attach to the status of legal marriage, but these do not make marriage sacred. In fact they only show how absurd and fundamentally unjust the concept is in the first place.

The solution for the crises of marriage [and there appear to be many crises] lies in its replacement by intelligent and equitable laws which can protect everyone in society equally. Marriage would become irrelevant in that best of all possible worlds. Of course there's no reason why people who chose to do so couldn't have their commitments celebrated in some religious ceremony, but the state should have no interest in those arrangements, something like its indifference to confirmations and mitzvahs right now.

Unfortunately this isn't going to happen here soon. What is happening right now is that some people want the very real civil advantages which are available only through marriage and these are being denied them discriminately. Under these circumstances of course I want to support their right to civil recognition, but I recognize the disturbing irony of a movement which may seem progressive, but whose objective is extraordinarily conservative.

It's the conservative part that still really bothers me, and doubly so because it's not likely to stop the issue of same-sex marriage from mucking-up the election even though its opponents call themselves conservative.

How did we get into this mess just months before what many think will be a referendum on the future of the planet?

[image, Bruegels's "wedding banquet", in the Prado, from Web Gallery of Art]

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Published on March 11, 2004 6:43 PM.

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