Friday, November 11, 2005

Proposition 2 Aftermath

I was just reading an article in The Monitor related to the recently passed amendment known as Proposition 2. My reaction is, shut the heck up. This is complex, so I will have to take it one section at a time. I am not anti-gay, I just think the gay community is being stupid about this.

First, let's establish this. I supported Proposition 2. This amendment basically cements the definition of marriage in the state of Texas as a union between a man and a woman. I have reasons for this. I am a bad Catholic, so I won't use that as a reason. I will use history as an argument. Long ago, a man chose a woman as his wife and if her parents agreed, she was his. That was it. That was marriage. Then, the whole thing was formalized to protect children. If a man married a woman and fathered children, his property was passed to them. If there was a mistress, she did not count, nor did her children. That is all that official marriage is. It protects the rights of official offspring to inherit the wealth of the deceased. If it weren't for marriage, if you were a widow, your father-in-law could take all your husband's property and you would be either cast out or subject to his whims. This is why you go to the courthouse to get a wedding license. Getting married isn't complex. The priest, minister, judge, or official does all the work. Why would you need a license? The reason is, you need to record whom you are marrying so that any legal disputes over inheritance can be resolved. If you die intestate and are married, all your property will go to your wife or husband and children. If there is a testament, things will be divied up according to the will.

Gays and lesbians have the wrong idea about marriage. The ceremony is not the marriage. That's just a publich show. The marriage happens when the papers are filed. Those of us who follow the tradition, even unknowingly, have reason to have supported proposition 2. Marriage is basically an official way to establish lineage and, by extension, inheritance. If you are gay or lesbian, tell me where this is necessary. Your child will be a bastard unless you married in the traditional sense. If you are gay, you need a woman to carry your child. If you are lesbian, you need a sperm donor. Either way, you are involving a third party. If you are truly interested in making an event of your union with your gay or lesbian parter, have a huge event and put an ad in the paper. It may not be legally recognized, but it will be socially recognized. Nothing in the law prevents you from wearing a wedding ring to show your bond.

Let's say that your child is a bastard child. You can still leave a will that gives all your possesions to your child or children (if you are gay). If you are lesbian, as the mother your stuff goes to your children unless your will divides your possessions otherwise.

What about recognition by other entities like insurance companies, hospitals, and such? There is a legal function known as power of attorney. This won't help you with insurance unless the insurance company recognizes "domestic parters". If the state doesn't recognize gay marriage, nothing prohibits private companies from doing so. Their recognition simply won't have legal status in court. However, if your insurance company is willing to accept your significant other as a spouse or dependent, why do you need the state to recognize your union? After all, companies now offer their employees pet insurance. Why wouldn't they try to accomodate gay or lesbian employees?

The same goes for hospitals. If you are listed as power of attorney and are responsible for paying the bills, why wouldn't the hospital allow you to visit or make decisions for your partner? You can pre-shop for hospitals, you know. If I were in the hospital or insurance business, I'd have a niche as the Gay Friendly company. I don't want you to be married like I am, but I don't see why your dollars are worth less than mine. If you want to include your lover in your health insurance, that's fine. If you want your sigificant other to make health decisions for you, I'd have a lawyer on hand to help set up power of attorney. My point is, there are opportunities for those companies willing to accomodate the gay lifestyle regardless of any laws. That ought to be your focus rather than forcing the rest of us to accept a redefinition of the law and tradition.

What I'm saying is that if you are gay or lesbian, you don't need to change traditional marriage. There are ways around the obstacles you face if you really try to find them. I have made some suggestions. Even if you are unsuccessful, will that diminish the love you have for your significant other? Will this prevent you from living a full and happy liffe? I recognize that you face challenges that straight people don't. I hate to give cliche advice, so I'm hating when I say, "take lemons and make lemonade".

If you are truly intellectually honest, by allowing gay marriage or similar arrangements, you are asking 98% of the population to accept the dictates of 2%. Come on, be realistic. When the population is sympathetic to your plight, we will agree. When you try to force it upon us, two letters suffice. F.U. My crudeness is for dramatic effect.

My advice to our homosexual population, don't worry. You're just as gay as you were before Prop 2. You probably still love your partner. You haven't lost anything. Nothing has changed for you that you did not already face. If you are upset, it really is about nothing. You are still free to live your life and love as you wish. The only difference is that you can't force the the rest of Texas to change the definition of marriage. I sincerely wish you good luck and recommend that you set up legal documents to give your partner as much say over your welfare that the rest of us enjoy with our spouses. Most of all, I recommend that you don't be haters. Hating works two ways.


John Whiteside said...

You've actually made some excellent arguments FOR gay marriage.

First, the inheritance issue: this is an issue whether you have kids or not. Wills are easily challenged, and there are plenty of cases of courts ignoring a will that left property to a same sex partner because the "real" family challenged it. Same for powers of attorney, living wills, and so on.

Oh, and plenty of gay people have kids, either from previous marriages or through adoption.

And, as you point out, marriage is an economic arrangement that's changed with society over the years. So to talk about the "traditional" definition of marriage is silly. Traditional in what year?

Finally, the argument that it's all about kids doesn't hold water. Otherwise, why let childless or infertile mixed-gender couples marry?

There is a fairness issue here, even apart from all of the above: all the legal steps you describe cost quite a bit of money to implement, and in the end don't provide as strong protection. Why should the government be in the business of giving a special discount to any two straight childless people who want those things? Sounds like special rights based on sexual orientation to me...

Writer said...

All you say is true. This is exactly what I mean. You take current unfairness in "the system" and work to establish precedents and to make things fair. Yes, fight the unfairness in the courts. It is expensive, but if you don't have kids, you should have disposable income. My money gets spent on offspring.

As for having kids, I know gay couples adopt. Actually, since couples are not recognized as such, a gay person can adopt and have a partner who can be the legal guardian. This can actually be "the" way to ensure inheritance for a partner. Leave all the possessions to the child and set the partner as "trustee" and guardian.

As for childless and infertile couples, the expectation is that they may or will have children. Traditionally, you don't test that sort of thing until after marriage. If the marriage doesn't work, you split up, no harm done. It gets complicated with children. Once children are involved, you become family forever, even if you don't live together.

Paula said...

You know what's sad is to think that your comments all seem to be leaning towards the welfare of the children. Since when have adults lost their rights to be treated as equals under the law? Gay people have ever right to have that"piece of paper" as you call it just as much as any straight person. Traditionally marriage was a legal term to make sure that your property went to the right people (i.e. children adn spouse), but we aren't living in Laura Ingalls days. We have blacks married to whites, immigrants coming in from other countries marry American citizens, gays holding pride parades and so on. These are not things that happened back when tradition began. Laws are supposed to be created to protect rights of the American people not to deny them.

Writer said...

I am a sad creature, thank you.

Here is what I have not said. The people who support gay marriage, most likely gay, are most likely to be anti-war on the premise that we can't go about changing the lives of others in the mold of our own beliefs. At the same time, you want to force others to accept something they don't want. I am not saying that the ban on gay marriage is fair. Not at all. I fully accept that it is unfair. I am suggesting ways around the problem that don't involve shoving the matter down the throats of Americans who clearly don't want it. Majority still rules. Believe it or not, I am offering ideas to get what you want without changing what is commonly accepted as THE definition of marriage. I've never met a more ungrateful bunch of people.

Look at it this way. If I don't accept that marriage is anything other than between a man and a woman, and you don't accept that it should only be between men and women, who's right? We both believe differently. We both may have some moral argument for our position. Who's right? Why should I accept your version of right?

Paula said...

Okay first off, I am not gay, I am a happily women with 2 kids of my own. But understanding of the situation with the gay community is 1) they are don't want marriage rights just for the legal goodies it supplies such as rights to be included on insurance policies, inheritance issues and property rights. They want the states to recognize that they are people, who would like to show the world that they have made alife commitment to another person they love the same as any straight person. Why should they have to do a whole lot more legal paperwork and such to be recognized? Why does it have to be called shoving it down peoples throats when all they are doing is what the black community did all those years ago? The majority of the country will tell you to not be racist or prejudice, "Why can't we all get along?", we should have peace and all that BS, but what they mean behind their words is why can't you just be exactly like me and then I can tolerate you. The world is full of hypocrits who can't live out the life they so think they do. Bible beaters preach that their bibles state homosexuality is wrong and yet they miss that Love thy neighbor line, or the God loves all the little children of the world stuff. So excuse the gay community if they fight and "cram that stuff" down your throat because they fight for their rights. IF they don't do it who will?!

Writer said...

Why are you so intolerant of bible thumpers? Just because they are different from you? Why don't bigots get the same protection and respect as politically correct people? How is it that it's OK to hate close minded people?

Black rights are not the same as gay rights. Gay people are not denied voting rights, education, justice, or the right to work amongst other things. If it's not about these fundamental things, it's about money. I'm going to make a new post.

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