EQUALITY – Maine, Maryland, Minnesota and Washington – Nov. 6, 2012

E

Yippee

Washington State has voted to allow same-sex marriage, marriage equality, whatever you want to call it. Similar referenda passed in Maine and Maryland and in Minnesota an initiative to put in place a constitutional amendment to ban SSM failed.

Some may say that it’s all a matter of labels and labels aren’t real and it’s real rights that matter and rights are not subject to or change by the passage or repeal of a law. They are Platonic objects or something.

That is an enlightened view, so you can figure the odds how far that will get you in the society we have to live in. People think in symbols and live by labels, they base laws on those labels and define them in those terms, so they really aren’t so trivial when it comes to living under them.

Platonic object don’t exist. The only rights that matter are the ones you can exert.
One may also say that this shouldn’t be matter of a government doing one thing or the other, that government has no role in this. This argument is valid only in Oughtland. But here in Izland, that debate is moot.

Government gives itself a role, and people insist on that role existing, when it starts enforcing this stuff, but that is bound to happen – you can’t do any of this stuff without government enforcing the [now very shaky and vague] marriage contract.

These are the practical consequences for me. My partner and I live in Washington. Now we can get legally married. That means that as soon as DOMA is repealed at the federal level, I can add him to my federal job-connected medical insurance, which will save us $400/month. Also now he can survive me as a spouse, so that when we start collecting my military and civilian pensions, he can continue receiving them if I pre-decease him, where before he would have had no status and the payments would have stopped and left him nothing.

These are not small matters for us. And whatever the philosophical niceties may be, what matters to us is how the statute reads and how it is applied.

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Jim Doyle

<span class="dsq-postid" data-dsqidentifier="2978 http://www.genderratic.com/?p=2264">6 comments</span>

  • Congrats, Ginkgo,

    and the two of you will be able to smoke a few bowls in celebration, if you are into that sort of thing.

    All kidding aside, this is another step towards universal human rights in this country. To paraphrase Malcolm X, when they call ’em civil rights, they are trying to bullshit you, these things are human rights.

  • Thanks, ES. Thanks.

    I think there is a diffenrence between human and civil rights, although I’m not clear on it becaase I find the concept of rights breaks down under analysis when you start from a grace-based moral system. Butonward; rights are a very useful legal fiction in building a decent society.

    Civil rights likek voting are specific to the society you belong to. No one is denying a Brit’s civil rights be denying him the vote in California. Then there are rights you accrue by virtute of paying for them, such as equal police protection, equal acces to public schools and such. This may sound obvious but as you know, a lot of blood has had to be spilled to secure them.

    What’s left is human rihgts, I guess. That means you should be free of someone just walking up and shooting you for no reason, or for wrong reason, such as religion or ethnicity or nationality. Torture falls into this category.

    Under US law marriage is a civil right since the Supreme Court decision in 1967 that struck down miscenenation laws. That decison identified marirage explicitly as a civil right.

  • Congratulations.

    I’m glad to see this spreading to more states (mine legalized it almost eight years ago now).

  • Yes Congrats Gingko… what do you make of the ‘radicals’ who say this should not be the big political issue for the GLBT community right now? (Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore is one such activist, I believe.)

    I hardly know what to say to them, so I don’t say anything. (duh)

  • “the [now very shaky and vague] marriage contract”
    Just for curiosity, would you mind elaborating on this? Is it something about the specific law in Washington state that’s shaky and vague?

  • Druk, how shaky is a contract that either party can renege on without cause or consultation with the other party and without regard for the effects on third parties? I’d say it’s worse than shaky, it is void. And that is the legal status of marriage these days.

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