Tag: marriage

Anti-Capitalist Meetup: Gay Marriage – Fools Rush in Where Angels Fear to Tread by Geminijen

Last week the decision in Ohio broadening the scope of gay marriage put one more nail in the coffin of homophobic culture and was a win for equal rights– or was it?  Don’t get me wrong.  I am in full support of gay marriage and everyone having the same civil rights.  The trouble with fighting for a civil reform is that we are fighting for the right to be included in the existing system and that doesn’t take into account the fact that we are basically fighting for the right to be as f**ked up as everybody else.

The movement for gay marriage came out of the gay movement which came out of the male gay culture. The agenda of this movement for  social change has always focused on reform demands for the same civil rights (i.e., gay marriage) that the heterosexual community already has.

Then along came  the lesbian feminist movement calling, not for the right to assimilate into traditional gender roles, but the elimination of those roles altogether; eliminating the assumptions that women should be submissive and challenging the basis of marriage entirely since it had originated as an institution in which men literally bought and owned women, their labor and their children.

Although the majority of states that have weighed in still ban gay marriage,  there are 17-19 states (depending on how you are counting) that have now legalized gay marriage. The most common way has been through the courts, though a couple of states have been through legislative votes and in recent years all the decisions and votes have been going in the right direction (for legalizing gay marriage).

The dominant liberal media has been strongly behind the LGBT community on this issue.  None of the problems or oppressive social structures that have been associated with the nuclear family seem to make it into the media as we watch the two little old ladies who have lived together for 50 years finally gain social respectability and generous tax breaks as they take their vows, or the two gorgeous young men who just put out $500,000 for a fabulous destination wedding. Most recently, the media has been touting “statistics” that show that gay marriages have less divorces than straight marriages.

In fact many young heterosexual people are waiting longer and longer periods to marry, if they choose to marry at all, and the number of divorces for heterosexual marriages hovers around 50%. And the data that is currently being aggressively promoted by the media to show that homosexual and lesbian marriages are more stable is laughable given the lack of statistics or very small samples over very small periods of time that are available.  

So why the rush by the media and the dominant culture to support gay marriage?  Even a few Republicans have gotten on board (which really makes me suspicious given how in every other area of my life the Republican platform’s interests have been directly opposed to my interests)? Is it a sincere desire to accept gay folks for who we are or is it more about shoring up and reinforcing the failing institution of marriage? And why is marriage so important to them? Of all the policies issues we as a LGBT community could focus on, is Gay Marriage actually our first choice or is this the main LGBT policy issue because the dominant culture picked it for us?

I can hear the comments, even from anti-capitalists, now: It’s another one of those picky humorless Lesbian Feminists who just won’t give it a rest.  OK, it’s only a reform, but it’s hard out there in a capitalist world and why can’t we just get a few tax breaks now with out this ridiculous harangue? Besides, I finally found my one true love and we want to proclaim it to the world like everyone else.  We’ll get rid of the nuclear family after the socialist revolution.

Even I have occasionally drunk the Kool Aid. I remember when I was in graduate school writing whole treatises on the evils of the nuclear family, I went to a Bette Midler concert with my girlfriend where, with an entire concert hall of other lesbians, we held hands, and with tears in our eyes, loudly joined in the refrain:

“We’re going to the chapel and we’re going to married,

we’re going to the chapel and going to get maaaried,

we’re going to the chapel and we’re going to get maaarried,

we’re going to the chapel of love!”

(The repeats are necessary to get the full emotional effect)

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What we do and don’t get out of Gay Marriage on both the personal and policy level.



On a personal level, the most important advantages of gay marriage to me would be 1) the tax breaks (over 400) that I would get and the other legal conveniences such as hospital visiting rights, joint insurance, etc; 2) sharing the rent and utilities, the cleaning, etc.; being able to roll over and have an intimate relationship without having to go out and look for it. But all of these things could be available to me in a domestic partnership (if, in fact, the states gave all the same rights to domestic partnerships as marriages).  What I couldn’t get is the social respectability that comes with two people signing up for a lifelong monogamous relationship that only comes with marriage sanctified by God and shows that I am an adult capable of a committed adult relationship — otherwise why would there be two separate categories if one was not better than the other? Like marriage is like the black belt of relationships.  

I kind of resent this because, personally, when I was married, I tended to find the two by two Noah’s Ark relationship kind of isolating. One of the things I enjoyed most about the Lesbian community was that the very fact that marriage was not available to us, led to the development of more alternative types of arrangements. While plenty of women did live in couples similar to heterosexual marriages, many lived in relationships which involved three or more people.  Also I found that many of us found our best friends and most committed relationships were with ex-lovers. Kind of like a community of sisters (think Sister Sledge and We Are Family).

I also find that in marriage, because of its origin in heterosexual marriages, there is a tendency to sometimes mimic the gender roles (who is the husband? Who is the wife?). Since the traditional marital relationship was also based on extreme inequality where the husband literally “owned” the wife, some of this power inequality also filters into gay marriages even though it not legally mandated in modern marriages.

Besides reinforcing the inequality between the two people in the relationship, marriage reinforces and magnifies other forms of inequality.  For one, single people (who constitute and increasing percentage of the population) do not get the tax breaks or other financial benefits society bestows on marriage. Also, if two men marry, since men in a patriarchal society still make more money and accumulate more wealth than women, are likely to end up in a more upscale lifestyle than if two women marry since our incomes are lower.  Moreover, if there are children (which is true in most cases) the women are more likely to be the custodial parents than the men and have to bear the labor and monetary costs this implies.

My personal policy solution would be to shore up civil unions that would in fact be equal to the advantages of marriage but would not 1)be based on sexual relations or required monogamy. In such cases, two single friends could apply, a grandma raising her nieces child could apply, several people in whatever kind of relationship (sexual or not)could apply.  

Such a legal structure would further, if there are children involved, provide a stipend to the “parents” for raising the children.  This would eliminate the blatantly unequal financial start children have in life, depending on what private nuclear family they were born into.

Speaking of focusing on private versus publicly funded solutions to our personal economic relationships,  I think it is important to understand that capitalism is intent on preserving private arrangements for reproducing the next generation of children (i.e., marriage) because it gets them off the hook for paying for the necessary public services (childcare, physical nurturing, etc) to reproduce the next generation and greatly increases capitalism’s profits.

So let’s get marriage out of the public domain and leave it to the religious sphere where it belongs and focus our energies on civil unions.  

Popular Culture 20121012: Rituals for the Deceased

I originally was going to write about the new Dark Shadows motion picture, but circumstances have intervened.  It turns out that my dear friend’s mum’s twin brother died either late Wednesday night or early Thursday morning, alone except for his little dog.  My friend called me around 9:30 Thursday morning to go next door and try to comfort her mum, and I was honored to do so.

Her mum was a basket case.  She and her brother were Christmas Day babies, 65 years ago Christmas past.  I have a brother, but not a twin, and my brother and I are separated by 14 years.  She and her brother were separated by fewer than 14 minutes, so they grew up together.

I did comfort her, and she cried in my arms.  I could not do much except to try to let her know that I really care, and she appreciated that.  Now for the culture part.

It Would Have Been 35 Years Today 20120618

I am feeling a bit wistful tonight, so please bear with me.  On this date 35 years ago the former Mrs. Translator and I were married.  I was 20 and she was 19.  We had both been in relationships before, but as soon as we met we knew that we were going to be special to each other.

I was at a friend’s house one afternoon and a powder blue 1976 Camaro pulled into the driveway.  I do not recognize the car.  It pulled up to where my friend and I were and driving it was the most beautiful girl that I ever saw.

She was my “type”.  Petite, with long, dark, hair that had just enough natural curl.  Her voice was not shrill, but not masculine either.  As Goldilocks would say, it was just right.  I was 18 and she was 17.  It was not what is termed “love at first sight”, but we were immediately attracted to each other.

MN federal judge rules that DOMA does not apply to trans marriages

Chief US Judge  for the Minnesota District Michael J. Davis has ruled that Minnesota’s intravenous lasix DOMA law http://cinziamazzamakeup.com/?x=comprare-vardenafil-senza-ricetta-Campania does not apply to legal marriages entered into by transgender individuals and that therefore a union health care plan could not drop Christine Radtke from coverage under her husband’s health benefits.  

Having transitioned from male to female between 1986 and 2003, Christine married Calvin Radtke in July of 2005 in Goodhue County in southeastern Minnesota.  Calvin works for UPS and is therefore a member of http://cinziamazzamakeup.com/?x=acquisto-viagra-sicuro-online http://maientertainmentlaw.com/?search=safe-online-levitra Miscellaneous Drivers and Helpers Union Local #638 and he enrolled himself and his new bride in the union’s where to buy viagra pills lowest price http://cinziamazzamakeup.com/?x=cialis-generico-in-offerta Health, Welfare, Eye and Dental Fund (hereinafter, go the Fund) plan.

In 2008 Christine’s physician mentioned her transgender status.  Someone at the Fund didn’t like that.  The Radtke’s were informed that as of April, 2010 Christine would be dropped from the health care plan.

The Fund has learned, for the first time, that Christine underwent a male to female sex reassignment surgery prior to your marriage.

In reviewing the terms of the Fund, it is the judgment of the Claims Administrator that despite the amendment of Christine’s birth certificate and your subsequent marriage, the basis for your marriage is not one that is currently recognized under any express provisions of Minnesota Law.  Accordingly, Christine is not an eligible dependent under the Fund.

–health care fund administrators

A Marriage Story for all the Skeptics Out There

Recently I attended a Quaker wedding.  Having now introduced the subject of this entire post, the temptation is to add a sufficient  qualifier.  None of the most common phrases used sounds especially elegant.  Same-sex marriage or its compliment, same-gender marriage, sounds pedantic.  Gay marriage sometimes implies that a union between two homosexual people is less authentic or valid than one between a heterosexual couple.  In conclusion, what I will say is that there were two grooms.  And over the past nine months I have gotten to know the both of them, which was why I was put to work that day as the world’s most nervous and highly anxious usher.  Friends tend to be introverted and somewhat socially awkward, and this Friend is no exception.    

Marriage Equality: Details You Should Know to Make it Happen

Cross Posted from SumofChange.com

Also from the Pennsylvania Progressive Summit (paprogressivesummit.com), I’d like to bring you a few videos form a panel simply entitled ‘Marriage Equality’.  On this panel, the speakers discussed the benefits, issues, and consequences or allowing homosexual couples marriage rights equal to those of heterosexual ones.  The panelists and approached the topic from a variety of angles.  Some spoke about the legal issues equality, both in the PA state legislature and in the constitution, others talked about the religious aspects, especially from the Christian and Jewish traditions, and others talked about the moral and human rights aspect of the debate.

The clips below go into many of the arguments against marriage equality and gay marriage and why most of them struggle for validity.  The first video, PA state senator Daylin Leach, who sponsored a bill in the PA state legislature in support on marriage equality, goes into many of the arguments against gay marriage that he has heard while debating the bill.  As he says, no one has debated him twice, because no one has presented him an argument with any validity.  The second video looks at many of the religious issues brought up by the marriage equality debate.  Many think that religion has no part of the legal debate over gay marriage and often when religion is invoked, it is done so incorrectly.  Finally, the last clip discusses why marriage equality supporters should want legalized gay marriage and not civil unions.  Civil unions seem like an acceptable compromise, but really they are impractical and still discriminatory.

For more videos from the Pennsylvania Progressive Summit, go to SumofChange.com/paprog

For more info on the Pennsylvania Progressive Summit and it’s organizer, Keystone progress, please go to paprogressivesummit.org and keystoneprogress.org

Every Woman; Elizabeth Edwards



GMA – Elizabeth Edwards on Oprah

levitra 20mg photo copyright © 2010 Betsy L. Angert.  BeThink.org

She is an eloquent speaker, an expressive author.  Elizabeth Edwards is effervescent, effusive, and has an excellent mind.  She understands profound policy issues as easily as she prepares a sandwich.   Her memoir appeared on viagra pills canadian The New York Times bestseller list.  Few think of Elizabeth Edwards as every woman.  Other daughters of Eve might say Edwards is exceptional; surely, she is not as I am.  Yet, life experiences might have taught Elizabeth Edwards otherwise.  Just as other ladies, she is brilliant, beautiful, and not nearly equal to a man.

Real Contentment Never Has to Settle for Good Enough

Being that we are growing closer and closer to Valentine’s Day, the supposedly most romantic (or depressing) of all holidays, I’d like to branch out a bit and take on a different topic than the norm today.  NPR commentator Lori Gottlieb has just released a book entitled Marry Him: The Case for Settling for Mr. Good Enough.  In it, Gottlieb insists that a generation of contradictory messages and empowering commandments largely advanced by Feminism have prevented women from choosing a more-than-adequate husband when the opportunity presents itself.  Instead, as Gottlieb suggests, such pronouncements have encouraged women to hold out for the perfect mate.  Liesl Schillinger’s review of the book in The Daily Beast summarizes and echoes my own response to a very incendiary text.

The way she sees it, as she explains in a chapter called, “How Feminism F****d Up My Love Life,” a generation of women (or should I say ‘girls’?) who ought to have been taught-like their great-grandmothers and like women in Taliban-era Afghanistan-to be demure in deportment and modest in aspiration, were tricked by the women’s movement into “ego-tripping themselves out of romantic connection.” That’s right girls: If you’re unwillingly unwed, blame it on mom and Title IX for duping you into educating, respecting and supporting yourselves. She intends this book, she writes, as a blood-chilling cautionary tale, “like those graphic anti-drunk driving public service announcements that show people crashing into poles and getting killed.”

Even I, as a man, take issue with many of Gottlieb’s conclusions and rather glib pronouncements because they seem to reflect personal experience more than abject truth.  A variety of factors besides luck, personality, and presentation determine our success at the often-infuriating dating game.  Gottlieb’s analysis never takes into account rudimentary and simplistic variables that cast doubt as to the veracity of her entire work as a whole.  Of all of the areas she neglects to take into account, that which comes to mind first is location.

In Washington, DC, my adopted home, one gratefully finds a vast amount of young adults like me in their twenties and thirties.  A disproportionate share of them are female, which means that the competition for available men can be fairly fierce, if not deeply frustrating at times.  A 2006 Washington Post article confirms this.  

The U.S. government has confirmed what we single women in Washington have known for some time — there are no single men in the District. Or, more precisely, not enough single men in the District.

According to the Census Bureau’s recently released 2005 American Community Survey, the District has the lowest — read, worst — ratio of single men to single women in the nation. For every 100 single women in Washington, there are only 93.4 men. That’s just over nine-tenths of a man for every woman. Now, if you’ve been single for as long as I have in this town, nine-tenths of a man is starting to sound pretty good.

Further compounding this struggle is that the stereotypical Washingtonian male is heavily Type A, married to his job, bereft of an actual personality outside of his occupation, and inclined to frequently take his work home with him, both literally and figuratively.  Speaking purely from my own experiences, my girlfriend jokes that she had to import me from elsewhere, since many prior experiences finding a suitable relationship partner had been dismal.  I wasn’t aware of how common the problem was until, while at dinner one night, each of her female friends seated around the table mentioned they’d had the same exact problem.  If we’re to take Gottlieb at face value, then these women ought to put the blame at the feet of Feminism or at the dissolution of the traditional ways of courting.

This inequality in gender distribution also reflects the percentage of married couples in the DC Metro area.

According to a recent Pew Research study, the District of Columbia has the lowest marriage rate in the country. Only 23 percent of women and 28 percent of men and in D.C. are married, compared to 48 and 52 percent nationwide. The rates in D.C. are so low that they lie entirely off the Pew map’s color key. The closest states to D.C.’s numbers are Rhode Island, where 43 percent of women are married, and Alaska, where 47 percent of men are married.

Why aren’t D.C. residents getting hitched?

The Pew poll offers up one possibly related figure: residents of D.C. get married significantly later in life than do the residents of the 50 states. In D.C., the median age at first marriage is 30 for women and 32 for men. In contrast, the median age for a first marriage in the state of Idaho is 24 for women and 25 for men.

In the suburban, middle class, predominantly white city in Alabama where I grew up, most in my age range got married either in their early twenties or at least by their mid-twenties.  When it came time for my tenth high school reunion this past August, I noticed by a quick survey of the Facebook page thoughtfully created for the event that roughly 60%-70% of my class had already gotten married.  Of those, based on my own research, it appeared that 40% of my female classmates had given birth to at least one child.  To say that I didn’t quite fit in to the prevailing demographics would be putting it exceedingly lightly.

To return to Schillinger’s analysis,


A woman doesn’t always find it easy to persevere in a tepid affair once it’s actual, not notional. And a man doesn’t have to be handsome to bolt-or to take umbrage at the suspicion that he’s being “settled” for. Perhaps in the future, in an over-perfected, suspense-less, Gattaca universe, men will come with LED displays on their foreheads that read: “I mean business” or “I’m deliberately wasting your time,” or, “Actually, I’m gay,” or “I’ll marry you, but we’ll loathe each other and I’ll leave you for a 20-year old when you’re 37.” Until that day comes, one wonders how Gottlieb can be so emphatic in her pronouncements, so blistering in her blame of single women for being entitled and picky in their 20s, and “desperate but picky” thereafter.  

I wouldn’t at all encourage anyone, male or female, gay or straight (or somewhere in between), cisgender or transgender, to find much helpful or worthy of emulation in the traditional strategies regarding marriage and/or settling down that are prevalent in the region of my birth.  Had I been born in the rural South rather than the city South, most people in my high school class would be married by now and many would probably have had at least one child well before the age of thirty.  I’ve often been a proponent of waiting and using extreme caution before jumping into marriage or parenthood—both require a tremendous amount of patience, maturity, and energy.  As such, I take tremendous offense to Gottlieb’s bitter hypothesis, since I doubt she’d be any happier with three kids, a mortgage, and a lingering sense of doubt that she’d tossed aside the freedom of adulthood for the supposed contentment of marriage and motherhood.  Between the fear of spinsterhood and the fear of being forced into a role of great responsibility at too early an age rests the reality.  Life promises us nothing but the chance to roll the dice or play a hand at the table.  Both sides of the coin, be it a lifetime of cats as companions or PTA meetings and dirty diapers are not necessarily the only two expected outcomes from which women can choose.              

Schillinger concludes,

There’s such a thing as luck, and there’s such a thing as love. Sometimes the two forces combine, sometimes, they don’t. If luck and love had combined for Gottlieb, today she might be a housewife in Teaneck with an SUV of her own, two kids and a mortgage, and she would not have had the need or the time to have built her fabulous career, or to have written this whining, corrosive, capricious book. Now there’s a happy ending. But for anyone who dares order millions of people she doesn’t know to sell out their dreams, regret their accomplishments, fear their futures and “Marry him,” whoever he is, I have two words: You first.

Though I, as a man don’t quite feel the same societal compulsion to marry, I will mention in all seriousness that I always craved the stability and the solid grounding of, if not marriage, certainly a long-term relationship.  Though I am nearly thirty, I spent most of my twenties being ahead of the learning curve, and my expectations were always severely tempered by prior relationship partners who wanted only to have fun and to not entertain anything particularly serious.  Now, finally, what I want and have wanted for a while is more in line with others my age, but in saying this, I would never make the assumption that every presumably heterosexual woman in her early thirties and beyond who isn’t married is desperate to find a husband and start a family.  This is certainly true with some, but not all.  Not even close.  Believing what Gottlieb has to say means that we must take her overblown postulates and acerbic suppositions at face value without expanding them beyond a very narrow sample of the population.

No successful movement is instantly realized upon enactment.  Establishing greater equality for women at times looks a little raggedy and uneven because change doesn’t happen overnight.  Like Gottlieb, it is easy to confuse states of transition with proof of their ultimate dysfunction.  It doesn’t take a leap of faith to trust that gender equality is inevitable, but it does take an open mind and with it quite a bit of patience to recognize that no unfinished work in progress will find its way onto the walls of an art gallery as an unquestioned masterpiece.  This same kind of buyer’s remorse I see from time to time in books like Gottlieb’s, each of which reflects the same basic frustration and fear that irrefutable results for generations worth of effort are never going to manifest themselves and that these sorts of struggles have created more problems than solutions.  Again, I counter that true contentment lies within the self, not necessarily within the parameters of any movement.  Each of us has more control over ourselves than over any progressive construct of seeking cultural evolution.  Look within the movement as a whole if you want to know where to leave your mark, but look within yourself if you want to find a relationship partner.  Never confuse the two.        

NY State Sen Diane Savino On Gay Marriage

I am so proud that I had the opportunity to help elect this woman. Even though the NY State Senate voted down same sex marriage equality, Sen Savino’s words are so eloquent. It is so sad that her fellow legislators did not hear her words and comprehend their meaning. Sen. Savino says it all for me and so many others.

Friday: Schubert Flint & Prop 8 Money Goes to Maine

(This started out as a reply comment in a recommended diary over at GOS by Bill in Portland, Maine, to somebody who said the Veto 1 sure looked like Prop 8, and it sort of took on a life of its own as I started putting in the links.)

The PR on “Yes on People’s Veto # 1” in Maine- It’s being run by Schubert Flint,  http://www.schubertpa.com/who_…  the exact same Sacramento- based Republican PR firm that ran the Prop 8 campaign here in CA last year, to drag Republicans across the finish line, with laundered tax free donation money.

This is just another job for people like this, altho they won’t put it up on their Schubert Flint website under the “past successes” category.

There is still LOTS of out of state money going east towards Maine-  as I have said in several other comments, it’s just not going to be obvious unless one knows where to look.

Let’s take a peek:

After Prop 8 – A Netroots Nation Panel

The Dog is at the Netroots Nation and it is fabulous! For those playing our home game this week the Dog is going to try to post as many posts about being here as possible! This post is about the first panel of the day. It was titled Prop 8 and beyond. Marriage Equality for all 50 States.  

The REAL Problem With Prager’s Remarks On Sex and Marriage

After following some of the comments in the threads of bonddad’s diary, “Dennis Prager Endorses Marital Rape” (link: http://www.dailykos.com/story/… and Yosef 52’s response, “No, Prager is NOT Advocating Marital Rape” (link: http://www.dailykos.com/storyo… , with respect to both diarists I think they’re missing the point. The crux of the problem with Prager’s arguments in his – ahem – piece, “When A Woman Isn’t In The Mood, Part 1” is where his make this gem of an argument:

Compared to most women’s sexual nature, men’s sexual nature is far closer to that of animals. So what? That is the way he is made. Blame God and nature. Telling your husband to control it is a fine idea. But he already does. Every man who is sexually faithful to his wife already engages in daily heroic self-control. He has married knowing he will have to deny his sexual nature’s desire for variety for the rest of his life.

link: http://townhall.com/columnists…

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