Wednesday, August 11, 2010

When Fiction Comes To Life

Marriage Equality

I just can’t believe how hard this topic has been for me to tackle, but it is because it is another one very close to my heart. I mean who of us has not loved reading a good Jasper and Edward wedding story? Remember the beautiful preparations and dream perfect ceremony in Starfish422’s Over the Top”?!?! Or how about that ceremony in OCDJen’s “Healing Heart”? The Twislash fans are multi-national, and some outside the US find it hard to believe that those weddings would not involve an actual legal marriage in most of the states in the United States, as demonstrated in the following video…

Well, just over a year has passed since that video, and a couple more states have been added to the good side.  Currently Massachusetts, Connecticut, Vermont, New Hampshire, Iowa, plus the District of Columbus have complete marriage equality.  There have been other states, California and Maine, that enjoyed marriage equality for awhile, but voters took that away.  Several other states have domestic partnership or civil union laws.  Here is a map that explains the status of each of the states.  I could not find a map that was 100% current, but this one is very informative and very colorful.  

As for the rest of the world…  Marriage Equality can be found in Argentina, Belgium, Canada, Iceland, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, South Africa, Spain, and Sweden.   Kind of sad that the “Land of the Free” is not even among the first ten!!!!    Civil unions and registered partnerships are in Andorra, Austria, Colombia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Ecuador, Finland, France, Germany, Greenland, Hungary, Luxembourg, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Slovenia, Switzerland, Wallis and Futuna, United Kingdom, and Uruguay.  Several other countries recognize marriages performed outside their country.  I apologize for any errors or lack of currency; it was very difficult to find the same answer twice while I researched.   I did find that many references to countries that currently have civil unions are moving toward full marriage equality.

Why are civil unions not enough?  Because separate is not equal.  When a class of people is singled out, the implication can be that they are not worthy of being treated the same as everyone else, and are not worthy of having the same rights.  Such implications can be carried too far and become the justification people use to mistreat that class of people in many other ways.  I believe civil unions, or domestic partnerships are fine, but only if that is what is offered for everyone, not just a singled out minority.  Another question often heard is why all the attention for a piece of paper?  Once again, it is a matter of equal treatment.  Also, there are over 1100 rights automatically granted by a marriage license.  The following article and video explain that very well: 

I’m sure everyone has heard a lot of talk about Prop 8 lately.  For those not familiar, it was a ballot proposition and constitutional amendment passed in the November 2008, California state elections. The measure added a new provision, Section 7.5 of the Declaration of Rights, to the California Constitution, which provides that "only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California."    Legal battles began almost immediately.  Fortunately it was ruled very early that all marriages that had occurred prior to Prop 8 would remain legal marriages.  Then on August 4, 2010, U.S. District Chief Judge Vaughn R. Walker overturned Proposition 8 with a temporary stay to allow suspension of the ruling pending appeal.  Both the Governor and the Attorney General, who were also the actual defendants of the case, have requested that the temporary stay be lifted so that marriages can begin again in California.  The reason for the popularity and media attention of this ruling is that this case appears to be headed to the Supreme Court.    Judge Walker has come under fire for his sexuality, but given the impact on heterosexual marriage was part of the legal arguments, any sexuality would have had equal potential for partiality.   In my opinion, the judge provided excellent legal findings based expertly on the constitutional rights of due process and equal protection under the law.

Additional information about the Prop 8 ruling:

The biggest opponent to marriage equality has come from many (though far from all) organized religions.  In general their arguments stem from the Bible.  However, counter arguments and evidence of Bible mistranslations and misinterpretations have been made.  (For example, the original term for homosexual never appeared once in the original text).  The Fundamentalists tend to have the biggest voice, but the Mormons financed much of the opposition, fighting the hardest to pass Prop 8.  When they realized they needed more popular support, they partnered with the Catholic Church.  For more information, I recommend the documentary “The Mormon Proposition” which is available from Netflix.  The two religions founded what is known as the National Organization for Marriage (NOM).

On a personal note, NOM was in St Louis on August 5 as part of the national summer bus tour, just one day after the Prop 8 ruling.  I took a van of gay/straight high school kids to the counter protest.  There were hundreds of us compared to the tens of NOM supporters. 

So, have you been actively supporting Marriage Equality?  Tell us your story in the comments.  Also, do you have any favorite slash weddings?  Please let us know!!

“It’s almost as if the judge is saying that there is no such thing as gay marriage; there’s just marriage, and gay people have the same right to it as anyone else.”
— Stephen Colbert


Julia Dawn said...

I'm currently living in Argentina, one of the few countries with marriage equality, it's been less that a month since it was legalized and it's caused quite a commotion.
As you said some religions were completely opposed to it and made several manifestations against it, but in the end thankfully we won.
There are still some Judges who won't marry homosexual couples, which really annoys me, but since they are the minority it isn't much of a problem.
I'm so proud to live in a country were there's equality. It's funny how people thought of it as a disease, it was actually said that everybody would become gay because marriage was permitted, people can be so empty headed... Obviously, nothing like that happened or will happen.
The best part for me is that it also allows adoption, there are so many children here who need the love of parents. Many people are against it, even several that support same-sex marriage, but I just hope that when the adoptions are actually done people start to realize that they are able to give love and care for a child just as any heterosexual couple.
I love what you are doing with these posts it makes the blog more real and even more interesting!
Love, Julia.

LovelyPenguin said...

Nice to meet you Julia, thank you so much for your amazing comment! You could probably almost hear me cheering when I saw Marriage Equality passed in Argentina!! I was so happy I celebrated by buying a bottle of Argentina wine!! I had heard that the Mormons went to Argentina to try to kill it, but when it passed any way, they down played their role. I really like your comment about adoption and I hope to do an entire article on gay adoption soon. Thank you again!

LovelyPenguin said...

Update! Since this has posted, Mexico decided that the entire country must recognize same sex marriages performed in Mexico City, and Marriage Equality is set to resume in California on August 18! Congrats to Mexico and California!!

LovelyPenguin said...

Another update... the Ninth Court of appeals granted a stay, meaning California marriages are again on hold until ??? They are expediting the case at least.

Anonymous said...

This is a great site for following what's happening with Prop 8 and it's path to the 9th circuit court of appeals:

My favorite thing about the site is that when the trial was not allowed to be televised, made transcripts of the testimony available and hosted webspace so people could video re-enactments of the testimony. The videos are incredibly moving.

I have been a supporter of marriage equality for as long as I have been old enough to know about the issue. Actively I support it through my vote, through donations to activist organizations, by speaking openly about it in public, and by teaching my children that love is love no matter what.

I recently wrote a one-shot that dealt with the issues of marriage equality and gay adoption. I wrote it the night Walker announced the stay on his decision on Prop 8 which was also the night the annual Perseid meteor showers peaked. It's here:

Thanks for writing this column, lovelypenguin.

LovelyPenguin said...

And thank you for that wonderful comment rosmarinastar!! Thank-you for the links and your personal story too. Warms my heart every time I hear from another one of 'us'. Most of all thank-you for the link to your Shooting Stars story! I am so happy I read that, it was quite powerful. You know how to say a lot in a one-shot! It brought back memories of carrying my 4 year old (11 years ago) when she got tired of hiking, and memories of taking her (we still go) camping for the Perseids. (we do the Leonids too). But most of all, you drove home exactly the true heart of the marriage equality issue. I will be doing a gay adoption story soon, and will feature your story for that one too. Thank you again, so much!!