Thursday, March 25, 2010

By Any Other Name

You've probably noticed that we went to a wedding over the weekend.

Weddings, as you might imagine, are somewhat bittersweet for me.

A blessed event so common and so easy for heterosexual couples, which is still largely illegal or unrecognized for same sex couples.

While I won't say that I think opposite-sex couples always enter into marriage without truly thinking about the ramifications, they at least have the ability to walk into any county registrar's office, city hall or drive-through chapel and get married. There's no concerns about whether or not they will be allowed to purchase a marriage license, whether their marriage will be recognized if they travel to another state, how they'll file their taxes at the end of the year.

How they'll answer that question on the 2010 Census Form.

Opponents of same-sex marriage tend to trot out the offering of "domestic partnerships" or "civil unions" as though they are the same thing as "marriage".

But I notice there's no "Registered Domestic Partner" or "Civil Unioned" choice on the Census form.

I can't file my federal taxes as "Registered Domestic Partners Filing Jointly".

If I introduce SweetPea as my "partner", I get that condescending half-smile that comes with the "lesser" designation. And it is a lesser designation, according to the standards set by the society we live in.

It doesn't matter the level of personal commitment that is involved, the truth of the matter is that "partner" is on a completely different, and lower, level of societal respect and understanding than "husband" or "wife".

While we were having dinner after the wedding Saturday, the conversation strayed into gay marriage. A gentleman at the table started in with the argument that "it's just a piece of paper" and that "it's the committment that matters". Even as he was making the argument, he kind of trailed off. I think he realized that it was disingenuous to argue that marriage is "just a piece of paper" while sitting at a dinner table celebrating the marriage of people you love.

Because, um. Clearly not.

3 comments: said...

:( So true.

Sigh... some day.

Anonymous said...

I just love it when straight people give me the 'It's not important/just a piece if paper' line.........

Syrlinus said...

If it's just a piece of paper, then let's make it civil unions for all (opposite or same sex). Marriage will be done by the church if you want that. All rights (to pay taxes, domestic wills, etc.) will be given to the civil unions.

This ensures separation of church and state and everyone gets to live as they want, how they want.