No more Mr. Nice Gay

All over the USA, people are protesting against Proposition 8, which stripped gay people of the right to marry in California. Three other states (Arkansas, Florida and Arizona) held similar referenda, with similar results.

Andrew Sullivan has dedicated his blog to that topic today, posting photos and stories submitted by his readers. It makes for an interesting read.
 
photo credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty, via Sullivan

The title of this post comes from one protester’s placard, pictured here.

Here’s one of my photos, from the 2006 gay pride parade, here in Ottawa. I’m with you in spirit, folks!

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8 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Isaac
    Nov 16, 2008 @ 10:04:46

    I’m not sure I support that, being a christian and all. In acts it says that the reason people who are gay exist is because God cursed a number of people who were sinning against him.

    I’m not sure If I do either because It’s a persons right to have a different sexuality.

    It’s all so confusing to me 😦

    Reply

  2. Jack
    Nov 16, 2008 @ 17:53:32

    Prop 8 will be overturned, one way or another. People are entitled to their opinion, but I fail to see why same sex marriage is a problem.

    I believe that homosexuality is genetic. The argument that it is a choice doesn’t make sense to me.

    Reply

  3. Stephen
    Nov 17, 2008 @ 17:58:55

    Isaac:
    The basic question is whether the government should make laws based on religious teachings. After all, not all citizens are Christians.

    If same sex marriage were legal in the USA — as it is here in Canada already — government would be allowing individuals to decide for themselves who to marry. To decide for themselves what is wrong and what is right.

    It would mean that government was treating all of its citizens the same. Right now, heterosexual couples get special treatment from the American government.

    Not very long ago (40 years or so) black people couldn’t marry white people in the USA. There was a law against it. Now that seems offensive to us. People should decide for themselves who to marry.

    If the USA had a government of Christians, by Christians, for Christians, maybe biblical teaching should be taken into account. But it’s a government of the people, by the people, for the people.

    “People” is inclusive. It includes Christians, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Wiccan, atheists, and whoever else is out there. They’re all citizens equally.

    The government shouldn’t impose Christian morals on everyone else — that’s my view.

    Reply

  4. nebcanuck
    Nov 18, 2008 @ 16:56:28

    The biggest concern I have regarding the gay marriage issue is one of terminology. For all intents and purposes, I don’t see a problem with homosexuals being given the ability to get tax exemptions in the case of a dependency relationship, like any other couple. But the term “marriage” is rooted deeply in Christian (and other religious) culture. For that reason, I still maintain the position that the state should stick to the term “civil union”, and emphasize that it is an economic choice, rather than having any sort of connection to religion.

    I’m curious, though, when exactly it was that the state began giving out marriage certificates? Studying Soviet History, it was largely connected to the communist movement over there. But why and when did it occur here in Canada and the States, where religiosity was at least tentatively embraced?

    Reply

  5. Stephen
    Nov 18, 2008 @ 21:50:16

    Here’s an excerpt from the Wikipedia entry on marriage. As you will see, many of the details are in dispute:

    From the early Christian era, marriage was thought of as primarily a private matter, with no religious or other ceremony being required. [citation needed]

    Prior to 1545, Christian marriages in Europe were by mutual consent, declaration of intention to marry and upon the subsequent physical union of the parties. [citation needed] The couple would promise verbally to each other that they would be married to each other; the presence of a priest or witnesses was not required. …

    One of the functions of churches from the Middle Ages was to register marriages, which was not obligatory. There was no state involvement in marriage and personal status, with these issues being adjudicated in ecclesiastical courts. …

    In the early modern period, John Calvin and his Protestant colleagues reformulated Christian marriage by enacting the Marriage Ordinance of Geneva, which imposed “The dual requirements of state registration and church consecration to constitute marriage” for recognition. That was the first state involvement in marriage. [citation needed]

    In England and Wales, Lord Hardwicke’s Marriage Act 1753 … required a marriage ceremony to be officiated by an Anglican priest in the Anglican Church with two witnesses and registration. The Act did not apply to Jewish marriages or those of Quakers, whose marriages continued to be governed by their own customs.

    In England and Wales, since 1837, civil marriages have been recognised as a legal alternative to church marriages under the Marriage Act 1836.

    In Germany, civil marriages were recognised in 1875. This law permitted a declaration of the marriage before an official clerk of the civil administration … and allowed an optional private clerical marriage ceremony.

    So there you have it. A relatively “modern” custom, in fact.

    I don’t agree with the proposal that gay couples should be restricted to “civil unions” while the word “marriage” would continue to be reserved for heterosexual couples. The concept, “separate but equal” is just another form of discrimination. It implies that same sex couples are not worthy of the institution of marriage — and it would be the (supposedly non-Christian) state making that determination.

    I would support a distinction between “civil marriage” and “Christian marriage” (or Jewish or Muslim or whatever marriage). Note this paragraph, already quoted from Wikipedia:

    In England and Wales, since 1837, civil marriages have been recognised as a legal alternative to church marriages.

    The government of Canada says it won’t force churches to solemnize same sex marriages, and I hope Canadian courts will respect that arrangement as a matter of freedom of religion.

    Of course, some churches (e.g. the United Church of Canada) will agree to marry same sex couples. So same sex couples can enter into Christian marriages — they just have to find a church that is OK with it.

    Reply

  6. Juggling mother
    Nov 19, 2008 @ 15:42:03

    I,ve recently been studying the history of marriage (don’t ask – legal qualifications require a lot of background knowledge in the UK!), and the reason the state started regulating marriage is because once there were legal rules reagrding married people, there needed to be a legal definition of marriage, and, frankly, the church one was a bit, um, loose & variable!

    I actually understand the semantics argument – I shied away from marriage for many years because of the religious connotations. The availability of a civil ceremony mollified me slightly, but I married for the legal definition, not the religious one. I asked if we could have a civil partnership (which is what single sex certified relationships are called in the UK) but was told that was only available to single sex couples. Male/female couples had to be married:(

    I still sometimes find it a little embarressing to tell people I am married – it implies a belief that I do not hold. But equally, I wanted to have a “ceremony” to tell the world that we were more than dating! Plus, the legal ramifications of living together vs marriage/civil partnership are enormous.

    I would favour a complete split of state ratified partnerships – open to everyone, and religious marraiges, open to members of that religion. Many people would have to go through both of course, as the legal ramifications could only apply to the state ratified partnership – as is currently the case here with many religions!

    Reply

  7. nebcanuck
    Nov 19, 2008 @ 19:07:07

    Dad:

    I don’t agree with the proposal that gay couples should be restricted to “civil unions” while the word “marriage” would continue to be reserved for heterosexual couples. The concept, “separate but equal” is just another form of discrimination. It implies that same sex couples are not worthy of the institution of marriage — and it would be the (supposedly non-Christian) state making that determination.

    I would support a distinction between “civil marriage” and “Christian marriage” (or Jewish or Muslim or whatever marriage).

    Sorry. I should have been more clear.

    I meant that civil unions should be any state marriages, homosexual or heterosexual, while “marriage” would be a term reserved for religious purposes. That’s all. Pretty much exactly what Juggling Mother described when she said:

    I would favour a complete split of state ratified partnerships – open to everyone, and religious marraiges, open to members of that religion. Many people would have to go through both of course, as the legal ramifications could only apply to the state ratified partnership – as is currently the case here with many religions!

    I’m not sure about the legal ramifications… I would imagine a church could have in place the means to file for the legal stuff automatically upon a religious marriage. But ultimately that’s what I’d go for in a state where one religion isn’t the rule.

    I should specify though, that I don’t agree with Soviet policy to discourage religious marriages. Nor do I think that it is necessary for ceremonies to be developed that replace religious niceties. The goal shouldn’t be to promote secularism/atheism any more than other religions. It should simply be to offer certain financial benefits that would otherwise be closed to nonreligious people.

    Reply

  8. Juggling mother
    Nov 20, 2008 @ 03:21:56

    “I would imagine a church could have in place the means to file for the legal stuff automatically upon a religious marriage”

    In the UK, some religions do, and some don’t. It depends on how much their rules much up with the legal ones – some religions allow marriage without consent, underage, bigamously or with no time lapse – all illegal under English Law.

    Some religions match their procedures up with the law & their officers are registrars and can register the marriage. Some religions run the two procedures side by side so by the time the religious ceremony takes place, the civil procedures have already been completed and the marriage can be registered. Some religions ignore the legal procedures all together and participants have to go through totally separate “marriages” for each aspect.

    Reply

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