First of all, I am not gay, but I am not against homosexuality. I am concerned about the success and tactics of the movement. What is the biggest reason people want same sex marriage? I would say that it is so homosexuals who are also religious can get married in the church, and be able to have it recognized "by god." But I see this as partial insanity because the bible contradicts this idea, and many Christians will not recognize it as valid.
So are gays wanting to change the religious/political construct of marriage, and get churches to accept this? To me, this is a losing battle because it clearly does state in the bible that homosexuality is wrong. I do not agree with this stance, but it seems to be written into the moral code of Christians, and several other religions that recognize marriage. I think it would be more effective if gays were to focus on marriage rights than it is to focus on what it is "called." If they started a movement that did not involve the word marriage at all, it could be more effective. People clearly don't like the term "civil union." It does sound cold, like going and getting paperwork drawn up or something that dry. I am not against "gay marriage," because I am not religious, nor do I think it is wrong. But what I am saying is I think this is a losing battle (legally) because it involves trying to change religion's deep-seated moral constructs. There has to be a better way to increase the rights of homosexuals, and prioritize one step at a time-from a political strategist's perspective. I'm very curious about what you think!
I think the movement is less spiritual than that; much of it is purely legal, with more emphasis on the family than the faith (see NOM's (National Organization for Marriage) website to observe this view). There is the element where LGBTQ people and their allies argue over whether Jesus/God/whomever ACTUALLY hated homosexuality; this is a widely publicized view, which as a gay atheist, is supremely irritating. Queer spirtualists/theists tend fight that fire with their own, in part to show that not the entirety of the oppositional faith system is oppositional (see inclusive Christianity), and also in part because they are not secularists and not likely denounce someone else's faith in place of their own.
At an upcoming MBLGTAC Conference (Midwestern Bisexual Lesbian Gay Transgender Ally College Conference), I hope to head a seminar on Gaytheism, to talk about how, instead of reconciling faith and sexuality, we should step back to reflect on WHY we're attempting to do so, instead of questioning faith itself. (and then inevitably we'll get on the topic of why secularism/atheism is really queer-positive and should be brought to the front burner of our efforts)
As a gay atheist I don't see why I should be prevented from having a civil same sex marriage in a registry office especially when it has nothing to do with religion. Same sex marriage isn't just prevented in churches its prevented for the non-relgious as well. I don't agree that the religious should have any control over the rights of the non-relgious like this.
In Ireland, we already have civil unions, but we call them Civil Partnerships. They don't give you the same rights as marriage. When the bill was first proposed they claimed that it would have the same rights so we would back down on the fight for marriage equality, but it does not have the same rights. Even with the civil partnership a same sex couple cannot legally adopt as a couple, only a single parent can adopt a couple if they are not in a straight marriage. Which means the child would only have one legal guardian. So you can image how many parents would feel comfortable giving up their child for only one guardian.
If a straight couple gets married in a registry office, they are regarded as a married couple, not partnership or whatever. What am I going to do, get down on one knee and say to my boyfriend "Would you partnership me?" Its insulting. I will ask him to marry me, the same as I would do do a woman if I was straight.
Calling it something else only complicates the matter, lets keep it simple call it marriage. Redefine marriage as two human beings of consenting age if we have to. The religious just want to claim ownership over an institution they never had ownership of in the first place. They don't own the rights to the word marriage.
I'm not fighting for same sex marriage for the sake of being obscene, I just want to be able to get married under civil law the same as a straight couple can.
Seconded on all fronts.
I agree: call all these unions civil unions and once they are united, they can call it a "marriage" whether done in a church or not.
I would say that it is so homosexuals who are also religious can get married in the church, and be able to have it recognized "by god."
I think you are way off here.
The reason LGBT people want equal rights in terms of marriage is because a civil union does NOT afford the same rights, protections and legal benefits that a marriage does.
Married couples have 1,138 federal rights, protections and responsibilities such as:
- Social Security benefits upon death, disability or retirement of spouse, as well as benefits for minor children.
- Family and Medical Leave protections to care for a new child or a sick or injured family member
- Workers' Compensation protections for the family of a worker injured on the job
- Access to COBRA insurance benefits so the family doesn't lose health insurance when one spouse is laid off
- ERISA (Employee Retirement Income Security Act) protections such as the ability to leave a pension, other than Social Security, to your spouse
- Exemptions from penalties on IRA and pension rollovers
- Exemptions from estate taxes when a spouse dies
- Exemptions from federal income taxes on spouse's health insurance
- The right to visit a sick or injured loved one, have a say in life and death matters during hospitalization.
Civil unions are different from civil marriage and that difference has wide-ranging implications that make the two institutions unequal, such as:
Marriages are respected state to state for all purposes but questions remain as to how civil unions will be treated in other states. The two appellate courts that have addressed the issue in Connecticut and Georgia have disregarded them based on the fact that their own states do not grant civil unions.
According to a 1997 General Accounting Office report, civil marriage brings with it at least 1,049 legal protections and responsibilities from the federal government alone. Civil unions bring none of these critical legal protections.
Taxes and Public Benefits for the Family:
Because the federal government does not respect civil unions, a couple with a civil union will be in a kind of limbo with regard to governmental functions performed by both state and federal governments, such as taxation, pension protections, provision of insurance for families, and means-tested programs like Medicaid. Even when states try to provide legal protections, they may be foreclosed from doing so in joint federal/state programs.
Filling Out Forms:
Every day we fill out forms that ask us whether we are married, single, divorced or widowed. People joined in a civil union do not fit in any of those categories. People with civil unions should be able to identify themselves as a single family unit yet misrepresenting oneself on official documents can be considered fraud and can carry potential serious criminal penalties.
Separate and Unequal—Second Class Status:
Even if there were no substantive differences in the way the law treated marriages and civil unions, the fact that a civil union remains a separate status only for gay people represents real and powerful inequality. The United States Constitution requires legal equality for all. Including lesbian and gay couples within existing marriage laws in is the fairest and simplest thing to do.
Ending a Civil Union:
If you are married, you can get divorced in any state in which you are a resident. But if states continue to disregard civil unions, there is no way to end the relationship other than establishing residency in Vermont and filing for dissolution there. This has already created problems for couples who now have no way to terminate their legal agreement.
A time will arrive in Ireland and elsewhere when we will look back on ourselves and ask “Why did it take so long to get to this place”? It is only about human rights. The church should have no say in the matter because state marriage is not a religious matter. If 2 people want to get married in a church because of their religion that’s fine with me. If two people want to get married in a registry office or on the 18 tee or on the beach then is should not be seen by the state as any different from a legal standing whether they are gay or not . This is because marriage should not be about sexuality any more that it is about ones ‘religion. The legal document with both names on it should enshrine the same legal status and benefits to all couples equally.
We would be there now and this “debate” settled generations ago if it was not for the despotic power of the church. We should have done the “looking back” so long ago that this conversation should not be required. We are getting there. A recent poll (sorry no reference to hand) suggested that the majority of Irish people were in favour of gay marriage. It still annoys me though that people have to be “in favour of it” when it should just be the norm and not even need to be discussed. Anyway, marriage is a legal contract between two people and sexuality should have nothing to do with it. Until we get to the “looking back” stage it remains a human rights issue.
Actually, I think it's just that "Straight people have it; we should have it, too." I'm sure many (and maybe most) gays are atheists and don't want marriage for religious reasons.
This way of thinking isn't unprecedented. Feminists fought for "Ms." so that they, too, could have a form of address that was marriage status-neutral like the "Mr." men had.
BTW, did you ever wonder why "Ms." has a period? It's not an abbreviation for anything. The only reason is that "Mr." has one and so to be equal with what men have, "Ms." has a period, too.
Anyway, as for gay marriage—more correctly, "same-sex marriage"—they want it because they want it and they are entitled to want what they want.
Actually marriage historically has not been the sole province of religion. It's a common social construct and different cultures have had entirely different ideas of who (or what!) can be partners in such. The churches are the intruders into a personal decision and have used it to control social relationships. Is this such a surprise? The homosexual community simply wants the same social recognition and legal status that are granted to heterosexual marriages. I'm sure there are few members of that community with religious leaning that would want the recognition by their faith, but it's not a requirement.
"Marriage" is a legal/social term and not a religious one. And the United States, legally and as a matter of public policy, is a secular nation. Statutes do not depend on changing the beliefs and practices of any given religion. Several lower Federal courts have already ruled the "Defense of Marriage Act" as unconstitutional.
And, no, I'm not gay either.
I don't think this has anything to do with religion. Marriage is a legal construct, currently defined (in Australia at least) as being between a man and a woman. The Australian government are saying that the law will be changed to reflect the importance of civil unions. I just think it will be easier and more maintainable to change the definition of marriage to be between two people. That way it needs to only be mentioned once in law and it will apply to "gay marriage" as well as "straight marriage".
For an analogy: defining civil unions and giving civil unions the same bonuses that marriage currently has is like taking the scenic route on a reeeeaaaalllly long road trip... it would be faster to just go the direct way, and you will probably get lost on the scenic route anyway.
P.S. please correct me if I am wrong... I am neither gay nor religious so I don't claim to know what I am talking about is fact.
Definitely not the way I see it. What gays are asking for is the right to marry (as in have their unions legally recognized and get the same legal benefits as straight married couples).
As with any couple getting married having a religious ceremony is a personal choice and gays (like straight's already do) should seek out a church who accepts them and their lifestyle to be married at. (A catholic church in Oregon refused to marry my cousin because she was already living with her fiance.)
I recall a few weeks ago a church refused to marry an african-american couple.... probably a prime example of the church's ability to pick who they like.
I wouldn't have it any other way. If they want to reveal what asses and bigots they are, that can only help. The same religious freedom that protects them protects us.