14
Nov

You better do as we ask or else… a different approach to the gay marriage debate

If you happen to be one of the lucky, o I don’t know, three dozen or so who received an email from me yesterday with a link to a video clip, you’ll probably now it by now. If not, here is the gist of it.

I frelling love this clip from College Humor about gay marriage. I wish it were a tv-commercial that could have aired in the four states with same-sex questions on the ballot. If you have followed the elections, or read my blog, you’ll know that all 4 approved gay marriage (or rejected a ban on same-sex marriages.)

But as the cute guy in the clip says, there is still a lot of work to be done.

Even with the inclusion of the three states that have now approved same-sex marriages through ballot initiatives, the total number of states in the U.S. where gay marriage is fully legal is ten. And this number hasn’t really increased over the past years, not only that, but in comparison to when I did my thesis on the legal issues involved with same-sex marriage, some states have even gone backwards – yes I’m looking at you California.

Now, I am very happy that finally same-sex ballot measures were approved by the electorate, but those victories at the ballot box didn’t come easy. I mean, more people voted in favour of legalizing Marijuana than those who voted in favor of gay marriages. That stings.

What stings even more is the number of states who have approved constitutional amendments banning same-sex marriages. For every state that has now legalized same-sex marriage, there are at least 3 s with a constitutional amendment limiting access to marriage (in total 34 states have a constitutional amendment). Of course, there are states, such as California, and Washington until now, where there are civil unions and same-sex couples can get married in almost everything but name. Not only that, but a civil union in one state isn’t the same as in another state. There are civil unions are in fact marriages without the name and all the rights and duties attached to the latter are included, but there are also states with civil unions where the partners are still very much ¬†discriminated against when it comes to the rights and duties they can¬†exercise.

Same-sex marriages by state (November 2012) via freedomtomarry.org

The constitutional amendments are an even bigger problem, not just in the fact that couples can’t get married, but because of the legal ramifications that can occur when people cross the border. You’ve all heard the stories about the lack of power of attorney when a couple goes on holiday or passes through a state with a constitutional amendment. But those things are accidental. The amendments, however, also bring forth criminal behaviour.

tIn my thesis I looked at the case of a lesbian couple, for instance, who were happily married and had a child together. The child was the natural baby of one of the parents and adopted as their own by the other woman. When the marriage ended after a couple of years, the woman moved a few cities further, across state lines where their marriage wasn’t recognized. Thus, in fact abducting the baby from her other legal parent. But seeing as how the state didn’t recognized the marriage, the other parent couldn’t possibly have any rights. As it stood, the states themselves were fighting it out amongst themselves, each one accusing the other of illegal behaviour.

I won’t get started on DOMA here. Let’s just hope that piece of overreaching constitutional legislation finally gets a hearing next year and gets striken down by the Supreme Court.

Of course it isn’t just the U.S. that is struggling with this issue. Same-sex marriage isn’t legal or even recognized in many places and even in Europe there are more countries that don’t recognize same-sex marriages than there are who support it. France, not exactly the most backward of places, for instance, is only now considering same-sex marriages and already mayors have stated that even if the bill passes, they won’t marry same-sex couples.

So still a lot of work to be done. I hope this tongue-in-cheek video will help. I don’t know that it will convince people, probably not, but it is a novel way to approach a loaded subject. Not only that, but it video is so true. As with everything, comedy works best when it’s modelled after real life, and what is more real life than woman drooling over gay men and straight men being jealous.