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Author Topic: Gay Marriage: Inciting a backlash, or dragging along too slowly?  (Read 641018 times)

Offline Alex

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Re: Gay Marriage
« Reply #15 on: December 28, 2005, 01:14:49 AM »
Here is an editorial from the Star Tribune of Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota - http://www.startribune.com/stories/1519/5803900.html

Editorial: Can gay cowboys find true equality?

Sometimes a popular film meets politics at just the right moment ("The China Syndrome" and the Three Mile Island nuclear accident in 1979 come to mind), and now it may have happened again, perhaps in a more important way.

In the coming weeks, "Brokeback Mountain" will spread from major cities into the heartland, and millions of Americans will line up to see what's being called the "gay cowboy movie" -- although it's more accurately a classic story of forbidden love and of lives wasted because of the world's narrow conventions.

This is a quiet, nonpreachy film. Its power lies in the ordinariness of the characters. They are common ranch hands who, in 1963, become clumsy, inarticulate lovers, incapable of analyzing the surprising turn in their lives or the toll inflicted on their families over 20 years' time.

What thoughtful audiences will be forced to decide is whether the nation should continue to marginalize and devalue the commitments of couples who happen to be gay. Should it, for example, constitutionally ban "gay marriage"? In the coming months, the Minnesota Legislature will get obsessive over this topic. The governor and other politicians will try to convince you that same-sex marriage would be a terrible threat to your marriage, and to the wider civil order.

Our view is, first, that the right words should be employed in this dispute. It's not about "marriage" in the way most Minnesotans think of it. That happens in a church or synagogue where a sacrament or religious bond is invoked. Some religions should (and will) continue to define marriage as only between a man and woman.

The state's interest is different. Its interest is in the forging of committed relationships that protect health, promote stability and provide equal protection and equal rights under the law. It has no interest in discriminating, in any of these areas, against committed same-sex couples. None. Indeed, it's outrageous, we think, that any state would continue to deny these couples the legal rights and obligations (inheritance, adoption, child support, etc.) that married couples enjoy. Minnesota, in other words, should leave the marriage business to religion and get into the civil partnership business.

Civil partnership far better describes what this issue is about. Universal tolerance of gayness cannot be compelled. Religious belief about what constitutes sin is not being challenged. The central question is whether government can continue to deny equal rights to a whole class of citizens.

The importance of "Brokeback Mountain" is that it offers to large, ambivalent audiences a lens through which can be seen the tragedy of having to live secret lives. Ang Lee's quiet film captures well the profound sadness of Annie Proulx's original 1997 story. All the two cowboys really want is a small ranch in a remote corner of Wyoming, not a "lifestyle" in South Beach. They don't want to promote anything. The question that lingers is how exactly their happiness, acceptance and equality under the law would threaten others' marriage. Or whether the greater threat to American liberty is to continue to deny them the equality that is rightfully theirs.
« Last Edit: December 28, 2005, 03:03:04 AM by Alex »
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Offline jack

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Re: Gay Marriage
« Reply #16 on: December 28, 2005, 02:49:26 AM »
oh my alex, that was a fabulous catch.  it is so good to hear words like that at a time like this, and not coming from same gay rights guru.  thank so for sharing it with us.
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Offline Alex

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Re: Gay Marriage
« Reply #17 on: December 28, 2005, 03:31:04 AM »
oh my alex, that was a fabulous catch.  it is so good to hear words like that at a time like this, and not coming from same gay rights guru.  thank so for sharing it with us.

Jack, you're welcome. It is refreshing to read this type of editorial from other newspapers aside from the New York Times. I'm going to email the article to everyone I know.  And, here's what I suggest. We should all write positive "Letters to the Editors" to let them how we feel.  Here is the link - http://www.startribunecompany.com/143.
There was some open space between what he knew and what he tried to believe, but nothing could be done about it, and if you can't fix it you've got to stand it.

Offline adamblast

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Re: Gay Marriage
« Reply #18 on: December 29, 2005, 03:19:04 PM »
Thanks for sharing your situation, [username removed by request], my heart goes out to you and your family.  If you've read much on this site, you'll see that this film brings out "the truth" in many of our lives, and leaves us needing to talk about them with someone, anyone...  I think I've read more sad tales here than any forum I've visited.

I don't have much in the way of council, other than to warn you against being *too* sure you understand the hidden factors in your husband's oddly passionless approach to your marriage. 

Yes, it may well be that he is, like Ennis, both gay and deeply, unalterably homophobic.  (I know that I'll be battling such internalized homophobia all my life, and may never find the happy/healthy gay love life I deserve.)  There could be any number of other things which can shut a man off, however.  The world is full of emotionally crippled men, trained all too well that chinks in the armor can mean danger and death.

Just about my only advice is to find your own support network, and to be sure to take care of yourself.  If you wind up having to broach these taboo topics with your husband, make sure not to do it from some "pet theory" standpoint, as if you know him better than he knows himself.  What man will own up to that?

Edit: username removed by request
« Last Edit: March 06, 2006, 08:35:22 PM by adamblast »

Offline WLAGuy

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Re: Gay Marriage
« Reply #19 on: December 29, 2005, 04:59:38 PM »
Your post packed quite a wallop with me, as I'm sure it will for others here.  Had things turned out differently for me, that could have been me in your husband's position.  I'm sorry you've had to deal with this situation all these years, but I'm glad you at least found this site, where a good many people understand what you're going through. 

You've got a good bit of work ahead of you, and I agree with the other posters who recommended you talk to a marriage counselor, or at least a therapist who can help you sort out your feelings. 

That said, there are a couple of practical concerns you may want to think about (and the only "right" answer is what's right for you). 

The first question is, what would you do if your husband told you he was gay?  Assuming you would want a divorce, you mentioned that your children are teenagers -- would you want to stay married until your youngest is 18, or are they mature enough to be able to handle a divorce now? 

The second question is, what would you do if your husband told you he was not gay?  From the sound of it, there are serious problems with your relationship -- assuming your husband is not gay and there is a chance the problems can be fixed, are you willing to invest the time and energy necessary to fix them?  In other words, do you think the relationship is still salvageable? 

Again, there are no "right" answers to these questions.  The only "right" answer is what your heart tells you.  Having myself grown up with parents that had a very unhappy relationship, I think the only "wrong" choice would be to do nothing.  You (and your husband) both deserve better than what you have now. 

Finally, you mentioned feeling anger at feeling "used" all these years.  While your feelings are what they are, and no one else can tell you how you should be feeling, there may be another way of looking at the situation.  If your husband really is gay, as you suspect, he may very well have not realized this until after your marriage, and in reality been doing his best all these years to live up the promises he made you, and to take care of his responsibility towards your children, rather than using you to hide from the truth. 

I hope this helps somewhat.  Please let us know how you are doing.

Joe aka WLAGuy
« Last Edit: March 06, 2006, 08:23:20 PM by WLAGuy »

Offline delb

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Re: Gay Marriage
« Reply #20 on: December 29, 2005, 05:04:07 PM »


also for me very moving to read what you have to experience at this moment. Must indeed be a hard time for you and also for your husband, in case your guess is right.
I am a gay man still married to his wife, though we are living seperated for six years now. Since I was a little boy I kind of knew that I was different, but never ever could even think about being a gay person. Because what I always wanted was to make a family. I found a wonderful woman, fell in love, married, got two lovely daughters and during 9 years struggeled and fighted against what I felt inside. (Sorry, my English....) Looking back, I have to admit that it sometimes was hell, knowing that a huge part of the life I was living simply was wrong. Of course there were good times too, when the kids grew older and made us such proud parents.
Though it became more and more difficult for me to deny my homosexuality the hardest and most impossible thing seemed to me to tell her about it. I can't tell how ashamed I felt all that time and even now it sometimes hits me out of the blue. May be I never would have told her until now, but when I fell in love with a man for the first time there was no other way than telling her the truth. What a bitter moment for the two of us, but also such a big relief for both. We were able to think about our lives and very slowly tried to make a new start in different directions. That's six years ago now, somehow it happened that I'm living with the girls now and she has her own life not far from us. We still spend much time together as a family but are free to build new relationships if we want to.

Don't know if this can help in any way, just my thoughts by reading your story. My very best wishes for you.....
« Last Edit: March 04, 2006, 08:53:54 AM by delb »

Offline dallaskweer

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Re: Gay Marriage
« Reply #21 on: December 31, 2005, 05:49:22 AM »
For those of you living in blue states or outside the Bible Belt, let me give you fair warning.

Hilary will NEVER NEVER carry one red state down here...NEVER. And if you keep using the M word...marriage...you are going to shoot yourselves in the foot every two years during election cycles, presidential or congressional.

I am liberal Bostonian who somehow found himself living in Texas. You would not believe the mindset down here about ANYTHING NOT white, Protestant, and straight.

Bill Clinton snuck by his first go around because he had a drawl and seemed very moderate..."It's the economy, stupid." Hilary's true colors came to light later and let me just suggest that down here, they think of her as Hanoi Jane.

We will continue to elect these fascists who will eventually try to encamp us if we don't get REALLY PRACTICAL and fast. The Blue States are losing population. The Red States are growing. Do the math. And Latinos do not like fags, as a culture, in general.

Sorry this is harsh but I am really tired of my liberal brothers and sisters touting Hilary Hilary Hilary....she just ain't gonna get elected.

Offline chiaros

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Re: Gay Marriage
« Reply #22 on: December 31, 2005, 07:55:41 AM »
Well,

Here's an article to stir the pot.  Not that it says anything we don't already know - rather, it reinforces how abhorrently certain conservative, straight societies/people can behave.

http://jscms.jrn.columbia.edu/cns/2005-12-27/torrisi-gaycowboys

Chiaros.
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Offline jim ...

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Re: Gay Marriage
« Reply #23 on: December 31, 2005, 09:01:52 PM »
Well, okay, Dave, since you asked.   ::) 

  We are not part of a society that expects us to marry, settle down, raise children, buy houses in the suburbs and attend PTA meetings.  Because we are not, each of us has to basically feel our own way through life, and I think a great many of us basically end up stuck in a stage that for the majority of the straight community is a passing phase on the way to adulthood.  I think that's also why you are more likely to see gay men in lower-paying jobs with less authority.  There is usually no mortgage to worry about, and no children to feed and clothe and send to school, and hence no pressure to pursue the jobs that pay more.

While I certainly see your point here WLAGuy, I'm not sure that our rights to marry, raise children and buy homes ... etc., necessarily have a bearing on gay men in lower-paying jobs.  I know plenty of gay men that work in positions of authority and earn a handsome income. I would like to hope that it's the individual's drive and ambition that rewards anyone (gay or straight) financially, rather than societies expectations.

I too feel that gay men and women should be afforded the same rights as our straight friends. As someone had mentioned earlier on this thread, it's important how we move the gay agenda. I do believe that our straight allies are our greatest asset.  In being overly militant in our quest for equal rights, we possibly run the risk of alienating more than only the conservative right-wingers.  We live in a predominantly homophobic culture and although there are many of us that would like "immediate results", I for one am not sure we should expect them anytime in the near future.  I can't help but wonder that if we push too hard and are overly ferocious in our demands, that it will backfire and more of this country will jump on the conservative bandwagon.  We have made tremendous progress over the last 50 or so years. Perhaps treading lightly (as much as I really hate the thought of that) and letting movies like BBM help middle America re-think their position about gays and their rights, is a viable way to proceed.  Real growth takes time I'm willing to take that time if it means real change.


Offline mary

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Re: Gay Marriage
« Reply #24 on: December 31, 2005, 09:49:53 PM »
I too feel that gay men and women should be afforded the same rights as our straight friends. As someone had mentioned earlier on this thread, it's important how we move the gay agenda. I do believe that our straight allies are our greatest asset. 

jim
I'm one if the straight folks willing to help, and sometime just wondering how.
As a woman in my 40's I can recall women being denied a lot of opportunities (ex. when I was a teen ager I somehow got on a bunch of military academy lists as 'mark' The were recruiting me hard. Then they discovered I was a 'mary' That was the end of that.)
So to me some of this is 'payback'  Women would not have made some of the strides they have with out the help of fair minded men who saw the simple justice in equal right for women. Same concept applies here as far as I am concerned, simple justice.
« Last Edit: January 01, 2006, 12:37:43 AM by mary »
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Offline Fish

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Re: Gay Marriage
« Reply #25 on: January 01, 2006, 07:19:13 PM »
I apologize if this has been addressed elsewhere, but could someone please enlighten me on the differences between "gay marriage" and "gay civil unions"?  The editorial above made it a bit clearer but I honestly have be puzzled about this and have not found a good set of definitions anywhere.  I want to be crystal-clear when arguing with friends in favor of gay marriage/unions.  Thanks!
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Offline MellorSJ

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Re: Gay Marriage
« Reply #26 on: January 01, 2006, 07:42:15 PM »
I apologize if this has been addressed elsewhere, but could someone please enlighten me on the differences between "gay marriage" and "gay civil unions"?  The editorial above made it a bit clearer but I honestly have be puzzled about this and have not found a good set of definitions anywhere.  I want to be crystal-clear when arguing with friends in favor of gay marriage/unions.  Thanks!

As always, it's a matter of definition.  The most common (I think) definition in the US is that "gay marriage" is exactly equal in all respects to straight marriage, but gay civil unions are a form of contract recognized in certain limited ways and jurisdictions.  A straight civil union or "domestic partnership", for example, is recognized by some companies (Disney, for example) for health insurance purposes (as are gay ones--my point was to illustrate.)  Outside of the company, jurisdiction (whatever) a civil union would not be regarded as a marriage.  In other words, "marriage" is a special type of contract enshrined in law that provides a multitude of rights and priviliges (inheritance, hospital visitation/decision making, etc.); civil union does not.

There is also the value of the word.  If the US were define a gay civil union as in all respects equivalent to straight marriage, for some that would not be sufficient.  It's GOT to be "marriage".  Personally, I think that makes the perfect the enemy of the very very good.

Offline Hotoddy

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Re: Gay Marriage
« Reply #27 on: January 01, 2006, 07:59:44 PM »
For some of us marriage implies a religious marriage and civil union the non religious version.  In Great Britain now, civil unions are the same as marriage except  they are not performed in a religious establishment.  By not calling it marriage you can get into the whole separate but equal  (not really equal) discussion. Depending on my mood I'm all for MARRIAGE and the next minute wish 'they' would stop using that word and call it civil union.   ???
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Offline MellorSJ

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Re: Gay Marriage
« Reply #28 on: January 01, 2006, 11:43:13 PM »
For some of us marriage implies a religious marriage and civil union the non religious version.  In Great Britain now, civil unions are the same as marriage except  they are not performed in a religious establishment.  By not calling it marriage you can get into the whole separate but equal  (not really equal) discussion. Depending on my mood I'm all for MARRIAGE and the next minute wish 'they' would stop using that word and call it civil union.   ???

Understood.  And I think that would be a perfect solution in the US too.  Civil union would be blessed by the state (which has no business discriminating against any one of its citizens), and marriage would be blessed by a church (maybe even a gay one :).

But the implication would be that some people who are currently "married" by the state, but not in a church wouldn't be married under this definition.  There are ways to grandfather them in, I suppose.

IOW, I agree completely.

Here's a question though.  Let's say Elton emigrated to the US.  Could his husband enter the country as Elton's spouse under US law?

If I were leading this charge in the US, I'd promote civil unions (i.e. not call them marriage), but under the clear understanding that a civil union confers exactly the same rights as does marriage today.  A bit sneaky, but it would allow the people who claim they have no "problem with gay people", but just deal with them being "married" to maintain their contradictions, while getting everything we want, except the word.  The word would follow, as soon as people started asking "but what's the difference?"

Offline adamblast

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Re: Gay Marriage
« Reply #29 on: January 02, 2006, 12:33:21 AM »
MellorSJ, it's really not an either/or question in terms of gay marriage vs. civil unions...   Yes, it's very true that America is far more likely to grant gays civil unions than full legalized marriage.  And if the rights and responsibilies of civil unions are equal (or near-equal) to that of marriage, it would be a huge step.  The sad fact is that gay couples today are legally *so* devalued and maligned that their relationships have basically no standing whatsoever--so even gay civil unions are a vast improvement.  Most gay folks, including gay activists, would be very glad to see gay couples given increased legal rights, even under the banner of civil unions. 

But don't forget for a second that, while it may be better than the *nothing* we have now, it is also a severe compromise--in effect an enshrining of second-class relationships.  By saying our couplehoods don't deserve the name "real marriage" society is also telling us we are inferior, and that they can take those rights away from us again whenever they choose.  It's a legal apartheid system, seperate and unequal.  So it's hard to tell gay folks they should be pushing for civil unions instead of marriage, even if it is the politically more realistic move today.

It's hard to get behind a civil rights crusade for "near-equality."
« Last Edit: January 02, 2006, 12:41:28 AM by adamblast »