Marriage: It’s not for everybody, but it’s certainly for Daddies

November 11, 2008

I admit it, I’m queer. Gay. Bi. Homo. I’ve been all those and much more. I’ve even been happily, non-masturbatorily celibate for a year in my early twenties. But for just over four years now (our anniversary was October 10), I’ve been in a gay marriage. Queer marriage. Bi/gay marriage. Same-sex marriage.

Whatever you call it, I’m proud to admit that my marriage is by most standards unconventional. Two professional middle-aged Daddybears with two geriatric mutts who live in a house on a corner. We pay taxes, we volunteer, we always vote, we’re good neighbors. We were born in this country, and lived here all our lives.

So, other than the fact that we’re both dudes, in all other ways our married life is conventional. But our unconventionality is no reason my spouse and I should be denied the same civil marriage rights granted to the unmarried cross-sex couple who live next door. Why are they considered more worthy of civil marriage rights than our family?

As my husbear and I have been learning for nearly four years now, married life in a same-sex relationship is amazingly fulfilling.

Had it been possible 30 years ago that I could marry the man of my dreams, I would have. But many of us thought that, since gay/bi men were supposed to act like mansluts and fuck multiple partners, why would we want to settle down and get married?

So because society tells us that we’re innately incapable of creating loving families, we buy the lie. This “conventional wisdom” is circular logic: gay people are promiscuous (have multiple partners) because they can’t get legally married, and at the same time they’re denied the full status of civil marriage because society considers them promiscuous.

If civil marriage is proven to be of deep benefit to society, which is clearly the case, why then does its state and country not confer all those rights to all its citizens?

Because homophobic bigots in positions of power have made all the laws and are using them to discriminate against same-sex couples.

Mormon bigot, ex-gov, and prezzy also-ran Mitt Romney perpetuated a nasty bit of antigay discrimination by invoking a 1913 Massachusetts anti-miscegenation law. This was supposed to prevent out-of-state same-sex partners like us from receiving state marriage licenses, even though laws discriminating against racial minorities are illegal. We legally obtained a Massachusetts marriage license in any case, and recently thanks to Gov. Deval Patrick, the 1913 law that perpetuated marriage bigotry was struck down.

But queers should ask themselves, why have religious Rethuglicans like Romney done this? Because when gayfolk are individually empowered by the conveyance of civil rights, they use that power (financial and legal benefits) to create cultural and political change that goes against the interests of the existing heterosexual meritocracy.

Meanwhile, marriage is good, marriage is great. I endorse it. If you’re queer and nobody’s ever told you so before, let me share the good news: you can get married, if you want. Come to Connecticut or Massachusetts. Think about it: If all the older gay/bi/queer men found partners and got married and actually raised families, the country would be a much Daddier place. And that would be a really good thing.

Tags: Gay Marriage, Daddy's View
Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share this
View all posts by R. Jackson

Comments

I don't think society keeps gay couples from marriage due to a perception of promiscuity. Rather, I think the issue is both a history lesson and a religious problem. There is supposed to be a separation of church and state, at some level. But this separation fails in "marriage." As a former minister, I presided over a Christian ceremony. And at the conclusion, I acted as a state official and signed the marriage license. A justice of the peace conducts a state act and pronounce the couple "husband and wife" and frequently include religious expressions in the ceremony about two becoming one. It's a confusing mess.

There is ongoing debate and a lack of clarity as to whether marriage is a civil right, a fulfillment of a domestic partnership-- or whether it's a religious ceremony aligned with a notion of Adam and Eve (the "one man and one woman" clause in the New Testament).

If the state can join a man and a woman, give them legal status, and a set of rights, then they should grant similar standing to two men or two women. If a "marriage" is a religious act, then the religious have the right to define it as they please, but the state should get out of it. No matter which of those two points of views you take, homosexual couples should be permitted to take advantage of the state's ability to make two persons legally and financially bound to one another with certain corporate rights.

A short term solution is to endue domestic partnerships with all the rights of marriage and avoid the battles over the "m-word." As long as gays want the prestige of being party to a system that fails 50% of the time, then the battle will rage since the church and state issue is not likely to be sorted out any time soon.

Ultimately, voters understand "fairness" and it is the "fairness" agenda that will prevail and allow gay unions (with or without the m-word). Efforts to redefine marriage itself is a more complicated problem and will likely lead to many more long term debates and much heartache in the short term. For me, I'd like to start with domestic partnerships ASAP and let the m-word run its course.

As a gay man who started out in a heterosexual marriage which lasted 21 years, I have moments when being in a relationship with a man feels like I'm standing in two worlds. Because I, like most men in my generation, grew up in heterosexually based homes, my orientation was based on happiness be tied to the image of the male / female connection. After coming out of the heterosexual marriage, which was great in terms of just dealing with and learning what it really means to share a life with someone, I found it difficult to feel like I was on equal footing with most of the men I met. It took me almost 10 years to the day before I found a man who I truly felt understands what committment means.

Through hindsight and experience, I now recognize little things that most gay men couldn't understand about "marriage" because I truly know that the legal aspects is really all that matters from a social perspective, however, there is a psychological bonding that takes place when you're "with" someone who shares a connection that can only be disolved in a court of law. There is a kind of reality that is established when two people are recognized by the state as having the unrestricted right to acknowledge and act in behalf of a companion or partner. The divorce rate does prove that even in the straight world the right to marry never ever requires the proof of Love and therefore issues about the spiritual components are not about justification in the eyes of God or any spiritual being that I'm aware of.

Having grown up and lived through the challenges of segration, interracial marriage and now a gay relationship I can say without hesitation that the evolution of society is a slow, but necessary process that reshapes through successive generations of trial, error and education to overcome ignorances born of fear and intolerance. In addition, it is about the paying of dues to receive what is due when it comes to uncharted territories. Openly gay couples are the pioneers of a new social order and in time; new generations of gays will look back and wonder what it was like to have lived in the socio-sexual "dark ages" and just knowing that they will never fully understand what it was like makes this time in history a truly bitter sweet experience. To pay the price for what is right I look at today and say; "It's All Good".

The issue has been around for ages and I still don't get it: why would we want to ape an obsolete straight institution praised by the very people who hate us -clergy and the far-right ????

I do not see any any update here concerning the current battle in California on the attempt to overturn Proposition 8 which the Federal Court is hearing. The post by Bigbb both hits the mark and misses the point of gay marriage. It is not that GM (gay marriage) is and attempt to copy or ape a obsolete straight institution praised by people who hate us. GM is a recognition by gay men and women that they have chosen to live their lives in a committed relationship with another person who just happens to be of the same sex as them. It is a recognition that be yea straight or gay, you have the right to take advantage of the social institutions and laws without discrimination because of your choice in sexual partner.

Most people want to be in a commited relationship. they don't want to have to go and hunt down sex and emotional relationships. They like committment even if it changes from month to month or year to year. Perhaps we get it from our parents because they did not cast us aside and go to different children when we became stubborn or difficult. Maybe we are just just in love with the idea of being in love. Who knows, but certainly people feel an emotion that we probably universally call love for another human being. I am not sure if we all see it as the same emotion. But we all seem to feel something we would call love.

Over the centuries love has been redefined and grown and so has marriage. In the ancient past it was about blending families, property and future generations to rule countries and consolidate power. At some point in time loved entered the picture. When is open to discussion. However, while some men have lover after lover, most want a permanent or lasting relationship even if they are incapable of maintaining one.

I always wanted it. I grew up in a straight home with parents who loved each other and I believed in lasting love. My parents were married for 55 years until my father's death in his mid 80's. Maybe I am trying to replace my parents' marriage, but it is my right to do so. I do not want any law or religion to tell me or dictate that I can, have to, or can't get married and what the sex should or can be of my partner.

I was in a committed relationship for 15 years that only ended with his untimely death. Otherwise we would have been together forever. We loved each other. We were there for each other. We slept with each other and we had sex with each other. The question in the courts today is whether we had a constitutional right to get married if we wanted to. The long and the short of the issues is that we claim the law deprives us of our basic civil rights to marry the person of our choice.

It is not an issue of do we want to ride in the front or the back of the bus, it is that they don't want us to ride on their bus. If you chose not to ride on their bus, then fine. It is your decision. But I WANT ON THE BUS AND MY PARTNER DID TOO. We were not allowed on the bus and they later created separate but equal buses for us. It is just that the American tradition has taught us that anytime you have separate but equal, it is unamerican and never equal.

There are over 1000 rights that married people have that civil unions don't have or only have partially. The most important is the legal recognition of a committment and status as a legal union for life or until the courts of law terminate the union.

That right is based on two major proints in the law. Due process and the 14th amendment. Under those two laws, the US Supreme Court (the Supremes) have declared in Lawrence v. Texas in 2003, that we have the Constitutional right under those two laws to engage in sex with whomever we want if we are consenting adults in private. They declared the sodomy statutes of all states as unconstitutional. THIS IS EARTHSHATTERING NEWS. It was a rather under reported decision, but it had lots of amicus briefs filed by others.

Equality will probably come not from the legislatures of all the states, but by the broad stroke of the pen of a judicial decision. This great country fought a war over many issues back in the mid 1800's and one of the points was to end slavery and give all races their civil rights. Yet it took over a hundred years to allow separate but equal laws to fall and to allow blacks to sit anywhere on the bus. Separate but equal fell by JUDICIAL DECISION, not by any other action.

I myself personally, do not have another 100 years to wait for gay equality. I am old and would like to see it before my death. I do not want to copy or ape an obsolite stright institution. I want a marriage that my potential next partner and I can make between us that the law will recognize. I don't need your judgment concerning our decision to marry or not to marry. I need your help in gaining us equality to make our own mistakes and live our lives with the same right to marry or not to marry as everybody else has. I am not copying straight people or anyone. I want the right to marry if we so chose and for the law to give us our rights as a couple. I don't care if they call us a couple of faggots, but let us be married faggots if that is our choice.

If you don't want to marry, then don't get married. I found happiness and fulfillment in my unofficial marriage. I just wanted the legal rights that came along with it. My lover signed in the hospital documents and papers that gave me the right to visit and be with him while he was dying. His sister who was and is as close to me now as my own sister had to make the funeral arrangement because I was not the next of kin. She respected my wishes because she knew and understood. Thank God for her. Otherwise I might have lost my temper.

After this ranting and raving I guess you realize that we also ape lots of other obsolete straight institutions like raising children, dying, working for a living and other social and legal institutions. The beauty of it is that we get to pick and choose which ones we want and do not have society dictating to us which one we can participate in and whether our participation is limited by our "supposed friends and neighbors" opinions of us and what our civil rights are or should be.