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 A good friend of mine shared this post via her Facebook account and I just had to republish it here. 

Traditional Marriage Perverts the Tradition of Marriage
by Jeff Goode (Californian)

About a decade ago, as a young playwright, I was hired to write a script for the Renaissance Festival of Kansas City. It was a period piece about knights and jousts and intrigues of the court, building up to a lavish royal wedding between a prince and a princess, restoring peace to the troubled land.

This was one of my first professional writing assignments, so I was really excited about doing all the research and making sure that everything was historically accurate, especially the royal wedding which needed to follow all the traditions exactly.

Over a summer of research, I learned a lot of surprising facts about the history of marriage and weddings, but by far the most shocking discovery of all was that the tradition of marriage-as-we-know-it simply did not exist in those days. Almost everything we have come to associate with marriage and weddings — the white dress, the holy vows, the fancy cake and the birdseed — dates back a mere 50 or 100 years at the most. In many cases less.

And the handful of traditions that do go back farther than that are, frankly, horrifying. The tossing of the garter, for example, evolved from a 14th Century tradition of ripping the clothing off of the bride’s body as she left the ceremony in order to “loosen her up” for the wedding night. Wedding guests fought over the choicest bits of undergarment, with the garter being the greatest prize.

Savvy brides got in the habit of carrying extra garters in their bodice to throw to the male guests in hopes of escaping the ceremony with some shred of modesty intact!

It turns out that marriage, in days of old, was a barbaric custom which was little more than a crude exchange of livestock at its most civilized, and a little less than ritualized abduction at its worst. That’s why you’ll find no reference to white weddings in the Bible, or the union of one man and one woman. Because up until fairly recently, there was nothing religious about it.

You will of course find plenty of biblical bigamy, practiced by even the most godly of heroes– Noah, Abraham, David, Solomon — because that’s what marriage was in those days. Even in more enlightened New Testament times, the only wedding worth mentioning (the one at Cana) is notable only for the miraculous amount of wine consumed.

In the 21st Century, we’ve heard a lot about the sanctity of marriage, as if that were something that has been around forever, but in reality the phrase was invented in 2004. Google it for yourself and see if you can find a single reference to the “sanctity of marriage” before the Massachusetts Supreme Court legalized same-sex unions in that state. The proverbial Sanctity of Marriage sprang into being because opponents of gay marriage needed a logical reason to overturn an established legal precedent. And the only thing that trumps the Constitution is God himself.

Unfortunately, God is still pretty new to the whole marriage game (or he might have made an honest woman out of the Virgin Mary, am I right? Try the veal!)

The truth is that marriage has always been more a secular tradition rather than a religious one. Up until the early Renaissance, in fact, couples were traditionally married on the church’s front doorstep, because wedding ceremonies were considered too vulgar to be performed inside the building: After all, there was implied sex in the vows and shameless public displays of affection. No clergyman in his right mind would have allowed such an unholy abomination on the premises.

But as times changed, ideas and attitudes about marriage also changed. So when people became religious, matrimony became holy. When people became nudists, clothing became optional. And so on throughout history.

And the wonderful thing about the institution of marriage — the reason it has remained strong and relevant through thousands of years of ever-changing times — is its unique ability to change with those times.

Marriage is, and always has been, a constantly evolving tradition that never fails to incorporate the latest shifts in culture and climate, changing social habits, fashions and even fads. (Because, seriously, that chicken dance is not in the Bible.)

Thus, in the 1800s when the sole purpose of marriage was procreation and housekeeping, marriage between an older man and a hard-working tween girl was considered perfectly normal. Today we call it pedophilia.

For thousands of years marriage was essentially a business transaction between the parents of the bride and groom. But in the last century or so, we’ve finally seen the triumph of this new-fangled notion that marriage should be about a loving relationship between two consenting adults.

Followers of the Mormon faith can tell you that the traditions of their forefathers included a devout belief that polygamy was appropriate and sanctified. But modern Mormons generally don’t support that vision of happiness for their daughters.

And during the Civil Rights era, when opponents of interracial marriage tried to pass laws making such couples illegal, we came to realize that they, too, were wrong in trying to redefine marriage to prevent those newfound relationships.

Always marriage has triumphed by becoming a timely celebration of our society, rather than a backlash against it. It’s strange, then, to see “tradition” used as a weapon against change, when change is the source of all its greatest traditions.
Just ask the white dress: In 1840, Queen Victoria of England married Prince Albert wearing a beautiful white lace dress — in defiance of tradition — in order to promote the sale of English lace! The image was so powerful that practically overnight the white wedding gown became de rigueur for the well-heeled bride. And then it became de rigueur for every bride.

By the dawn of the 20th Century, the white dress had also inexplicably come to symbolize chastity. (Even though blue was traditionally the color of virginity –“something borrowed, something blue…”)

And the new equation of white with virginity eventually achieved such a rigid orthodoxy that older readers may remember a time when wedding guests who happened to know that the bride was not perfectly pure would have felt a moral obligation to demand that she change into something off-white before walking down the aisle.

Fortunately, as cultural norms eased during the Sexual Revolution, a sort of “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy took hold where all brides were required to wear white regardless of their virtue and the less said about it the better.

In recent years, as a generation of divorcees have remarried and a generation of young people have entered wedlock with some degree of “experience”, the pretense of a connection between literal virginity and the bridal gown has become entirely obsolete. A colorful journey for a custom which has always seemed iron clad, even as it was evolving over time.

And not all traditions have to do with changing sexual standards. The long-time custom of pelting the newlyweds with birdseed did not exist before the 1970s when animal-lovers realized that songbirds were bloating on dried rice that they found on the ground after the former custom.

Economic times have caused families to rethink the age-old convention of the bride’s father paying for the entire ceremony — a last vestige of the days of dowries when a young man had to be bribed to take a free-loading daughter off her parents’ hands — that well-established custom has gradually given way to a more humane approach to sharing the financial burden.

Even religious traditions of marriage have experienced constant metamorphosis over the years. As more interfaith couples have wed, we have seen the emergence of multi-disciplinary ceremonies where couples have chosen not to follow the out-dated tradition of rejecting one or both of their faiths as a prerequisite of holy matrimony.

One of the most beautiful weddings I ever attended was between a young Jewish fellow and his Catholic fiancé, whose mother was born in France. The ceremony was performed by both a rabbi and a priest with intertwining vows in English, Latin, Hebrew and French. A perfect expression of the union of their two families, yet one which would have been unthinkable just a generation before.

But, again, marriage has such a long history of changing with the ever-changing times, that the last thing we should expect from it is to stop growing and changing. We know today that marriage is not a rote ritual handed down by God to Adam & Eve and preserved verbatim for thousands of years. It is, rather, an expression of how each community, each culture, and each faith, chooses to celebrate the joining of loved ones who have decided to make a life together.

Christians do not expect Jesus to be central to a Buddhist wedding, nor do Jews refuse to acknowledge Lutheran unions because they didn’t include a reading from the Torah. Marriage is what we each make of it. And that’s the way it always should be.

Perhaps the greatest irony of the traditional marriage argument is that it seeks to preserve a singular tradition that has, in fact, never existed at any point in history.

Because, honestly, which traditional definition of marriage do we want our Constitution to protect?

…The one from Book of Genesis when family values meant multiple wives and concubines?
…Or the marriages of the Middle Ages when women were traded like cattle and weddings were too bawdy for church?
…Since this is America, should we preserve marriage as it existed in 1776 when arranged marriages were still commonplace?
…Or the traditions of 1850 when California became a state and marriage was customarily between one man and one woman-or-girl of age 11 and up?
…Or are we really seeking to protect a more modern vision of traditional marriage, say from the 1950s when it was illegal for whites to wed blacks or Hispanics?
…Or the traditional marriage of the late 1960s when couples were routinely excommunicated for marrying outside their faith?

No, the truth of the matter is, that we’re trying to preserve traditional marriage the way it “was and always has been” during a very narrow period in the late 70s / early 80s – just before most of us found out that gays even existed: Between one man and one woman of legal age and willing consent. Regardless of race or religion (within reason). Plus the chicken dance and the birdseed. Those are okay.

But there’s something profoundly disturbing about amending the Constitution to define anything about the 1970s as “the way God intended it.”

Who’s Rights are Right?

It’s been a little over a week since the decision from California came down in favor of equality and so far, as I look out my office window, the sky hasn’t fallen. Of course the sky is still there from 2003 when SCOTUS decided Lawrence v. Texas and 2005 when same-sex weddings began in Massachusetts.
I must say that I find myself laughing at the arguments the anti-equality side have come out with in the week since Judge Vaughn decided the case and the few days since he lifted his stay, pending the 9th Court review, until this Wednesday, August 18th at 5pm.
I paraphrase some of these quotes;
– “Judge Vaughn went against the Will of the People of California”
No, Judge Vaughn did the job as outlined in Article III of the US Constitution. A Trial was held where the constitutionality of Proposition 8 was called into question. Both sides had the opportunity to present their arguments and evidence to the Judge and in the end, the Judge decided with the Plaintiffs. He found that Proposition 8 was indeed unconstitutional; that it violated the 14th Amendment of the Plaintiff’s right to Equal Protection and Due Process. He made this decision based on the evidence presented during the case.
– “Judge Vaughn created a new right, not found in the Constitution, to same-sex marriage.”
No. Again Judge Vaughn found that the law enacted by the passage of Prop 8 was unconstitutional; that it violated the 14th Amendment. No new right was created. He did state however, that the right to same-sex marriage is no different than the right to opposite sex marriage. That was a finding of fact based on the trial evidence.
This brings me to the my favorite quote from the Anti-Equality Crowd, NOM’s own Maggie Gallagher.

“It’s not discrimination to treat different people differently.” (check it out at 5:24)

Um, no. Sorry Maggie, but that’s pretty much the TEXT BOOK DEFINITION OF DISCRIMINATION.

The difference that the Anti-Equality side is trying to make, and failing at, is that no matter what a judge says, same-sex marriage is not the same as opposite sex marriage. They will not budge on this one point, no matter how much evidence is presented.
To them, a marriage is no more than the union of a man and a woman.
To us, marriage is about love and commitment.

I’m Just Sayin’

 It’s been a couple of days now since the nothing short of historic decision on Perry v. Schwarzenegger was handed down, declaring that California’s Prop 8 is unconstitutional.  Following the subsequent blogs, news articles, video interviews, and even Facebook posts have been overwhelming.   

 Today, August 6th, Judge Walker will be hearing both sides again regarding both the pending appeal and whether or not the decision will be stayed until the 9th Circuit Court takes on the case.  The Anti-Equality brigade have not been quiet on the matter since Wednesday, predictably calling Judge Walker a ‘activist judge’, saying that he has made up special rights that go against the Constitution, overrode the ‘will of the people’ and even going so far as to calling for his impeachment.  

 As with everything else in this matter, it’s quite clear these people have no idea what they’re talking about! And, as with this case, they find themselves in the position where the must prove what they are saying for it to stand on any merit.  

An ‘activist judge’ can be easily defined as a judge who hands down rulings based on personal or political considerations rather than on existing law.  Judge Walker delivered a 138 page ruling that was written quite clearly, outlining the facts of the case, the evidence presented, the questions that were posed and applied the rule of law as written at both the State and Federal level.  At no point were the Judge’s own politics or personal feelings involved in this case.   

 NOM and the Prop 8 defenders have repeatedly stated that Judge Walker was “biased” and “had it out for them” since the beginning.  The truth is really that this is the probably the first time that the anti-equality crowd has had to defend themselves and there alledged facts.  Saying “Same-Sex marriage will destroy traditional marriage” to get people to vote against it is one thing, having a federal judge say “prove it” makes them squeamish.  

 Because they can’t!  

 Special rights were not created nor given as a result of this case.  Judge Walker is explicit in this as he states:  

“Plaintiffs do not seek recognition of a new right. To characterize plaintiffs’ objective as “the right to same-sex marriage” would suggest that plaintiffs seek something different from what opposite-sex couples across the state enjoy —— namely, marriage. Rather, plaintiffs ask California to recognize their relationships for what they are: marriages.”  

 Stating that there is no “right to same-sex marriage” in the Constitution is a purposeful mislead by the Anti-Equality groups; they’re implying that same-sex marriage is different from marriage.  This case has proven that there is no difference, based on the evidence, the facts, the testimony, and the rule of law.  Saying that “marriage must be between a man and a woman because it’s always been that way” is not a rational basis for a law to discriminate against an entire group of people.   

 No one wins an argument successfully by replying with a simple “Because”  We learn this somewhere around ages 7 or 8.  The only exception being the “Because I said so” response successfully used by frustrated parents for years  when dealing with unruly children.  

 Judge Walker didn’t ignore the Constitution nor did he invent a new right; he applied the case to the Constitution, specifically the 14th Amendment (you know, the one that helped former slaves establish their citizenship)  

 “Plaintiffs challenge Proposition 8 under the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment. Each challenge is independently meritorious, as Proposition 8 both unconstitutionally burdens the exercise of the fundamental right to marry and creates an irrational classification on the basis of sexual orientation.” 

  

So the will of the people argument is not applicable if the will of the people is unconstitutional! You cannot, by a majority vote, create a law that goes against the Constitution of the United States.   

This is why we have a judicial system.   

“Children raised by same-sex couples are more at risk than Children raised by a mom and dad!”  “Prove it!”  

 They couldn’t  

“Same-Sex marriages will destroy traditional marriages” “Prove it”  

 They couldn’t  

“Marriage is really meant for pro-creation” “What about sterile or elderly couples who marry but cannot reproduce?” ” Uhhhh…..”  

 Exactly!  

For many, the right to free speech is a general principle of what being an American is all about.  You can say what you want on your soap box on the street corner or on the internet or television. But when you say things are facts and try to get people to vote away the rights of others based on those alleged facts, you must be able to prove them in a court of law.   

 I’m Just Sayin’  

Today, August 4th, is President Obama’s 49th birthday. I find it fitting that it’s also the day the long-awaited Federal decision to California’s Prop 8 will be announced. Obama has long stated that, while he does feel that a “marriage” should really just be between a man and a woman (because of his personal religious beliefs) he does feel that the Defence of Marriage Act and subsequent state amendments banning same-sex marriages and civil unions are wrong and discriminatory. I find it more than a little weird that the man doesn’t see the contradictions of his statements. The LGBT Community in the US has been fighting for Civil Marriages. However, when the word marriage is used, most people cannot separate the images of Church weddings and religious sacraments. They believe that we (the LGBT Community) are going to storm the altars and demand the religious sacrament of marriage.
Uh …. No.
I’ll leave it for a separate post to discuss the hypocrisy of the Church when it comes to sex, marriage and the gay community. Only men allowed, wearing long robes and tight collars, drinking wine, a penchant for stained glass windows…..that’s not gay so much as tacky ….a sin in of itself.
But I digress.
At the end of every wedding I’ve been to, including lavish Church weddings, they always end roughly the same way. “With the power invested in me by the State of …..” So the ability for the Church to perform these weddings doesn’t come from God, but the State. They’re just the location! And if you get married in the Church, you still need to get a Marriage Licence issued by….you guess it….the State!
President Obama, let’s talk about your hypocrisy when it comes to marriage, starting with your parents. Your mother was white, your father black. When they married in Hawaii in 1961, Inter-racial marriages were ILLEGAL in 18 states So, if they had traveled to Louisiana, or Florida, or even Delaware the first state of the union, their marriage would not be recognized and they might have even been thrown in jail as was the case of Mildred and Richard Loving Not to mention of course that your father wasn’t even legally divorced from his first wife when he married your mother! No big deal as it was the then custom of the Luo people to take a second wife. After your parents divorced in 1964, your mother remarried in 1971 and later divorced again in 1980. Your father also married twice more (a total of four marriages) prior to his death.
Marriage must have been important to them as they had six total between the two of them.
We (The LGBT Community) are fighting for equality, not in religion, but in living our lives. To hold to the strict belief that marriage is something that is “only between a man and a woman” is no different from 50 years ago when marriage was only “between a white man and a white woman” or a “non-white man and a non-white woman.” Or 100 years ago when voting was “only for men.” Or 150 years ago, when blacks were 3/5ths of a person and the property of others.
To tax us equally and treat us separately is to mock the Constitution that you swore to uphold…. twice!

I’m Just Sayin’

 At a National Organization for Marriage rally this weekend in Iowa, one of the few US States where Same-Sex Marriage is legal, speaker Tamara Scott stated that the costs associated with the “breakdown of the family” to the taxpayer are a leading component of the current economic downturn in the United States.  That these costs to the taxpayers are so great, that only by overturning Marriage Equality, can th state begin to recoup these loses.  

 “It costs you, the taxpayer, as high as $280 billion a year for fragmented families, according to the Family Research Council,” Scott told the crowd, citing a study from the D.C.-based Christian political association from May 2009.  

 Trying to site the infamous FRC as a reliable source is tantamount to telling the teacher that the dog ate your homework.  The FRC is notorious for making their research fit the desired outcome. 

 Regardless of this, however, is the scary fact that a speaker for this organization is attempting to blame a minority for the current economic woes.  Shades of Nazi Germany come to mind, as the rising National Socialist Party held similar rallies to blame the bad economy on the Jews.  The times were so difficult, that the people, especially the ones most destitute and looking for something or someone to blame, easily believed the distorted facts presented to them.  In time , the Jewish Ghetto and the death camps that followed were easier established by a community that had already dehumanized an entire race of people in the social conciousness.

  Scott went on to state: “If we would correct the breakdown of the family by 1 percent, we could save the taxpayer $3 billion a year,” she said. “An easy fix and a better fix long-term for our children… When the family is healthy, the community benefits. When the family is hurting, society will pay the cost one way or another. We can fix this economic downturn very easily by fixing some hearts.”

 Nothing is mentioned about the breakdown of heterosexual families due to adultery, divorce, spousal abuse, or any number of factors that could lead to households not fitting the cookie-cuter mold NOM has fixated upon during their summer tour.  Scott is heavily implying that the brunt of the family breakdown is really two women or two men living together, supporting their household and adopted and/or biological children in a loving, committed relationship. 

 Also not mentioned is the estimated $160 million that Iowa stands to gain from same-sex weddings and related tourism nor the $5.3 million in additional tax revenue in 2011 alone. 

 I’m Just Sayin’

So imagine if you go to great lengths to organize a national bus tour; the expense, the permits, the publicity. And then, no one showed up. That’s what’s happening with the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) and there Summer Bus Tour. To be fair, there are some people showing up, but they’re barley getting 45 people at most at their stops

The counter protests that are showing up, however, are drawing about 10 times that.Equality Supporters
So now, imagine if you threw a party, and not only did just the geeky losers show up, but all the cool kids went to the party across the street that is only happening because your party came to town!
Another irony is that NOM is outright lying when it comes to the attendance, and they are actually verbally and, in some reported cases, physically attacking the counter protestors. The best part about this is that NOM is sounding the knells of it’s defeat by drawing some supporters out of the woodwork who they want to have nothing to do with! Larry Adams showed up at NOM’s Indianapolis stop with signs stating that the solution to Gay Marriage was to put gay and lesbians to death. How very Christian.
I’m Just Sayin’