Now that New York has legalized marriage between adults of cis-gender, (I just love using chemistry prefixes in sociological context!), it is pretty much impossible to put the toothpaste back in the tube. New York is the third largest state when ranked by population and the law has no residency requirement so there will be a LOT of gay couples getting married at Niagra Falls this year.
The legal tangle arises when all of the red states that passed constitutional amendments against gay marriage refuse to acknowledge the legal status of two people legally wed in another state. Lawsuits will follow. The new question will be “Boxers or legal briefs?” I predict that a lot of gay couples will vote with their feet to states that give them the legal rights of a spouse, if not immediately then as soon as a partner becomes hospitalized and the mother in law has to authorize surgery.
And so it goes. The whole issue will go away in a few years of course. I am 58 years old and I have among my close friends and family at least three polyamorous complexes, one of which could be called a compound marriage, a post-operative trans-sexual, a couple of gays that I know about, and more than one couple who married for health insurance reasons as much as any legal or religious need. The point is, I am not unique. Marriage as it was formerly defined is the relationship template of the minority…or soon will be. Most of us not only don’t really care who has one, we aren’t all that sure if we need one.
In a few more years, and after a lot of kicking and screaming and a lot more election campaigns, everyone will be able to get married if they are old enough. Between now and then a lot of people from states where you can marry your 14 year old first cousin but where they really miss anti-miscegenation laws are going to get all kinds of upset every time any state wants to legalize gay weddings.
The thorny part isn’t with the “gay” for a lot of the rest who aren’t just bigoted arseholes. It lies with the word “Marriage”. For a lot of religions marriage is a holy sacrament. They feel that the state has no business telling them who they should preform a religious holy rite for.
They are absolutely right.
The state has no business issuing marriage licences at all. The state has no right to tell you what wedding to perform. It also has no right to tell me NOT to perform a handfasting of a loving committed polyamorous complex if it pleases me to do so. We need to stop calling the civil union of two people for which the state issues licenses a marriage and find a new name for it.
Then the First Reformed Church of White People With Sticks Up Their Arse of Badass, Texas won’t have to marry gay couples and they can go to the First Presbyterian Church in Austin for the ceremony.
Everyone will be happy, whether they are gay or not.
Be seeing you.