Sunday, October 24, 2004

Househusbands

We're political scientists here, who are taught to think about individuals' stories as an "n of one." But for what it's worth, here's an "n" of one.

I walked to the store last week with a neighbor of mine who is gay and lives with his long-term partner. We talked about how he was looking for a summer place, and was a turned off of Provincetown because he just didn't want to keep up with the twenty-something gay party-boys any more. He then went on to observe that he was about to retire from the government, and was thinking of what to do next. Initially, he observed, he thought he would spend a few months as a "house husband." Something about this last observation really hit home with me. What possible social purpose is there for preventing a man like this, whose lifestyle is indistinguishable from mine (except, perhaps, from being even more bourgeois than mine!) from formalizing his marriage. While I think the MA court erred in making this decision itself, I do think that it is simple justice that he is now able to be married. Can anyone give me a good reason why the legislatures (again, setting aside the issue of the role of courts) of the other 49 states shouldn't allow people like him to be married?

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

Yep, you hit it right on the mark.
In fact this neighbor and his partner do nothing to affect or hinder your own marriage, and any rational person would come to this conclusion.

The hard right's so called "Defense of Marriage" is just another way to raise money and divide people - this is why Bush needs to be removed from office this election and why although Kerry doesn't support Gay Marriage now, he won't waste time offering a stupid, hateful ammendment.

As a former GOP'er and Prof. K can vouch for that one, I lost all respect for Bush when he came out for the ammendment. People are homeless, starving, without work, at war, and on and on, yet Bush find the time to rally the nudnicks on the right to the so called War to Salvage Marriage. There is no and has never been any threat to marriage by any gay person, the only threat to Marriage is the one posed by those on the right to your neighbor if he were to move to another state to retire - imagine, his partner in the hospital, and not being allowed in, b/c they are technically married; or imagine if they adopt, and their kid is sick, and the state they live in only recognizes one same sex parent, the other parent is left in the dog house if that child is in the hospital -- Thank "W" and the so called Defenders of Traditional Marriage for that kind of situation, which occurs every single day. At least Kerry is for rights, and when elected, would not prevent gay marriage from moving forward - that is one Flip-Flop I could live with.

I think the election will be called by midnight - the latest Nov. 3rd and that will be a Fresh Start for a nation at war with itself thanks to W.

Cheers,
Mo

Anonymous said...

My wife and I lived together for eight years before getting married. We often said we wouldn't marry until our gay friends were given the same right. As it turned out, we got married May 17th of this year; the same day gay couples were allowed to marry after the MA court ruling.

Solomon

Palooka said...

First, I think he should be able to "marry" and refer to himself as married. Whether government should recognize two gay men or women as "married" and afford them the same benefits and responsibilities as traditional marriage is a more difficult question. Since I view marriage principally about the family, I find it hard to to be overly enthused about gay marriage.

I can respect your belief that gay marriage is just right, that it is seems like the just thing to do. I'm not strongly opposed to gay marriage, I just think gay and traditional marriage are not close analogues. Therefore, I view the distinction as at least partially rooted in real, substantive differences between the two relationships. While marriage may have the tangential and perhaps positive effect of promoting monogamous relationships, its principal function is to promote and strengthen the family unit, which has at its foundation the monogamous relationship between one man and one woman. It is just manifestly true that few gay couples will have and raise children. This is a great and real disinction. Also, it is also valid that the state would seek to promote the family structure which is most beneficial for the rearing of children, and empirical study on the efficacy of gay families is ambiguous. Moreover, in those countries which have legalized gay marriage, only a small fraciton of the gay community has utilized this new found "right." While you may feel this is immaterial, that it doesn't matter if only 2% of the gay community ever gets married, I think most reasonable people would disagree. Such great discrepancies in marriage participation and interest indicate that the heterosexual and homosexual communities view monogamy and the need for family quite differently. That's not bad, it just may be true. Differences don't mean one group is superior to another, but they do often imply difference in treatment is justified.

I'd prefer to see more study and analysis on this issue before I render my judgment on what is or is not "simple justice." If gay marriage is bad for society, or if it uses societal resources with little justification, I would take serious issue if it is a matter of "simple justice." And, I am sorry, but these two crucial questions are just not answered.

Is it really bigoted to want as many children as possible to have a mother AND a father? Is that really that radical of a concept? Is it really that absurd to think that maybe, just maybe, that different sex, two parent households are the best place for society to raise its children?

If that's not a radical concept, if that is not a bigoted thought, then I think you can respect the "simple justice" of those who oppose gay marriage.

Anonymous said...

No, I canNOT respect the so called "simple justice" of those who oppose gay marriage, for these are the same lines that people used about inter-racial marriage, and other things.

The basic tenant of marriage is two people coming together out of love, and if they so choose, raise a family. I find it so funny and hypocritical of people who say marriage is about procreation - if that's true, then are all the married couples who have no children (by choice or by force) invalid? I think not.

And for all the studies one can show about gay parents and marriages, bla bla bla, I am sure I can find a host of others to support my view.

How about the thousands of abused foster kids, who if adopted by gay parents would have a loving home. Two loving gay parents can and do provide the same values and love any mom and dad can provide.

Can't have it both ways, either all marriage is about raising kids, therefore, those who don't have any are invalid marriages - or we allow two loving people to get married.

It's high time we cut the bigotry, and just let freedom ring (to coin a phrase from the Sean Hannity Show). It's not gay marriage or people that harm anyone, its the vicious lies, hatred and other bull that lunatics on the right create that force outed teenagers to leave home and live in poverty; use drugs etc.

And the biggest bunch of hogwash I have heard to date is that gay people don't have lasting monogamous relationships: Yeah and what would you call Bill Clinton, Jesse Jackson, Bryant Kolbe, and half the GOP members of Congress - they arent prime examples of how heterosexual marriage is doing well.

Stop prompting myths about gay couples. Two men or two opposite sex couples don't do anything different, both can keep or break relationships.

And when did a piece have to mean that two people love each other. I am sure my bf of two years loves me very much and doesn't need a stupid piece of paper to verify it!

Anonymous said...

On my last comment, I mean to say when did a "piece of paper" mean that two people love eachother.

The Ratmonkey said...

I think if you are looking for support of gay marriage, for the most part, I agree. But, I am looking for equal rights amoug ALL americans. When the time comes that my college loans aren't decided on the color of my skin or if I get in a bar fight, it becomes a "hate crime" because the guy is gay, then I am ready to accept all gays as husband and husband. Until then I am holding on to my marriage as the last "special" right I have as a white straight american. Give me equality or else I am giving up nothing!!!

Anonymous said...

response to Palooka: Is there really anything radical, or even arguable, about the idea that children are better off reared in wealthy, or at least upper middle-class, households? Or in households where both parents have above average intelligence?

It's not about abstract ideals, it's about people's lives.

Anonymous said...

"I'm not strongly opposed to gay marriage, I just think gay and traditional marriage are not close analogues"

But a Vegas wedding between Britney Spears and some dude she happened to stumble onto when she was drunk off her ass is "analogous" enough to "traditional marriage" to merit the sanction of the government and all the benefits that come with that?