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[politics] Marriage and the magic of nuance - Lakeshore
An author of no particular popularity

Jay Lake
Date: 2012-06-30 05:58
Subject: [politics] Marriage and the magic of nuance
Security: Public
Tags:culture, gay, politics
Conservatives hate nuance. They've told us so over and over throughout the years. There's a mindset on the Right that there are (or ought to be) clear, unambiguous rules and ethics. I suppose for some people that must be a comforting thought.

Which is why I find the whole "marriage is between one man and one woman" thing so funny. There are plain language efforts out there on various ballots and through various lawsuits to define it so. For example, Washington state's Initiative 1192, which says:
Sec. 1. This act reaffirms the definition of marriage as being between one man and one woman.

(Sorry, no link. I see no reason to reward the ridiculous bigotry of 1192's backers with a bit of my blog traffic. It's easily Googled if you want to look at the entire text yourself. There's not much more to it.)

Ok, that's fine. Unambiguous. Biblical, even, assuming you ignore most of the Old Testament in your definition of Biblical marriage. I'm pretty sure only the gay-hating parts of the Old Testament count for most American Christians anyway, so the whole King Solomon's wives things and the David-and-Bathsheeba thing and the not bearing false witness thing and so on don't really apply as the literal and inviolate word of God.

Except what do conservatives do about intersexed people? Or transgendered people? If a cisgendered man and woman are married, then one of them transitioned, is the marriage rendered invalid? Are intersexed people not permitted to marry at all?

Oops. Nuance. Conservatives don't do nuance. Much easier to pretend the edge cases don't exist, or don't apply.

Even more interestingly, insofar as I know, in the United States there's not a strict legal definition of gender. Pretty much for the reasons cited above. So I'm curious what happens if one member of a same-sex couple simply declares themselves of the other gender. That fails what some conservatives would call obvious common sense tests, but law isn't about the obvious. Or common sense.

Oops. Nuance again.

One place the whole conservative obsession with gay marriage may well be challenged in the courts of both law and public opinion is on these points of nuance. Conservative marriage activists are (as usual for conservatives) on the wrong side of history, on the wrong side of compassion, and on the wrong side of simple humane treatment of their fellow man. I for one would love to see their smug, arrant bigotry founder on the rocks of nuance.

That particular shard of justice would write itself in the poetry of love.

Post A Comment | 12 Comments | | Link






scarlettina: Blood love and rhetoric
User: scarlettina
Date: 2012-06-30 13:26 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:Blood love and rhetoric
I see no reason to reward their ridiculous bigotry with a bit of my blog traffic.

Do us a favor and don't paint all Washingtonians with one broad brush, please. I dislike this initiative just as much as you do. The initiative system in Washington state means that, with enough signatures, any idiocy can be put to the ballot, but let's be crystal clear: just because it's there doesn't mean everyone in the state believes in it or that it'll pass. Here's hoping it doesn't. This ballot initiative doesn't belong to me or owe anything to me or most of the Washingtonians you know. I'll be voting against it.

I know you well enough to know that you're a nuanced thinker but the fact is that every now and then, you fall into the trap of generalizing far too easily, a trap you criticize others for heedlessly falling into themselves.
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Jay Lake
User: jaylake
Date: 2012-06-30 13:30 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Erm, I wasn't intending to tar Washingtonians with that brush, I was intending to tar the backers of SI 1192...
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scarlettina: WW: Decisions made
User: scarlettina
Date: 2012-06-30 13:47 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:WW: Decisions made
Thank you for inserting the clarification.
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Jay Lake
User: jaylake
Date: 2012-06-30 13:50 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
De nada
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User: mmegaera
Date: 2012-06-30 23:19 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I was about to say the same thing. I hate SI 1192 and all the conservative horses it rode in on. With a purple passion.

And I am a resident of Washington state.
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(no subject) - (Anonymous)
scarlettina
User: scarlettina
Date: 2012-07-01 01:15 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
EXACTLY!
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Elizabeth Coleman
User: criada
Date: 2012-06-30 15:39 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Well, I do know a married couple where one member transitioned, though I'm not sure if she's officially had the letter on her drivers license changed. (I'm not as close to them as I used to be, or I'd ask.)
I also know a couple who started out as two females, one of them officially transitioned the whole way to male, they got legally married, and now they're the happiest, most ordinary straight couple you could ever hope to meet. I like to think of them and chuckle at the cracks in the system, which will hopefully be busted wide open real soon.
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wyld_dandelyon:
User: wyld_dandelyon
Date: 2012-06-30 17:40 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:"Oh no!" by Djinni
As to gender, different states handle it differently, but for the most part you're stuck with what's on your birth certificate unless you can show that the M or F was an obvious mistake.

Getting married transgendered is a legal minefield. I remember reading a Texas legal decision that even though the State issued a marriage license to a MTF to marry a man, the insurance company got to keep the death benefit after she died because she "wasn't really a woman" and therefore the marriage was "invalid".

*sigh*
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Rick Moen
User: rinolj
Date: 2012-07-02 19:58 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
You're probably thinking of Littleton v. Prange, a 1999 case in the Texas 4th Court of Appeals, where Christie Lee Littleton was a widow barred from suing over her husband's death from medical malfeasance, because she'd been born male and then had SRS.

However, a same-sex couple in San Antonio, Jessica and Robin Wicks, one a male-to-female transsexual, then were able to successfully sue in 2000 for a marriage licence they'd previously been denied -- by citing Littleton v. Prange as legal precedent. The Wicks's attorney put out a press release inviting similar couples to come to Bexar County, Texas, where the Littleton decision is now ruling law, to get their marriage licences.

Littleton continues to be denied a re-hearing.

Rick Moen
rick@linuxmafia.com
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wyld_dandelyon: Allegedly Sleepy
User: wyld_dandelyon
Date: 2012-07-03 01:45 (UTC)
Subject: Thanks!
Keyword:Allegedly Sleepy
Very kind of you to provide references--and a follow-up story!

My dyslexic brain loses names way too easily, leaving me grateful for people like you who supply them again.
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Dichroic
User: dichroic
Date: 2012-06-30 19:13 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I think, for extreme conservatives, is that intersect people should just choose a gender (or have it chosen for them at birth) and stick to it, whereas trans people are evil and shouldn't get to marry anyway, because gender is determined by God and not a matter of choice.

Irony fully intentional.
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Rick Moen
User: rinolj
Date: 2012-07-02 19:29 (UTC)
Subject:
Actually, it's already been happening.

Cheers,
Rick Moen
rick@linuxmafia.com
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