Wednesday, November 4, 2009

What's So Funny 'Bout Peace, Love, and Domestic Partnerships?

53% to 47% sounds stinkingly familiar.  I guess people in Maine are, as a whole, 1% more bigoted than people in California.  I thought both states were better than that.  I think I should stop being optimistic on this issue and simply be pleasantly surprised when a state actually votes to uphold, rather than destroy, people's equal rights.

Question 1 asked Maine voters if they would like to repeal the legislation passed earlier that year giving same-sex couples the right to marry.  Maine said, "yes, please!  Keep those filthy fags living in sin where they belong."

Referendum 71 asked Washington voters if they want to uphold similar legislation in their state, only take out the word "marriage" and replace it with "domestic partnership".  Results are still pending as of this writing, but it looks like it will win, thus preserving something resembling equality, by a similarly narrow margin. 

Does this mean the upper-left corner of our country is more leftist than the upper-right corner?

No.  It means same-sex marriage advocates won by luck and by compromise, leaving out the word "marriage" even though that is what they seem most determined to win. 

Here's an idea that will win no friends, but makes the most sense:  Fuck "marriage."

The word "marriage" carries with it too much religious baggage to even warrant mention in a civil, political, or public document.  If all we're talking about is visitation rights in hospitals and tax benefits, we need to call all these unions, gay, straight, or poly, what they are - "civil." 

They are partnerships under the law, not under God.  Same-sex marriage advocates don't often argue a need for the benefits of God recognizing their union, because they either don't care about God's opinion, or have found a religious niche that does, in fact, recognize their relationship's legitimacy.  Advocates demand the state to recognize their partnership.  The state.  A secular, non-religious entity.

So, why, oh why, does the state use the word, "marriage," a word so steeped in religiosity it became a point of contention during the Reformation?  There's the answer - it's been done that way for a really long time.  As the man said in Fiddler on the Roof, "tradition!"  Our nation's fathers should have tossed it out the same moment they penned the First Amendment.  Freedom of religion inherently includes freedom from religion, and we cannot be free of something if it is written into our laws and tax codes.

Let people get married if they like - in a church or temple or mosque or interfaith center of worship.  But anyone who wants legal benefits currently awarded to married couples will be, instead, domestically partnered.  We use this system for coming of age rituals.  A person is legally an adult at age 18.  However, in Judaism, a person is an adult at 13.  Just because a boy is bar-mitzvah'd does not mean he can go to a store and buy cigarettes.

I say again, the law must be kept separate from religious terminology, tradition, and recognition.

In conclusion:

Liberals, if you want true equality, abolish the legality of the term "marriage."  Advocate civil union and domestic partnership laws for everyone, gay or straight.

Conservatives, if you want to protect the sanctity of marriage, remove it from our corrupt and secular legal documents and take control of it in your own religious institutions once again.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

All NaNo's Eve

Halloween, shmalloween.  October 31st wasn't quite what it used to be this year.  The time many people associate with jack-o-lanterns, costume contests, haunted houses, and trick-or-treaters was, for me, in 2009, merely the remaining few hours before the start of NaNoWriMo.  That's (inter)National Novel Writing Month, for you non-wrimos out there.

So I'm about 1500 words into my novel.  It's got it all.  Explosions, ghosts, fast food, religious turmoil, political intrigue, terrorism, unresolved childhood trauma, even the Big Guy Himself.  Watch for it in pirated digital editions, coming soon.

But back to trick-or-treating for a non-NaNo-moment.  Nicole and I were walking around, reverse trick-or-treating (handing out fair trade chocolate and info cards to educate people on the advantages of fair trade and the horrors of child labor), and we hardly saw another soul out there.  We saw a few groups of kids hopping in and out of cars, but not one group simply strolling the streets.  Well, okay, one group of college kids that might have been trick or treating or might have been stumbling between parties. 

Instead of gleeful children-come-demons-and-ninja-turtles blithely wandering the sidewalks discussing strategic candy trade agreements, we saw nothing.  People at their doors begged us to take candy, even though we were not dressed for it, and then told us to "be careful out there" as though we were war photographers venturing in where no sane person would go.  At one of the houses we were greeted by Nicole's co-worker who also bid us "be careful" and her friend who asked in amazement, "so people trick-or-treat in LA?"

Yes, for the love of the dead rising and walking the earth, people fucking trick-or-treat in LA!  And everywhere else I've ever heard of!  These people in Albuquerque act like trick-or-treating is something their parents did in the 50's, when streets were safe, cigarettes didn't kill, cars didn't pollute, and their neighbors were as white as the milk delivered to their doorstep.  For a laid-back and friendly city, these people sure are afraid to leave their houses.  Once again, Albuquerque, you impress me with your weirdness and contradiction.  Well done!