It’s been a landmark week, friends! On Tuesday, Hollingsworth v. Perry, which challenges the constitutionality of California’s same-sex marriage ban (aka Prop 8), went before the United States Supreme Court. On Wednesday, the Court heard arguments on United States v. Windsor, which challenges parts of the Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA.
Supreme Court, I really hope you do the right thing. Because, really, it’s 2013. Let’s let gay people get married, for chrissakes. It’s time. I mean, Sophia had this shit figured out YEARS ago.
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Yes, marriage is (ideally) about love — but, in our societal framework, it’s also about financial and legal security. Imagine being with your partner for 25 years, and she is diagnosed with a terminal illness. Your partner signed a DNR, but you can’t uphold it because the shitty state in which you happen to live says you’re not a real couple and allows your partner’s shitty family — those assholes who didn’t accept her in the first place — to keep your partner on life support indefinitely, against her wishes.
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OK, I totally lifted that hypothetical situation from the episode of ER I just watched, but it happens ALL THE TIME and it’s horrible.
Here’s a real-life example from one Edith Windsor — the Windsor of United States vs. Windsor. In 1967, she got engaged to her partner, Thea Clara Spyer. Forty years later, the couple were wed, up here in Canada. When Spyer died in 2009, she left all her property to Windsor (because, obvs) — but because Windsor doesn’t have a penis, she got saddled with a $363,000 estate tax bill. She took her case to the Supreme Court in 2010. (BTW, she’s in her 80s and is badass.)
And this is from an open letter Ellen DeGeneres posted on her blog.
Portia and I have been married for 4 years and they have been the happiest of my life. And in those 4 years, I don’t think we hurt anyone else’s marriage. I asked all of my neighbors and they say they’re fine.
But even though Portia and I got married in the short period of time when it was legal in California, there are 1,138 federal rights for married couples that we don’t have, including some that protect married people from losing their homes, or their savings or custody of their children.
Be it resolved: same-sex marriage is GOOD for families. It’s GOOD for people. So what’s the problem?
I used to wonder, why would gay people even want in on a bullshit patriarchal institution? Then I had an ‘a ha’ moment — one I’m sure many, many others have had. When sweaty, red-faced Republican men unleash spittle-drench rants on “defending marriage,” what they’re really talking about is defending patriarchy. Same-sex marriage upsets the imbalance, so to speak. Who would play the “woman” in a marriage between two men or two women? How would we assign traditional gender roles? WHO WOULD TAKE CARE OF THE CHILDREN? WON’T SOMEONE THINK OF THE CHILDREN!? Same-sex marriage is actually an incredibly powerful tool with which to smash the patriarchy — which is why it’s probably deeply threatening to those who have built their entire political, economical, legal and social systems on a structure designed to keep people down.
Well, screw that. It’s 2013. We need to keep fighting the good fight.
Jen Zoratti is a Spectator Tribune columnist and a freelance music journo. Follow her on Twitter @JenZoratti
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