Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Pondering commitment…

Five years ago a majority of Missourians voted to amend my home state’s constitution to define marriage as between one man and one woman.

This bitch was re-introduced to Missouri politics through the battle to prevent passage of that amendment…and I received a clinic in what a majority of my fellow Missourians really think when it’s just them and a ballot. Some activists tried to deny the outcome…that some 70% of Missourians voted for the marriage ban…but a bitch finds little comfort in denying that shit.

Comfort comes from knowing where we stand and where we need to be.

Same-sex marriages still happen here…couples still commit to each other before family and friends.

'Tis the rights afforded through marriage that are being denied…not love or dedication, but thousands of rights that are easily taken away and difficult to recreate through other means.

Today the California Supreme Court is expected to announce their ruling on whether the people of that state can vote to take rights away from a minority. The difference there is that same-sex marriage was not legal in Missouri and was made super-duper illegal in 2004…it was legal in California and then made illegal through a ballot initiative.

As a result, the legal standing of thousands of once legal now legally unclear marriages hangs in the balance…along with the ability for others to seek legal recognition of their commitment in the future.

Some will hear the ruling and cheer.

Others will hear the ruling and boo then hiss.

There is little doubt that the war will continue no matter what the outcome of this battle is.

And comfort comes from knowing where you stand…

…and being committed to getting where you deserve to be.


Hypatia said...

"comfort comes from knowing where you stand … and being committed to getting where you deserve to be."

Not for the first time, Ms. Shark Fu, you make me want to take up cross-stitch.

Son of Baldwin said...

A bitch better preach!

L. Jackson said...

Figures when u consider that MO is still backward when it comes to race relations. Seems to me that everyone has the right of 'legal marriage', & benefits for their partners. Roflmao, then u get all the joys of divorce/court battles? Time for the bitch to turn the crank harder??

David Duff said...

I wonder whether, as in so many other areas of human dispute, it doesn't boil down to the use, or mis-use, of language. In this case I suspect that for many 'heteros' the word 'marriage' has a significance that they feel deeply but are unable to articulate. 'If 'homos' and their supporters had stuck to a phrase like 'civil partnership' I suspect that most 'heteros' would have shrugged and let it go. "What's in a name?", sweet Juliet asks, well, a hell of a lot, actually!

Personally, as a 'hetero' myself, I am in favour of civil partnerships, as well as marriage, because I believe it to be a civilising practice. All the more reason to be civilised in this dispute.

Shark-Fu said...

I'm in favor or civil partnerships as long as everyone, regardless of orientation & gender, is limited to them.

But if marriage is recognized by government and given benefits and rights then it has to be extended to everyone or not extended to anyone...trust a bitch, we Americans don't do separate but equal very well.

Cruel Hand Uke said...

'seperate but equal'. Bullshit then as now regardless who the xenophobes are trying to punk. I am appalled to know that my state of California stands for such ignorance.

David Duff said...

But that is the point, marriage (or call it what you will) between 'heteros' is different from that between 'homos'. The first arose as a means by which sex and the resulting reproduction of children could be managed in a civic society. The second is a public commitment to a life-long partnership by two people of the same sex. The state should treat both equally but the nomenclature should reflect the difference. I am surprised that those who never cease to praise their diversity insist on one label for all!

Shark-Fu said...


Oh, I get what you're saying...but I don't think you are getting what I'm saying.

I do not insist on one label for all...I insist on equal rights for all. That isn't some strange call for special treatment. It is the demand for equal treatment under law for citizens who are being denied that equality because the majority decided they are not worthy.

And trust me...all this talk of civil unions is pure bullshit.

Shoot me an email with a copy of the civil union proposal introduced by Prop 8 supporters...or the ballot initiative for that alternative introduced for authorization in California...or the bill that would make civil unions law that has been introduced by a state legislator in that state...and I'll take a look to see if it includes the same rights and protections as marriage.

***cue crickets***

To clarify, I don't really give a shit what it is called. I'm not a fan of the term marriage because it carries with it a history of oppressing women.

But I do care that this thing and the thousands of rights granted through it is being withheld from the few by the many.

So, if the problem here is the word marriage why the hell not just pull that word away from government...shove it back to the churches to do as they wish...and re-term what is granted by the state to residents?

That's the question that returns a response that illuminates the real issue - that 'heteros', to use your term, would have the same anything as 'homos' (Lawd, have mercy).

And we've heard that response regarding the expansion of marriage/civil union/legal mating rights in this country before...

David Duff said...

Well, there you go, 'S-f', a dreadful, ossified, tottering, old, Brit supporter of the Reagan/Thatcher 'marriage' finds himself in (almost) complete accord with a black, socialist, feminist shark with the sharpest teeth on the web - wonders will never cease!

I was only suggesting that if the word "marriage" had been avoided Proposition 8 might never have gained the support it did. Words really do matter in politics which why the Marxists spend hours arguing the toss over which ones to use and which ones to drop.

(Incidentally, and slightly off topic, where can I find some of that male oppression of women in marriage you mentioned? Only I could do with a bit of it, but for God's sake don't tell the little 'Memsahib' or she'll get her karate kit on and ... well, need I say more?)

Son of Baldwin said...

Shark Fu,

First of all, a brother like me needs to school David Duff on a few things:

1. The point of marriage was NOT, as he insists, "a means by which sex and the resulting reproduction of children could be managed in a civic society. " That's the public-relations-ignore-the-facts version of events. Even a cursory examination of history reveals that marriage is, first and foremost, an economic relationship in which two parties combine their wealth to create greater wealth and stability.

2. It wasn't until greedy kings, queens and overlords decided that marriage could also be used as a nation-building tool that they began to impose the religious dogma that most contemporary idiots believe was there from the beginning.

3. Let's look at this motherfucking religious shit a little closer: A brother read his fucking bible and guess what? Jehovah is madd kool with seventy-year-old men marrying 10-year-old girls. He is also down with men having as many wives as he so chooses. This "one grown-ass man, one grown-ass woman" hype is a relatively recent phenomenon brought on by puritanical Christians who REINTERPRETED Adam and Eve's relationship as God-ordained marriage in order to suit their Puritan point-of-view, while simultaneously IGNORING all the other arrangements that God approved.

4. A brother is giggling because David Duff is apparently UNAWARE of the history of this country because it wasn't too long ago that white slave owners said that blacks couldn't marry because marriage was an institution for whites only. Then, when those motherfuckers decided that we were people too, they let us marry, BUT--and here's the shit that makes me want to slap a motherfucker--we were only allowed to marry each other. It was absolutely ILLEGAL for us to marry outside of our race. That is, until The Lovings lived up to their namesake.

5. And remember when women were consider the property of the man through marriage? Yeah. That wasn't so long ago, either.

6. So a brother's point to David Duff is: Get your motherfucking head out of the sand. Marriage, like every motherfucking thing else, EVOLVES to suit the needs of the society. Just because YOU'RE uncomfortable with change doesn't mean the LGBT community should settle for the "Separate-But-Equal" bullshit that oppressors seem to always want to place on the table before they are pressured/shamed into doing what they know in their hearts is the right thing.

roslynholcomb said...

I've said this before and will say it again, I don't think the people who are opposed to gay marriage realize what a potential can of worms they're opening here. Eventually, and I daresay sooner or later some federal court is going to rule that the states get out of the marriage business altogether. We'll all have civil unions unless married in a church, and that's the way it should be. Separated but equal is bullshit and has been ruled unconstitutional more than once.

I'm 10 years into an interracial marriage that was technically illegal in my home state until just a few years ago. If someone had offered me a 'civil union' instead I probably would've introduced them to the business end of my axe handle.

David Duff said...

'Son of Baldwin', I am always happy to take lessons from anyone, er, provided they know where-of they speak. In your case, alas, I remain unconvinced but thank you for your effort nonetheless. Taking your points in order:

1: Whilst it is true that economics sometimes enters the equation I really don't think it caps the urge to reproduce. No society can last in which reproduction is left unregulated because men are ferral by nature and unfathered children would be less likely to survive in primitive conditions. The family unit raises the chances of successful reproduction, by which I mean rearing a child to child to puberty.

2: Alas, you are wrong here, too. Early rulers, and some current ones as well, went in for harems; again, for the purposes of increasing their personal chances of reproductive success with the bonus of having the pick of the best women. Some cultures today insist on the right of a man to have several wives - for much the same reason. Oddly enough, it was the Christian religion, which you despise so hotly, that re-inforced a previous idea from Greece and Rome of one man/one woman marriage for life which, compared to what went before was a great improvement for women.

3: I have nothing to say on that because I am not a Christian but I would remind you that Puritanism is a relatively recent (and small) thread in the warp and woof of Christianity.

4: Nothing to say on that either, except perhaps to repeat an old Americanism, 'you'll never go broke under-estimating the intelligence of the Great American Public', be they white, black or polka dot! (The same thing goes for Brits, as well. People - heh! what would you do with them?)

5: Yes, you are right there, women were once considered to be slightly above the cattle but not as worthy as the household chattels. However, the relevance of that to our conversation in the thread escapes me.

6: This confuses me slightly (nothing unusual there, alas) because I have no idea what you mean by "LGBT community". As dear Oscar put it, the only thing that divides our great nations is our common language!' However, you made me giggle (so that makes us equal) by complaining of the "bullshit that oppressors" use, whilst going on to approve when they, in turn, are "pressured/shamed" into doing what you want them to do. So the moral reprehensibility of applying pressure depends entirely on who is pressuring whom, I assume!

I have nejoyed the exchange enormously - thanks.

Son of Baldwin said...

6. The GALL of us to demand to be treated equally! I sho' is sorry, mastah, for raising you'rn ire against me. I won't ax fo' no rights no' mo'! I's be a good faggot nigger from now on.

Forgive me while I barf, David.

Also, some suggested reading: Marriage, a History: How Love Conquered Marriage by Stephanie Coontz; Why Marriage: The History Shaping Today's Debate Over Gay Equality by George Chauncey; The Way We Never Were: American Families and the Nostalgia Trap by Stephanie Coontz; The History of Human Marriage by Edward Alexander Westermarck; and one final one: Tell the Court I Love My Wife: Race, Marriage, and Law--An American History by Peter Wallenstein.

And for the record: It would have been EASY for you to Google the term "LGBT" to understand what it meant before engaging in the discussion, but what am I to expect from someone so closed-minded. In any event, LGBT means Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgendered.

Thanks for playing, David. You didn't score high enough for the consolation prize, though.

Sorry. : (

Miss Trudy said...

All I have to say is dang, this was a GREAT conversation! Shark Fu, you keep it going!

David Duff said...

What an excitable little chap you are, 'SoB', but you really must calm down because, you see, I am on your side! I think the practice of making a solemn and binding life-time committement to a partner is something to be ebcouraged, even to the extent of reflecting state approval in the tax regime - with proper safeguards, of course. Nor should it be confined to 'heteros', 'homos' and the, er, "BT" of your mysterious "LGBT". (Incidentally, it's no good expecting me to google-shmoogle at my age - I've only just given up the quill pen for one of those new-fangled biro thingies!) Where was I? Oh yes, such 'partneships' along with tax relief should be offered to people like elderly spinster or widowed sisters, divorcees of the same sex who simply share a deep and abiding friendship, and so on, because usually they will become a self-supporting partnership and save the state (er, that's me - and you!) considerable expense in their later years.

All I was suggesting was that it was bad politics to use the word 'marriage' which has precious connotations with 'heteros' that do not apply to any others. If your campaign had stuck to civil partnerships, or some-such phrase, Proposition 8 may well have failed.

Moving on and shamed by your scolding, I did google your Stephanie Coontz. Alas and alack, I read her 'bio' on Wiki and, forgive me, but I fell instantly into the trap of - dread word - prejudice! (But I am a victim of my upbringing/culture/race/poverty [delete as necessary], you see; well, everyone's a victim these days including your neighbourhood drug-dealer, so why not me?) Anyway, bossy, middle-class, feminist, Marxist/Trotskyist/Socialist [again, delete as necessary] 'academic' was enough to produce the usual flecks of foam around my lips - BUT - and here you will be really proud of me, 'SoB', I caught myself just in time! I remembered the late Marilyn French who was all of the above and more but whose book "Shakespeare's Division of Experience", which I picked up with cautious disdain, opened my eyes to aspects of "Measure for Measure" which I had never considered - a truly intelligent and learn-ed book of enlightenment. So, I will give your Ms. Coontz the benefit of the doubt but if you don't mind I will stick to books by Stephen Koontz-with-a-K on medical grounds for I fear Ms. Coontz-with-a-C will bump me off with either apoplexy or terminal tedium! And you wouldn't want that, now, would you?

Son of Baldwin said...

My grandmother would be so upset if I disrespected an elder. Forgive me for being on the ultra-defensive. A lifetime of being called "faggot" can do that to a brother.

David Duff said...

Oh God, whatever you do don't ever be 'respectful' just because I'm an old codger. Just tell it the way you see it and I will promise never to burst into tears! That's why I have, reluctantly, been forced to renounce not only my love for Mrs. Palin but also to Ms. Liz Cheney and turn my constantly wandering affections towards our hostess-with-the-mostest here at 'AngryBlackBitch'. Somehow I don't think she pulls her punches!

I can imagine a little of what you have been through. Off topic, I watched the first series of "The Wire" which has only just reached the BBC (about 5 years late!) and I was intrigued to see that black homosexuality of both sexes was featured quite openly. The other thing that struck me even more forcibly was teh absence of race as an issue of any importance. Police, crooks and politicians came in all colours and everyone seemed comfortable in their skin and, more important, comfortable with everyone else's - they were all just Americans. The times they are a-movin'!

Shark-Fu said...

Fantabulous discussion, y'all!

As for The Wire, a lot of the isms are assumed 'cause it was produced for an American audience. But 'tis there, trust a bitch. Wait until you get a few seasons in.

And it sounds like a bitch may have to do another post on why the absence of race is not progress...

Thanks for all the comments!

Anonymous said...

Now remember hun, that was 70% of the VOTING Missourians. Those fundies are really good at getting their flocks to the voting booths.
OTOH, I am sadly familiar with just how narrow-minded the Missouri populace can be. :: sigh ::

Then again, if Iowa-of-all-places can get its act together ... I'm still hoping that my state can do the same for my family & friends.

Damn, but my Word Verification was:
Equiatio ! That's fantabulous.


John said...

...so well said.

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