Am I Slick on Gay Marriage or What?

Photo by Courtney Penzato

Am I Slick on Gay Marriage or What?
Words by Patrick DeCarlo and images by Courtney Penzato
From Thursday, August 5, 2010

I was really up when the news of Prop 8 came in. As usual, I celebrated on facebook by posting this — “fundamental rights may not be submitted to [a] vote; they depend on the outcome of no elections.” West Virginia State Board of Education v Barnette, 319 US 624, 638 (1943) — on a Republican colleague’s wall.

He parried:

“You make a few assumptions here:

1) that marriage is a right

2) that by extension, two people that can legally have sexual relations therefore can get “married”

Please prove to me that number one is true. If you think you can do that, then follow up with why you can restrict that “right” to the parameters in number two. “

I countered:

Marriage is a privilege doled out by the states to heterosexual couples, predominately. With those privileges heterosexual couples receive cultural accolades as well as institutional accolades in terms of economic relief (lower taxes, bett…er insurance, a host of others…) GLBTQ couples are legislated out of those privileges strictly for their sexual orientation. The roots of these laws emerge from cultural attitudes and social mores envisioned by a homophobic, heterosexual hegemony. Awhile back racist attitudes determined interracial marriage unlawful. The 14th Amendment’s due process clause proved a useful tool in the Loving v. Virginia case that determined the anti-miscegenation laws were unconstitutional. The state simply cannot look at a class of people — in this case a black and white couple — and legislate them away from life, property, and most importantly, liberty. The equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment was also violated in anti-miscegenation laws. And in Loving v. Virginia marriage was constructed as a “fundamental freedom. These same arguments are being rehashed with gay marriage cases, and it’s really easy to see how they’re fitting together with past precedent. Banning gay marriage legislates discriminatory intent by saying one group of people can have access to institutional and social accolades, and another cannot.

I think that answers your first contention.

As for your second contention, I don’t quite see where you’re going with it.

Photo by Courtney Penzato

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