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Jill has been blogging for Feministe since 2005.
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16 Responses

  1. Anon21
    Anon21 March 27, 2013 at 11:30 am |

    Allowing same-sex couples to marry will be one of the least disruptive changes marriage has ever seen.

    This is the thread running through a lot of “conservative case for marriage equality” pieces that I’ve seen. Fundamentally, gay people aren’t looking to change the institution at all; they just want it to expand its cultural hegemony to more groups. (I don’t mean that in as negatively as it might sound; I’m personally not a big fan of marriage, but it means a lot to many people, and excluding gay people from the institution is completely unjustifiable, both morally and legally.)

  2. macavitykitsune
    macavitykitsune March 27, 2013 at 11:31 am |

    Suddenly, a wild applause appears, galloping majestically into the sunset!

    Seriously, though, this was well done.

  3. roro80
    roro80 March 27, 2013 at 11:38 am |

    Absolutely! Every culture since the beginning of culture has had a different definition of the word “marriage” or a word that would translate to English as “marriage”, depending not only the place you stop the clock, but where you are as well. Each of those cultures had different traditions associated with marriage, different ways that the two to be married would be chosen, different taboos, different superstitions.

    Late 20th century white Christian USians don’t own the word “marriage”. You hear them say “They should have all the same rights, but I’m uncomfortable with the word ‘marriage'”, as if it’s their word to begin with. It’s not. They can’t have it. Neither they nor their god has any claim or place of authority in my marriage, and they have no moral or legal standing in anyone else’s. Sure, we could make up this other name for this legal binding of two people who love each other enough to be each other’s closes family, and get a particular set of rights and responsibilities associated with it. But we already have a word for that. That word is “marriage”.

  4. Unree
    Unree March 27, 2013 at 11:55 am |

    Which is why Scalia did not win the game of Gotcha he tried to play with Ted Olson at the argument. Scalia said, ‘when exactly did not letting same-sex couples marry become unconstitutional? When the Constitution was ratified? When the Fourteenth Amendment arrived?’ If Jill were doing the argument, she would have had a perfect rejoinder.

    1. Emolee
      Emolee March 27, 2013 at 12:43 pm |

      I think when the Equal Protection Clause was added would be an obvious answer (though not the only option). I am a firm believer that denying same-sex couples marriage rights is discrimination on the basis of sex, as well as sexual orientation.

      1. Anon21
        Anon21 March 27, 2013 at 1:13 pm |

        Well, for whatever it’s worth, the framers of the Fourteenth Amendment probably didn’t believe that it prohibited gender-based discrimination, and for that reason, it’s not clear that Nino thinks it does, either.

        1. Emolee
          Emolee March 27, 2013 at 1:25 pm |

          Right, but it has been held to apply to sex by SCOTUS many times, and I really don’t think this is up for debate at that level. So you could be more conservative and go with the first one of those cases. But I don’t think you need to. And, yeah, Scalia’s way of interpreting the Constitution…. very problematic.

    2. TomSims
      TomSims March 27, 2013 at 1:30 pm |

      I thought Scalia was supposed to be brilliant

      “A phrase in the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution requiring that states guarantee the same rights, privileges, and protections to all citizens. This doctrine reinforces that of due process of law and prevents states from passing or enforcing laws that arbitrarily discriminate against anyone.”

      It is very clear to me the same sex couples are covered under the equal protection clause. But of course I’m no lawyer, so what do I know.

      1. Briznecko
        Briznecko March 27, 2013 at 3:59 pm |

        You mean “Racial Entitlement” Scalia? He’s brilliant if you consider twisting the Constitution into the most creatively backwards knots in order to justify bigotry.

  5. Comrade Kevin
    Comrade Kevin March 27, 2013 at 12:34 pm |

    For several generation, Quakers/Friends were read out (disowned) if they married non-Quakers. It doesn’t happen now, but it is often brought up as an example of restrictive rules and guidelines that were once very much in force.

    I’m not sure anyone ever saw it as immoral or unnatural, but many leaders were extremely eager to keep growing the faith. And, in all fairness, since we rolled back that requirement, our numbers have declined. But that’s far from the only reason why.

    Fortunately, we’ve always been a faith group who valued gender equality (yup, it’s in the Bible), so the Patriarchal aspects of reading out are not nearly as prominent as in many faiths.

  6. Ashleigh
    Ashleigh March 27, 2013 at 1:24 pm |

    Great post!

  7. Becca
    Becca March 27, 2013 at 9:19 pm |

    The most radical change to happen to marriage was when it became about love (at the turn of the last century). For the vast majority of the history of marriage, it was about property. You marry who your family works out for you to marry. What’s this rubbish and going out and finding someone that you love and loves you back?!?!? Hogwash!

    1. EG
      EG March 29, 2013 at 7:21 am |

      It’s not that simple. The vast majority of people didn’t have property to begin with. And you can see in texts going back to the early 17th century portrayals of parents throwing up their hands and saying the equivalent of “What can I do? She loves the putz!” That’s as early as I can think of off the top of my head, but I wouldn’t be surprised if such things came up earlier as well.

  8. Fat Steve
    Fat Steve March 28, 2013 at 1:15 am |

    What I find so ironic about the traditionalist stance, is that the actual legal question at issue regards the licensing of same sex marriages. According to Wikipedia “For most of Western history, marriage was a private contract between two families. Until the 16th-century, Christian churches accepted the validity of a marriage on the basis of a couple’s declarations. If two people claimed that they had exchanged marital vows—even without witnesses—the Catholic Church accepted that they were validly married.”

    So, licensing itself is a relatively recent innovation.

  9. The Last Selina
    The Last Selina March 28, 2013 at 1:29 pm |

    There is also the fact that a lot of those traditional rules came from the bible and enforcing them would violate the First Amendment.

  10. LeftSidePositive
    LeftSidePositive March 29, 2013 at 7:55 pm |

    This calls for Betty Bowers on Traditional Marriage(TM)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OFkeKKszXTw

    (content note for sex-negative, anti-sex-worker, classist, and racist language used satirically)

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