Bil Browning

Challenging the right wing - one person at a time

Filed By Bil Browning | September 25, 2007 1:55 PM | comments

Filed in: Fundie Watch, Marriage Equality, Media, Politics
Tags: boxturtlebulletin, family values, fundamentalists, Jim Burroway, LGBT civil rights, lies, marriage, rhetoric

Box Turtle Bulletin's Jim Burroway has a post up today that will literally make you want to stand up and cheer. He suffered through the Family Impact Summit held in Tampa, Florida recently and describes an incident that stuck out. It shows all of us the importance of stating your own truth and challenging the rhetoric of the right wing extremists.

...But it mostly went like this: we're all prone to mental illnesses and physical diseases, we've all been abused as children, we're all substance abusers, and we don't really want marriage because we don't want it to interfere with our promiscuity...

After the panelists had their say (after about an hour of this, I might add), the "town hall meeting" was finally opened up to questions from the floor. And the second questioner, a brave young woman wearing a red tee-shirt, was a stunner:

Hi. My names is Cathy James and I would like to challenge all of the individuals here listening today to really take a look at some of the rationale and some of the comments that speakers have given in regard to things such as ...why government gets involved with personal relationships, that is, for the procreation of children. I think as most of the attorneys will tell you, that civil marriage was created for one purpose only, and that was property and how to divide property.

And so I am a lesbian, I live in the Riverview area with my partner of thirteen years and our son who is seven. And I go to work Monday through Friday and attend church weekly, I volunteer at the school, I volunteer at the homeowners association. And what I have a hard time understanding is why you are interested in keeping a legal framework from us in being able to handle the same things as heterosexual couples and such things as visitation, and hospital.... And how to divide our property in the same way, and how to parent our child?

The stunned silence was amazing.

Click thru to read the rest of the story and see how the fundies try to counter logic with more rhetoric.

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Cathy states that Civil Marriage was created for one purpose only…property and how to divide property? Does that make sense?

If two parties are worried about how their joint property will be divided upon their death or in the event that they just simply don’t want their property held jointly any longer, does marriage seem like the best way to determine who will get what property? It seems like a will or a contract would be a better fit than a marriage agreement, does it not?

It seems like there must be some additional motivations involved for the government to offer and people to bind themselves to a marriage agreement than just property. Doesn't Cathy oversimplify the issue?

Well, I don't really know if I subscribe to the substance of what Cathy's saying, but the reaction from the people she's talking to is priceless? Who cares if she's got it right on the origin of marriage (which, BTW, had a lot to do with property division.... like who owns what woman).

It is exponentially more complicated than Cathy's representation of the issue. However, the part that did not make it into Bil's post was this:

And as I sat down to enjoy another dose of verbal gay-bashing at a town hall meeting called “Defending Marriage: What’s At Stake?” I overheard two people behind me talking about a small protest by gay activists that was taking place outside.

“Do you think any of them will try to come in here?” the older one asked.

“Nah. They won’t bother because they know they won’t be able to find anyone to have sex with afterwards,” sneered the other.

“Hah! So true!”

When the people you are trying to make a point to can only see in two opposing views (black or white, right or wrong, us or them), you have no choice but to boil it down to something pretty simple.

Marla R. Stevens Marla R. Stevens | September 26, 2007 10:46 PM

However it started, today, for a significant number of us who have gotten civil marriages, it's about the commitment with the backing of the law -- it just adds a depth and sense of security to our relationship commitments that we could never have imagined prior to becoming civilly married.

And it's about simple justice -- a form of being real and having that acknowledged by equal access to that big rite of passage of civil marriage.