Gina de Vries

A conversation about marriage, same-sex & otherwise, between me & my parents

Filed By Gina de Vries | May 15, 2008 5:30 PM | comments

Filed in: Living, Living, Marriage Equality
Tags: LGBT families, MA, marriage, queer

From my mom:


I know you don't believe in marriage, but for those who do and want their unions recognized, this is a huge victory.

From my dad:

Besides, Shannon Minter [an old friend] argued the case.

From me:

You know, you're both absolutely adorable.


And, my feelings about marriage are complicated.

I believe in the seperation of church and state, and for the state to be involved in marriage -- which, to my mind, should be a spiritual and personal decision, not a decision that the state is involved in -- is weird to me. Always has been, honestly. I just don't want the state in my heart or my pants.

When I think about marriage as a personal/spiritual choice, as an Act of Love? I'm actually kind of a softie and a romantic. I don't see myself ever getting married, for a lot of reasons. But I've seen friends and family get married as an Act of Love, and it's made me pretty damned happy for them.

When I think about marriage as an Act of the State, it's much more complicated for me:

I don't believe that marriage should privilege people in couples over people who aren't in couples. I don't believe that marriage should be peoples' keys to things like health care or ability to see partners in the hospital or whether or not they get citizenship in this country. Which is part of why I'm frustrated that the queer (well, no, the mainstream gay & lesbian movement, really) has put so much energy into fighting for marriage, as opposed to fighting for things like universal health care and immigrant rights. There's just something very elitist about the "rights for people in married couples, not for people who aren't in married couples" mentality that colors the marriage equality movement. I want *everyone* to have those rights and those choices, not just married couples.

That said: I don't at all begrudge people who get married to access the rights I just mentioned. You make do with what you have to get by, you know? And the fact that now same-sex couples can make this choice in California *is* pretty fucking huge. I am happy that friends of mine in same-sex couples can now access things that friends of mine who are in opposite-sex couples have always had access to. This means more access for more people, which is a kind of progress.

But I maintain that the rights that marriage allows people to access should be accessible for all people, not just marriedz.

Okay, off my soapbox.

Love you,

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I don't believe that marriage should privilege people in couples over people who aren't in couples. I don't believe that marriage should be peoples' keys to things like health care or ability to see partners in the hospital or whether or not they get citizenship in this country.

I think most people are right there with you when they stop and think about it. There's just so much momentum in the other direction, but even Salt Lake City and Idaho recognize that rights traditionally associated only with marriage don't have to be, or shouldn't be.

I always say that marriage should be left to the churches and the government just gives out civil union certificates to partners. That way the government is out of the marriage business and only has the mechanism for tax purposes, etc. Universal healthcare would solve the need for marriage to gain health care, so let's hope Obama/Clinton follows through on their health care plans.

Robert Ganshorn Robert Ganshorn | May 16, 2008 2:01 AM

Additional point guys. My partner of 32 years (In October), I, one of my Hoosier Republican Ladies and her husband were having drinks in a restaurant in south Florida last year. Her husband has a BA in chemical engineering from Purdue, wife Masters in library science, my parter PhD in psychology, myself Masters Journalism/business admin. Not the dumbest table in the restaurant.

All at once, her husband takes his nose out of his scotch and announces, for no particular reason, that he is opposed to gay marriage on religious grounds. His wife, my friend, looks at the tablecloth. My partner, looks at the tablecloth. My partner is nearly 24 years older than I, and I responded:

"It is not that I particularly care about the mumbled words of a minister, but the presumption is when you bring your domestic partner (indicating my friend) into a hospital *anywhere* that you can make decisions in their best interest if they are unable to do so for themselves. That is what this is about, along with the interests of children, property and inheritance rights you take for granted that we have had to create an incorporation to duplicate."

My friend kicked her husband under the table, and he put his nose back into his scotch. When I was originally out, I spurned the idea of marriage, as a failed concept. When I found my partner I considered a "holy union," but thought that to be a pale imitation of a failed concept.

Gina, consider how lucky you are that your intelligent parents are arguing on the side of a Gay issue.