Wednesday, September 12, 2012

My latest same-sex marriage rant

Only about half of US states, first cousins can marry each other. The age of consent for marriage can vary wildly state by state. And yet, those married first cousins or 14-year-olds can go to any other state in the country and file a joint tax return or seek a divorce. All of those spouses would receive whatever federal death benefits federal law would entitle a spouse to. There's no confusion, no limbo state where the couple is only considered married in the states that issue marriage licenses to couples like them.

We're beginning to see why treating same-sex marriages differently is such a problem. A married couple moves to Texas where the marriage sadly falls apart, but they can't get divorced. A woman dies, but her surviving spouse is denied the veteran death benefits she would be entitled to if she were male.

And now we've got two Senators who think it's a good, perhaps necessary, idea to pass a law banning same-sex marriages or "marriage like ceremonies" from occurring on military bases. Yes, even military bases in states where same-sex marriage is legal. I can't help but noting that (to the best of my research) both states represented by those men prohibit cousin marriages. So why aren't they worried about keeping those ceremonies off of military bases? In the legal world of differing marriage restrictions state-to-state, why does same sex marriage get to be singled out for unique treatment? Especially given the problems that arise from the treatment.

The fact is that DOMA is a hot mess of a law and pretty unconstitutional to boot. The Feds shouldn't get to refuse to recognize legal marriages. Frankly, nor should other states, as they're not allowed to ignore other types of marriages that wouldn't be allowed within their borders. If the complaint is that if we actually do offer full faith and credit to same sex marriages, then same sex couples can be married in every state of the union, well, I've got news for you. That's already happening. Even if they live in states that prohibit same sex marriage, don't you know couples who have traveled to a state where it's legal? I sure do. For crying out loud, if two people will go to all the trouble and expense to travel to another state to get married even knowing that they'll come home to a state that won't recognize said marriage, doesn't that say a little something about their love and commitment to each other?

You know what, states? Maybe it's not the worst thing if each state gets to decide for itself whether it will issue same sex marriage licenses or not. But we really need to be done with treating those lawful marriage licenses that states choose to issue any differently from any other marriage license. Texas would let two married cousins get divorced, even if the state wouldn't let them get married to begin with. It's time to extend the same courtesy to same-sex marriages. Because this mish-mash of laws, this uncertainty and limbo that legally married couples are forced to live in isn't right.


Anonymous said...

Found you through BlogHer - loved this post. As a bisexual woman, I'm glad I live in a place where I can get married to a woman if I choose, but that is not the case for many of my American friends. It's annoying and sick.

S said...

Thanks for stopping by. Seems like such a simple thing, doesn't it? Choosing the person you want to marry. Doesn't seem like it should cause this much trouble. It certainly doesn't need to.

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