Category Archives: gay marriage

January 25, 2015, 12:00 pm

On Gay Marriage and the Trouble With Queer


From left, Jayne Rowse and April DeBoer, same sex marriage litigants. Paul Sancya/Associated Press

There are plenty of righteous political arguments against LGBT people organizing their lives around marriage and family formation. I say this as someone who was relieved to learn I was a lesbian, even though coming out was tough, because the last thing I wanted was to marry and parent children. I wanted work, and I wanted freedom, and being a person who was legally barred from both parenthood and marriage was a huge relief. I also took it too far, and made myself obnoxious to others. People who knew me when I was young may remember that I could be downright nasty towards the special insights, pleasures and benefits that many of my feminist mentors associated with mothering (whatever afterlife you are in, Sara Ruddick

Read More

June 27, 2013, 11:37 am

After DOMA: Should Civil Rights Activists Return to the Local?

Queers for Economic Justice march in New York

Queers for Economic Justice march in New York

In the hours after yesterday’s rulings in Windsor v. United States and Hollingsworth v. Perry, social media may have racked up some of their biggest numbers ever. Every post I put up on Facebook received ten likes or comments every three minute or so, as did the pages of several of my friends.

One prominent theme was how GLBT folk should interpret these rulings, and how they should be understood in light of the week’s earlier decisions in relation to affirmative action (Fisher v. Texas) and the Voting Rights Act (Shelby County v. Holder.) Both of these decisions exemplify the retraction of civil rights accomplishments that targeted women, the poor and people of color. Indeed, many postings by progressive queers and straights expressed disappointment that in the…

Read More

June 26, 2013, 12:44 pm

It’s Called Equal Protection and Due Process, Associate Justice Scalia


As Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote for the majority in today’s historic decision to overturn the Defense of Marriage Act, “DOMA seeks to injure the very class New York seeks to protect. By doing so it violates basic due process and equal protection principles applicable to the Federal Government.” (p. 20)

Yep. What he said: seeks to injure. That is exactly what those people who wrote, promoted, and signed, DOMA sought to do, for their own political gain. Back in 1996, the House Judiciary Committee explicitly stated that the Defense of Marriage Act was intended to “reflect and honor a collective moral judgment and to express moral disapproval of homosexuality.”

The “plain English” version of United States v. Windsor from Amy Howe is over at SCOTUS Blog:

The federal Defense of Marriage Act defines “marriage,” for purposes of over a thousand federal laws and programs, …

Read More

March 31, 2013, 2:19 pm

Feather and Tar Me, But Get Me To The Court On Time


Jack Russell Terrier wedding cake toppers

Remember the scene from My Fair Lady in which Liza Doolittle’s no-good, anti-marriage, alcoholic father (who, in the first act, has tried to sell his daughter to Professor ‘Enry ‘Iggins) effects a vast change in his circumstance by getting a wealthy widow to put a ring on it?

Poor and working class people had few options in Victorian London, and marrying into the middle classes was one of them. Both marriage models are represented in My Fair Lady: Liza marries for love, while her father marries for money. Inviting his drinking pals to “feather and tar me” on the eve of his nuptials, Alfred Doolittle inveighs against the marital state, kisses his many girlfriends goodbye, and orders his friends to “get me to the church on time”:

If I am dancing, roll up the floor,
If …

Read More

October 20, 2012, 9:42 am

Queer Choices: Marriage Equality At The Crossroads

A change is gonna come.

Ballot initiatives determining the future of marriage equality loom in Maine, Maryland, and Washington, while Minnesotans will vote on banning gay marriage in their state. In these difficult times,  Madwoman with a Laptop (formerly known as The Typist at Roxie’s World) has posted yet another eloquent essay on the topic: “The Unbearable Weirdness of Being Voted On.”

Literate folk will be reminded of a famous essay that begins with this passage:

Between me and the other world there is ever an unasked question: unasked by some through feelings of delicacy; by others through the difficulty of rightly framing it. All, nevertheless, flutter round it. They approach me in a half-hesitant sort of way, eye me curiously or compassionately, and then, instead of saying directly, How does it feel…

Read More

May 31, 2012, 10:20 pm

DOMA Heads To The Supreme Court, Threatening End to Civilization As We Know It (Thank The Goddess)

Today's poster boy for straight marriage, John Edwards (Photo Credit: Reuters)

As longtime readers of the Radical know, gay marriage has never been our top political priority.  Nor do we have fantasies about getting gay married. Although we are all for civil rights wherever we find them, we are more focused on policy objectives like health care, quality education for all, and full employment. However, I don’t sniff at the way structural discrimination has been partially lifted for my people under the Obama administration. For example, we are now no longer drummed out of the military through McCarthyite investigative tactics. In addition, Barack’s “evolution” on gay marriage — obscuring (or retracting) the support he voiced for it back in the 1990s, temporizing about it as a presidential candidate and as…

Read More

February 24, 2011, 1:15 pm

Every Little Queer Vote Matters: Reflections On The Demise Of DOMA

“Oh my G-d, he’s marrying another man!”

Now that Rahm Emanuel has gone off to work his magic on Chicago, it seems that everyone in the Obama White House has gone a little light in the loafers, as my Dad used to say.  Clinton-era palliatives to the right wing that beat back the gays, while Republicans reorganized to elect a president who would send our money and our jobs abroad, are dropping like flies. First the military’s Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell received a timetable for withdrawal, and yesterday Attorney General Eric Holder announced that the Department of Justice will not defend the Defense of Marriage Act because it is unconstitutional.

In both cases, the Obama administration is holding out an olive branch to liberals who have been in an impatient “show me” mood.  But looked at another way, one of the things we know about conservatives is that they are increasingly less persuaded, as a…

Read More

January 24, 2011, 10:48 am

It Gets Worse: Queer People “Volunteer” To Help To Ease The Tax Burden For Straight Families

Remember in my last post when I said it doesn’t always get better?  A little bird down the street at Yale –erp, I mean, Oligarch University twigged me last week to a payroll error, because of which 61 employees will see a paycheck reduction of 33% or more for January and the subsequent two months.  Right before winter break, LGBT employees who had taken advantage of Connecticut’s new freedom to gay marry received a letter telling them of a payroll error:  the university had ceased withholding taxes on the benefits received for domestic partners who had become spouses under state law — but not federal law.  The upshot, for those of you who suffer temporary black out when taxes are mentioned, gay married people get to pay two years of taxes in one.

Homos are just more patriotic, that’s all.  Photo Credit.

In many ways, this falls under the category of discriminatory behavior that allows…

Read More

November 29, 2010, 7:48 pm

Department of Archives: GLAD Papers Go To Yale, Mitch McConnell Comes Out

Ssssh!  Don’t let John Boehner know!

That’s Gay & Lesbian Advocates and Defenders, queer history fans.  And Mitch McConnell didn’t really come out, but doesn’t the action figure at right look a lot like Mitch McConnell in a dress?  And wouldn’t it be cool if he did come out, and then helped to get rid of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell?

OK, dream on.  And when I dream, I dream of archives. In case you don’t know why the GLAD archive is important, read on from this press release received on the Radical desk top today:

GLAD is the New England litigation organization whose precedent-setting legal victories include bringing marriage equality to Massachusetts in 2004 and Connecticut in 2008.

Covering all the major social changes and legal developments in contemporary LGBT history – from the HIV epidemic to marriage equality, from transgender rights to the “gayby boom,” GLAD’s records include…

Read More

November 20, 2010, 3:49 pm

In Case You Were Wondering: The Financial Penalties For Being Unmarried

Stigma or Pride?  Shall the Congress or the Courts Decide?

Despite the fact that I would include myself in the category of people who are utterly unmoved by the romance of gay marriage (except when I am softened by pictures of people who are moved by it), I occasionally feel pissed off about structural discrimination that awards bonuses to people who can and do marry.

Today I opened a letter from TIAA-CREF that contains an “update” to my “original contract…which states that same-sex marriages aren’t recognized under current federal tax law” because of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).  Passed in 1996, DOMA defines marriage as a legal contract that can only be entered into by one man and one woman, and was declared unconstitutional by a federal district court last July.  It was signed into law by William Jefferson Clinton, for which (along with welfare reform and NAFTA) he will roast in…

Read More