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tffp’s official stance on gay marriage

9 August 2010

First, I’d like to share the excellent smackdown of a dumb anti-gay marriage argument.  Glenn Greenwald, in response to Ross Douthat, posted a great rebuttal.  His closing paragraphs:

[T]he moral, theological and spiritual questions about marriage are every bit as open and unconstrained as they were before.  Just as is true with a whole host of questions on which the State takes no position, private actors are completely free to venerate some marriages and stigmatize others.  Churches, synagogues and mosques are free — as they should be — to sanction only those marriages which their religious dogma recognizes.  Parents are completely free to teach their children that certain marriages are superior and others immoral.  And columnists like Douthat are free to argue that the relationships they want to have are not just best for themselves but are, as an objective matter, morally and theologically superior.

They just can’t misuse secular law to institutionalize those views or coerce others who don’t accept them into having their legal rights restricted based on them.  But if they’re as right as they claim they are, they shouldn’t need to coerce others into acceptance through legal discrimination.  Their arguments should prevail on their own.  The fact that they believe they will lose the debate without that legal coercion speaks volumes about how confident they actually are in the rightness and persuasiveness of their views.

I think that could stand as the final word on the civil rights aspect of the issue.  There are wider issues at hand here, however, and I think our stance at TFFP is worth sharing.

If marriage is a religious institution, as anti-gay marriage arguers claim, then it should be treated as such.  That is, it should be viewed, in the eyes of the state, as having the same legal standing as any other religious ceremony.  Marriages performed in churches should be legally equivalent to baptisms, confirmations, communion, bar mitzvahs, or any other religious gobbledy-gook that those people do.  However, there is societal benefit to be had from people being in that sort of relationship, so the state should perform civil unions.  These civil unions would be non-discriminatory, as they should be if administered by the state, and they would confer the benefits that we deem acceptable, like hospital visitation, inheritance, tax benefits, yadda yadda.  Marriages, since they’re simply a religious practice, would be free to be as discriminatory as the churches want.  You want a marriage?  Go on down to the church and have a blast.  You want to actually have the state recognize your relationship?  Head to the courthouse and get a civil union.

Of course, with marriage being the primary method of perpetuation of the patriarchy, I can’t really advocate for its continued existence, and I’m not sure the civil union approach would eliminate that.  But as long as that garbage is here, I think it’s a good stance.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. 9 August 2010 15:06

    The Greenwald quote, particularly ” if they’re as right as they claim they are, they shouldn’t need to coerce others into acceptance through legal discrimination. Their arguments should prevail on their own,” is also similar to what I think about stereotypical gender roles.

    Anyway, as much as I’m annoyed by the socio-legal institution of marriage, this is a great decision and I’m especially happy that the judge didn’t pull punches. For anyone who doesn’t know, Fannie’s coverage throughout the trial has been particularly good (latest post here: ).

  2. 2 December 2010 00:09

    i think that gay marriage should be allowed in certain states but not in other states -*;

    • 28 December 2010 22:34

      Assuming isn’t some sort of spam address… so it’s cool if straight marriage isn’t allowed in certain states, then.

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