The Republic of T.

Black. Gay. Father. Vegetarian. Buddhist. Liberal.

Strange Stuff Happening on Marriage

First it was Iowa, where a judge ruled against the state’s ban on gay marriage (and then stayed his ruling hour later, but not before at least a few queers tied the knot). Now there’s two weird stories about presidential candidates and marriage. First, since when is a Republican candidate like Sam Brownback booed for opposing same-sex marriage?

Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton continues to dodge the marriage question.

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But what was more troubling was the fact the after DeGeneres gets done laying out the facts–that Hillary is for civil unions but stops short of gay marriage and why is that?, Hillary has no good answer so she just totally doesn’t answer the question posed to her at all.

… She goes on about how much she supports civil unions and how much she supports ending discrimination against gays and winds up talking about “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” (a policy her husband implemented and yet Hillary behaves as if it were a Bush era policy) which was never asked about in the first place. DeGeneres backs off because after all, this is a morning talk show and not a political program, but I really wish she had forced Sen. Clinton to explain how if she is truly for ending discrimination against gays she can be unwilling to embrace same-sex marriage, because that position is discriminatory.

Meanwhile, history is repeating itself in California. two years ago the California legislature sent governor “Ah-nold” a bill allowing same-sex marriage. Naturally, he vetoed it. Now the legislature has taken another shot at it, by sending Ah-nold a gender neutral marriage bill.

The California Senate, by a party line 22 to 15 vote, has just given final passage to AB 43 (Leno), The Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Protection Act that would restore marriage in California as “a legal contract between two persons,” replacing the language installed by the legislature in 1977. The bill passed the Assembly in June by a 42 to 34 vote. It now goes to the Governor who has until October 14 to decide whether to sign it, veto it, or allow it to become law without his signature.

AB 43 bill redefines marriage in California as a union between two persons, making it gender-neutral, and thereby permitting same-sex marriages in the state.

It does not require any clergy or religious official to solemnize any marriage in violation of his or her right to free exercise of religion.

Interesting that the article says the bill restores language regarding marriage in California. Does that mean that prior to the change in 1977 (not long ago, mind you) that the original language of the law was gender neutral in the first place?

In 1977 the California legislature explicitly defined marriage as a legal tie between a man and a women. The pertinent text is: “Marriage is a personal relation arising out of a civil contract between a man and a woman, to which the consent of the parties capable of making that contract is necessary.” (Family Code Sec. 300.) This status quo position was strengthened in March 2000 when voters passed Proposition 22, an initiative statute which states: “Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.” (Family Code Sec. 308.5.) The vote for the initiative was 61.4% to 38.6%.

So, the bill may not be a change so much as a return to the previous legal language.

Meanwhile, it’s interesting to note that the bill explicitly excludes:

  • polygamy (because it’s defining marriage as between “two persons”
  • bestiality (because animals are not “persons”
  • pedophilia (because it doesn’t appear to lift age restrictions or change the age of consent)

So, we’ll just have to wait and see if the oceans boil, the mountains crumble, etc.

In the meant it’s interesting to note the “govern-ator’s” position.

In his veto message, the Governor reiterated his belief that gay and lesbian couples should be afforded the same rights as married heterosexual couples and that he would “continue to vigorously defend” the rights afforded under the state’s domestic partnership laws.

The problem is that he says he believes same-sex couples should have all the same rights as married heterosexual couples, but he doesn’t say how. And, no, domestic partnership doesn’t count, as we’ve seen from many examples that domestic partnership and civil unions are not equality by any stretch of the imagination. Indeed domestic partnership makes tax time a nightmare for gay couples in California.

But, Ah-nold’s position, when you think about it, isn’t really that different from the Democratic front runners for the White House. They all say the support equality, but back measures that don’t add up to equality, and have no plans on how to get where they say we ought to be going.

So, why do we follow them, again? And, if not toward equality, where exactly are they leading us.


  1. As someone who fully supports rights of all people, I think we need to remember that there are countless people in this country who are very much opposed to gay marriage because of their faith. The president is someone who has to govern all constituencies, not just the ones that vote for him/her. This country needs to be eased in to accepting the gay population.

  2. Seeing half the audience (the libertarian wing, I guess) erupt in boos for Sam Brownback was pretty great. Has gay marriage now become a wedge issue for republicans?