Saturday, 4 April 2009

Go Iowa!

So, Iowa legalised gay marriage. Hooray for that. A rural, non-coastal state getting a clue gives me hope that one day, ONE day, gay marriage might actually make federal law in the states, giving me the option of emigrating to the states with my beloved as a real honest-to-goodness American-by-marriage. I'm not saying I definitely WOULD, I'm saying it'd be nice to be ABLE to.
But it raises a question. A question that the blog Queers United have irritatingly beaten me to.
Over here, we call gay marriage 'civil partnership' because the religious lobby claimed that marriage was a sacred term. Yeah, because there are no married atheists at all, right?
Any suggestions for a neutral, inclusive and descriptive term? answers on a postcard. Or in comments, whichever.


  1. I know, yippee about Iowa! Now my "blue" state just needs to catch the fuck up.

    I think it should be civil unions for everyone, and if people want to go out and do the religious ceremony, that should be a non-binding thing.

  2. I remember when they first allowed unions of any kind in Oregon. I worked right across the street from the county courthouse where people would get their licenses. All of a sudden, there were flowers and rushed ceremonies outside our dock, in the industrial part of the city, and all these giddy, happy people celebrating.

    I say we call it something completely different. How about a commitment celebration? Most people that want to be together, no matter who they are, want to tell the world they are making a commitment to each other.

    But then again, marriage has a bit of a negative connotation to me so I like the positive note of celebration.

  3. I quite like this idea. GIVE the religious bigots marriage as a 'sacred covenant with god' but attach the actual legal rights to a separate term. Civil union in place of 'marriage' and 'commitment celbration' for wedding. Quick question though: what's the verb? I use 'civilised' :) but it could lead to misunderstandings.

  4. I know 'marriage' -- as a concept, as a ceremony, as an institution -- gets a bad rap, but why not reclaim the word? exactly BECAUSE it will piss off the religious and homophobic lobbies, and make them accept the equality of long-term partnerships, regardless of religious, civil or sexual orientation?

    As long as They can think of it as something else, something fundamentally different from what They do, They will never consider it to be on equal terms from what They do.

    Is this naive? (I fully accept that it might very well be. Maybe I think this is possible because I got 'married' in a non-religious way...?)

    Or, think of it this way: Why should heterosexual couples alone be allowed to suffer the misery of 'marriage'? It is my firm belief that ALL people should have equal opportunity to be unhappy...


  5. I suppose it has to do with the whole separation of church and state thing. (It makes me laugh hysterically every time I hear that America has this: do they bollocks!) Historically does marriage as a religious institution predate it as a legal one? I'm actually not sure. If so, I'm more than happy to accept the religious right's prior claim ON THE CONDITION that they accept that their religion has no legal bearing on my rights. I guess I don't equal rights with married people, I want something better.

  6. sorry, no sleep. there should have been a want in that sentence.

  7. I'm sure that marriage, like any institution, has been appropriated by whatever needs religion needed it to serve (along with just about everything else), so there's no reason why it shouldn't be re-appropriated again in a post-religious, secular context.

    Not that we're there yet. Obviously.

  8. I take your point but I see it as two kids fighting over a lollipop. My instinct is not to try and get a lick of someone else's or to snatch it from them, to go away from the fight and get a huge bar of chocolate. Now the lollipop looks pretty silly, doesn't it? I shouldn;'t try to do analogies at 2am, but I at least know what I mean.

  9. I was loving Jon Stewart's take on this. Go Iowa!