California’s Recent Legalization of Gay Marriage
What’s that? You didn’t ask. Well, that’s fine, ‘cause I don’t care very much either way.
Well, that’s how I felt at first. Sure, this is historic. And so I changed my Facebook status to: iJim is “excited about gay marriage in California, although he’s received no offers.” Many of my friends are really excited about it. Many of my coupled friends.
It’s exciting for those who have a non-US-born partner (Tim and Alistair, Claire and Barbara). Or those without health insurance who might now be able to add them to their policies (Bob and James). Now that I think of it, there are more of these couples than I realized.
But for me–eh.
Maybe it’s because I’m new to California. Had this happened in my former home of Minnesota, I’d be more interested. I’d certainly be more surprised.
Plus I live in Palm Springs, where it’s 104 degrees. It’s hard to get worked up about anything in this heat. And I feel a bit remote, at least two hours from a real city. If I were in Los Angeles, where there was a rally at the corner of San Vicente and Santa Monica Boulevard, I’d probably go. But just to look at the boys.
Or maybe it’s because I’m single and bitter. Maybe I can’t see anything except through the lens of how this affects me today. But I’m not bitter. And not that self-centered. But if I had a boyfriend…
In graduate school, I thought I was Radical Queerrr. Didn’t believe in monogamy. (A shy guy, I practiced it by default.) Didn’t believe in “mimicking heterosexual social structures.” I wrote one or more screeds on the topic. I think I was just cynical then. I was certainly on the early path to Curmudgeonville, where I now blissfully reside next to Joce. (Call me Gloomeo.)
I didn’t believe that the state (or the State) had any business sanctioning one type of relationship over another. I still believe this. A majority (4 to 3) of the California Supreme Court sort of agreed, saying the state had no “compelling interest” in recognizing straight marriage and not gay marriage.
The decision also decrees that California must recognize gay marriages performed in other states. Maybe that will apply to Canadian marriages, too. David and Daniel will be glad. (Daniel will say he’s “fuckin’ ecstatic.” He may even use his jazz hands.) They got married in Vancouver and live in California.
And, you don’t have to be a resident of California to get gay-married in California. Will Palm Springs be the gay-marriage Las Vegas? Drive-in gay-wedding chapels with Cher impersonators officiating. I shudder.
Yet. The decision goes even further. According to the Los Angeles Times: “The majority opinion, by Chief Justice Ronald M. George, declared that any law that discriminates on the basis of sexual orientation will from this point on be constitutionally suspect in California in the same way as laws that discriminate by race or gender, making the state’s high court the first in the nation to adopt such a stringent standard.” (http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-gaymarriage16-2008may16,0,6182317.story)
So before I go too far into raining on the “marriage equality” parade, I should think about the ramifications. Court rulings are about establishing precedent and, as Oliver Wendell Holmes wrote, about protecting the minority from the tyranny of the majority.
Already, there is a movement in California to get an anti-gay-marriage clause into the constitution. Given that the state has a long history of silly propositions being approved by the public, they just might win.
That would be wrong.
That would be, as Christopher Isherwood put it, living under “the heterosexual dictatorship.”
So maybe I care after all.
Now, about that boyfriend…