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I am thinking about equality today. I am waiting with hope as the Supreme Court takes up "gay marriage", which is a silly term to me in all honesty. We don't call it "rich marriage" for the well-off, or "straight marriage" for the heterosexuals, or "fifth edition in a series of failed marriages marriage" for serial grooms or brides. Whether the first or the last, no matter the circumstances, marriage is marriage. At least, it should be.

But what if the Supreme Court defies logic? What if, in its drive to be activist, it turns its back on a growing consensus that equality of marriage should be afforded to all? What if the ruling tells those who have poured heart and soul, tears and laughter into loving relationships that have not only endured the natural stressors of any relationship, but also the outside influence of visceral hatred, discrimination, belittlement and mockery, not to mention an entirely different set of rights and privileges, that inequality still stands? What if the Supreme Court does the wrong thing?  

What if we aren't presenting all of the equations on the path to equality?

Forgive me for going all elementary, but sometimes the basics prove more effective than the complicated. So, let me begin with two simple word problems. (Don't fret. I hate word problems, too. But these are e-a-s-y.)

Problem One: Johnny and Mary were asked to bring apples to a picnic. Both children asked a neighbor if they could pick the apples from his tree. The neighbor told Mary she could pick 8 apples. When it came Johnny's turn, all the edible apples were gone. Mary, recognizing she could give 4 apples to Johnny and still keep 4 apples, generously divided the apples with Johnny.

If Johnny and Mary each have 4 apples, what does this make them? Equal.

Problem Two: When Johnny showed up at the picnic, his friend Tom didn't have any apples. Tom pleaded with Johnny to share. Johnny refused. Mary's mother, who knew Mary shared the apples with Johnny, saw the boys fighting.  

"If you share, you will still have two apples", she said. "You will have no more or no less than Tom, but if you do not share, Tom won't have any. Is that fair?"

Johnny still refused. Disappointed in the boy, Mary's mother took all 4 of Johnny's apples and told him he could eat pea soup!

When Johnny's apples were taken away, what did that make Johnny and Tom? Equal.

If equality cannot be reached by ensuring equal rights for "gay marriage", perhaps the next step is to challenge "straight marriage" in the courts. Ridiculous idea? Maybe. But, maybe not. If the most prevalent reasoning for withholding marriage equality is steeped in religious ideology, then maybe it is time all marriage be recognized only in religious institutions. Maybe it is time to take government out of marriage altogether. No more benefits for the married. No more tax breaks. No more rights. No more government recognition.

There is more than one path to equality. Perhaps with something to lose, opponents might find something to give.

 

Originally posted to leavingthezoo on Thu Feb 21, 2013 at 03:01 PM PST.

Also republished by Kossacks for Marriage Equality.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Sounds good to me. (3+ / 0-)

    Why should they get special rights?

    "Til you're so fucking crazy you can't follow their rules" John Lennon - Working Class Hero

    by Horace Boothroyd III on Thu Feb 21, 2013 at 03:15:36 PM PST

  •  A nice thought experiment (0+ / 0-)

    but the fact is that there are fairly strong societal reasons for allowing previously-unrelated adults to form new legally-supported family units.  We'd be at a bit of loss if there were no longer any such system.  So ... they should share!

    "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." -- Edward Teller

    by lgmcp on Thu Feb 21, 2013 at 03:19:15 PM PST

  •  The issue is not whether people can associate in (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    commonmass, leavingthezoo, Orinoco

    marriage, but whether such associations will be granted legal recognition by our communities and whether all marriages will be equally rewarded with some special considerations (re taxes) and a relaxation of somewhat ridiculous restrictions (hospital visitation and access to medical records).
    Equality is a slippery critter because we now have lots of evidence that people can be deprived of their rights quite equally. So, for example, complaints that black drivers were being arbitrarily stopped resulted in more drivers of all kinds being randomly stopped more often.
    Equal does not necessarily mean better. Consider that 99% of the American population is now equally poorer than they were forty years ago.

    Some people are really offended by the principle of equality. If some people aren't better than others, how can they justify their claim to authority and to rule?

    We organize governments to deliver services and prevent abuse.

    by hannah on Thu Feb 21, 2013 at 03:49:13 PM PST

  •  Not a thought experiment. See France. (3+ / 0-)

    I'm republishing this to Kossacks for Marriage Equality. This is what's about to happen in France where civil marriage has nothing to do with the churches and only a civil marriage confers rights.

    -7.75, -8.10; . . . Seneca Falls, Selma and Stonewall (h/t cooper888)

    by Dave in Northridge on Thu Feb 21, 2013 at 04:52:15 PM PST

  •  I've heard this argument several times (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    leavingthezoo

    and it totally misses the boat.

    The idea is inclusion into a system created over many years for the adjudication of family issues. That's what I want. If somebody is fighting for some abstract idea of equality, let them fight, but I don't care about abstract notions. I want my husband no longer to be a legal stranger. I want it taken for granted that he is my family and that I am his. I want the law to treat us that way - in inheritance, sharing of finances while alive, healthcare decisions, childcare sharing. I want the law to stop looking at me and seeing something weird and unacceptable. I would like my neighbors to get that, too.

    If there are people who really want to fight to get the govt out of the marriage business they will get no support from me because their fight is ridiculous. And they know it. You know why I know they know it? Because NOBODY has chosen to fight that fight. NOBODY. You haven't. You won't. I can't see any reason why you should, whatever your notions of abstract equality.

    •  Of course I do not want government out of marriage (0+ / 0-)

      What I want is to have the same protections as the "sanctioned" people who are somehow deemed more worthy than a lot of others. There is nothing abstract about this. It is quite clear... IF equality is not made available to all of us, then those preventing equality should have a better idea of what they are keeping from us. If they can't see how unfair it is, what better way to show them then begin stripping them of what they are stripping from us.

      I see I tapped into a lot of energy for you, which is kind of proving my point. If you are this energized about not having marriage recognized by government when, in fact, gay marriage is not recognized by government... imagine the attention it would get when marriage is challenged that IS recognized by government.

      Is it realistic? Probably not. Do I really want marriage to be tossed out on its ear in a governmental capacity? No. I am simply showing that equality can be reached in two ways... and if those who oppose same-sex marriage had something to lose, it might change some views out there. After all, who would just give up the governmental protections provided for marriage? Even if it meant preventing same-sex marriages from ever taking place? My guess is, not very many.

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