Perspectives from an English Historian who just happens to be Gay, Catholic, and a Democratic Socialist. Now back in the UK after 20 years of living in the United States. The Blog is eclectic in covering all these sides of my Life. Follow on Twitter at PaulBHalsall
Monday, October 12, 2009
Urvashi Vaid at National Equality March Rally (Washington DC)
Urvashi Vaid, a long term leader in the US LGBT community, gives a powerful speech at the US March for Equality on Sunday 11 October.
That's the equality we need here, an equality that does not keep saying "sorry", that calls for marriage equality in the UK, and that does not cut off the LGBT movement from other groups (who include some of us) as they also organize for equality.
Posted by Paul Halsall at 11:49 am
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Paul you can call partnerships what you want. I don't mind, as long as somebody agrees that a formalised ceremony commits people to fidelity and love and longevity. Or else, what is the point? A tax convenience? Is that all you are after?
Shagging a someone you have picked up in a bar, in the marital bed while your "husband" sits on the sofa downstairs and quietly dies, is hardly a shining paradigm of "marriage" is it?
I agree that may be what happened with Stephen Gately's case - but what arrangements they make were really up to them.
Monogamy, especially practical monogamy, has rarely been the only norm of marriage. People, especially men, often seek other outlets (e.g. via prostitution). And men can be pigs of course. Still there are straight "swingers".
But this is really about equality before the law. For many gay men formal marriage (as in fact civil partnerships) can end up costing quite a lot in tax terms.
So just as a man and women can live together and choose to marry or not, I think that choice should be available to same sex couples.
Yes Paul, you agree, I think, that marriage is a social construct, and in that sense equality is absolutely required. Hardly possible to argue against that. I probably go further, and say that if you are a Christian, you may seek to make your vows before God. There is no such thing as the sin of love.
But having decided to get married, I also hope you agree that it requires certain rules of conduct, or else it is a bit pointless. If, as you say, it is not tax efficient, then why make the fuss? Equality for equality's sake? Demanding to take part in a meaningless ceremony? (Christmas has been similarly perverted)
Tell me, what is your definition of marriage?
For me, as a straight Christian man, it means that I recognise, before God, that I am making a commitment to my wife, a pledge of sticking together and loving her regardless - of trying when I don't want to try, of loving when the love is running on empty, of putting someone else's needs before mine. Love, honour and obey. (Yes, even, obey)If Mrs Weasel got AIDS, or was paralysed, or terminally ill, it would not be an issue with me - my duty, and I hope it would be yours for your partner, would be to care for her until the end. that is the kind of thing which makes marriage meaningful to me - in sickness and in health.
It might seem a bit old fashioned, but I find it enriches me. There is a bit payback.
The Gately case is perhaps symptomatic of a kind of decadence, quite obvious in the gay sub-culture, where debauchery of that kind is held to be normal. It is not normal. It is indicative of an idolatrous worship of sensation for sensation's sake,of selfish pleasure seeking at the expense of others, and as such, I feel it devalues humanity.I would say the same if it was heterosexuals involved. Note that i am careful to say there is nothing wrong with sensation, as such, just the placing of it at the centre of life.
As I suspect you know, meaning (and joy) comes from discovering there are people around you who offer unconditional love. Perhaps marriage, if anything, should reflect that.
How's this for divine justice?
David "Section 28" Wilshire exposed as a serious trougher, by setting up a fake company to siphon off public funds.
WW, on your first point,since I am also a Christian, I agree with you. I really am concerned with (and would oppose any external efforts to force churches to change policy).
I think my idea of marriage is a mix of social, legal, emotional, and experiential thinking. It is by no means absolute. I think it is a publically recognised commitment by two people to be regarded as an emotionally and legally distinct couple, with promises and consequences of mutual support. As far as I can see the best ones occur when the couple fall in love, but continue best when that love matures in a friendship where two souls become one.
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