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Marion On June - 26 - 2011

We are the United States of Shallow Americans. We obsess over the nuance in a phrase or a word and are distracted by the most inane things, thus allowing the sheisters and idealogues, whom we reckon good enough to govern us, free rein to rape and pillage our way of life.

The media is the real driving force of this country, and even that’s not made up of responsible professionals anymore.

I watch a BBC political opinion show, and I can expect the moderator to be somone who’s covered the political scene since the year dot. I can expect analysis from seasoned political strategists from both sides of the political equation, as well as reliable fact-based opinion from ex-politicians finding new life in the media. What I don’t get is a one-sided echo chamber inhabited by ex-sportscasters, superannuated bloggers, hate-filled failed movie producers and lawyers who’ve found a lucrative side business in political scamming, society matrons, social climbers and ladies who lunch. I don’t get comedians who want to be political pundits until they say something totally unacceptable, and then they hide behind the comedian identity. I don’t get flip-flopping political hacks.

Everybody, his brother and his dog have been obsessing this week about wanting the President to come out and verbally give his support to gay marriage. They actually want to hear him say “marriage.” It’s not enough for him to say he supports civil unions.

Maybe he should just say he supports civil unions for all, because “marriage” is a euphemism for civil union.

That’s right. Marriage is a civil union. That’s why all clergymen, priests, rabbis, and imams are licenced by the STATE to perform marriages, as are various civil officials. In the US, as in other countries like the UK, people wanting to commit to a civil union, can do so in a place of worship or in a municipal setting. In fact, some countries, such as France and Italy, only recognise civil unions performed by licenced municipal officials. In France and Italy, you hitch up to a civil union in the local town hall, the ceremony being officiated most times by the local mayor.

In fact Nicolas Sarkozy, as mayor of Paris, officiated at the first civil union of the woman who eventually became his second wife. Go figure.

Afterwards, if you want to have your civil union blessed by a church official in a reasonable facsimile of a white wedding, there’s nothing to stop you; but in and of its own, this ceremony isn’t legal.

So, given that this President has enacted legislation which gives same sex couples the same beneficiary rights as heterosexual couples, and given that he says he believes in civil unions, I think it’s more than fair to say he believes in same sex marriages just as much as he believes in hetero civil unions.

Another thing … he’s saying nothing new when he says that the individual states need to iron out marital laws regarding this. This has always been the way, even before the frivolous and totally unnecessary showpiece legislation, DOMA, which was, incidentally, signed by one Bill Clinton,Democrat.

Mostly marital laws dealt with the age in which one could legally marry without the consent of a parent or legal guardian. Age limitations varied from state to state, but marital statuses were recognised nationally. That’s why, even though people were astounded at the time, Jerry Lee Lewis was able to legally marry his cousin, who was fourteen some fifty-odd years ago. And this was why Loving v Virginia was hauled before the Supreme Court: SCOTUS ruled against the Commonwealth, who, formerly, had legally banned interracial civil union.

When this President instructed his Department of Justice not to defend DOMA in court, he was enforcing constitutional checks and balances. He was ensuring that government works in accordance with the Constitution. With the present make-up of the House and Senate, there is no way DOMA (an Act of Congress) can be repealed.

You do realise that an Act of Congress can only be repealed by another Act of Congress and not an Executive Order, don’t you? If you don’t, then you seriously need to seek out some Civics 101 classes.

If enough courts, even the present corrupt one masquerading as the Supreme Court, strike down state marital laws which prohibit people of the same sex from marrying or formin a legal civil union, the DOMA, itself, becomes obsolete and unconstitutional. As more and more states enact marital legislation thus, the pressure will be on other states to follow suit.

It’s a long-winded process, but in the end, most successful changes in major laws are long-winded processes and the sort which tend to last.

5 Responses so far.

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  1. choicelady says:

    Brava, Marion! All the way across the shining sea, you explain the law and the democratic processes better than the pundits right here in the good ol’ US of A who trash Obama for not “repealing” DOMA. Thank you!

    I do not understand why we do so poorly not just with Civics 101 but with our own desires. We wanted to END the imperial presidency, but we whine now we got our wish. I feel as if I’m living in a “Fractured Fairy Tale” with the Good Witch granting us three wishes which, when we get them, we whine and find fault with them.

    Marriage is entirely an economic, legal, civil issue. Period. Each state CAN determine the qualities of marriage -- and may I make one critique -- Jerry Lee Lewis married his own cousin when she was THIRTEEN not 14. It’s legal in Alabama with her parents’ permission. Do NOT ask me why. Marriage age below the legal age of consent is permissible in several Southern states.

    In some states you may marry your first cousin, in others you may NOT. (An adult acquaintance years ago got married to her first cousin in New York then had a wedding in Illinois since she legally could NOT marry him in Illinois. This is a MAJOR case in point about civil unions in heterosexual lives.) Apparently in Alabama you can marry just about anyone just about any time just about anywhere so long as you’re the same race. An Alabama JP refused to marry a racially mixed couple about 3 years ago. Some things appear to be sacred in Alabama. Some things don’t seem to matter at all such as civil rights and SCOTUS decisions.

    Anyway, this is super analysis of the law, of history, of regional variation, and I thank you. No damn reason Obama should be dissed for upholding civil unions when they bear ALL the hallmarks of what most of us call marriage. They are NOT second class marriages. Is he shying away from the WORD marriage? Maybe. For a lot of people that means “legally bound IN a church” and we could see from the secondary NY law (and that of CA) the right to first amendment freedom of religion means NOPE, no church can be forced to perform weddings. OK by me. He is making the same distinction CA wanted to make in opposing Prop. 8. Marriage as a civil union should be open to all consenting adults. Weddings -eh, not so much. But until the entire nation parses out “marriage” vs. “weddings” and we have uniform understandings of each term, then OK -- I will go with civil unions as the thing where you get the license, never mind the tulle.

    Now, since you’ve done this brilliantly -- can you explain Jerry Lee Lewis’ aunt and uncle? What WERE they thinking? If you can’t explain them, don’t worry. I don’t think anyone can.

  2. I don’t agree. Cultures change. Life is fluid, not static. I think the biggest things that may diminish the concept of marriage are the all too often cases of divorce, multiple marriages, domestic violence, adultery….etc.
    People like those in Focus On The Family and those that support DOMA that cheat, divorce and marry several times, are the ones diminishing the supposedly sacred institution of marriage. And requiring the state to approve marriage is a bunch of baloney. What has the state to do with love? What has the church to do with love?

  3. 2ccp, that’s pretty much the way my daughter sees it too.

  4. Quite frankly, KT, I don’t want to get married. I believe the institution has been proven to be worthless. Divorce, domestic violence, abandoned children, emotional abandonment, etc. However, I’m tired of being told that my relationship is inherently worthless, just because my partner and I do it better.

  5. KQuark says:

    Yes because no matter what you call it based on our culture if you call it something different than marriage it implies it’s something diminished.


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