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Posts Tagged ‘marriage’

Just a quick reminder that, in the world that Peter Hitchens lives in:

– marriage is dead;

– weddings mean nothing;

– a decision to commit to a romantic relationship, and ask the government to formally recognise your family unit, must be absolutely and indefinitely binding for everyone involved, no matter how much about your own or your partner’s personality or behaviour or preferences have changed in the ensuing years and decades;

– and anything which loosens the law’s iron grip on you, once you’ve entered into a voluntary agreement with another human being, and allows you to reconsider the terms, is a totalitarian abomination.

Oh, and from a different section of that same article, all violent criminals are probably on drugs and the base rate fallacy doesn’t exist.

If I lived in a universe quite so miserable, my face might look like that too.

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Eeeeeeeee!

We’re internet celebrities again, me and my beautiful Rock n Roll Bride.

Gosh. It really was a lovely day, that one time we got married.

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Before the con, we had three nights in a snazzy hotel, slightly further out into Kent, and just revelled in having absolutely nothing to do for days on end. We lounged in bed and read books and watched every episode of Spaced. We found the energy before we left to pootle over towards Dover and stroll along the white cliffs, pausing for a cream tea at the far end and then coming back to join the National Trust.

I have no particularly profound thoughts about any of this, and being a comfortably middle-class twat trying to show you my holiday slides isn’t one of the tangents I’m keen for this blog to start taking. So we had a very nice time and that’s all you really need to know.

Before all that, we got married in a treehouse on Monday. Everyone came and had a great time. There was food and music and favourable weather. Everything was perfect.

I’ve not been sure what to say about this bit. We love each other, so we got married. In many ways it was just that straightforward.

Of course, in a lot of cases, either it isn’t that simple or it shouldn’t be. Some people love each other but don’t want to get married. Some people would love to get married but can’t. Some people change their mind about being married later and, in trying to get things back to normal, collide with a nightmarish system which strongly incentivises spite and vindictiveness. Some people have relationships and loves in their lives that don’t fit neatly into one particular centuries-old heteronormative ideal of how humans ought to interact. Some people want to do things their own way, a bit differently, in ways that society still seems determined to punish them for.

There’s a lot of political and cultural bullshit surrounding marriage, to the point where I don’t even really know whether I support its existence as an institution.

But in our isolated and privileged little corner of the world, it was as simple as a four-year-old’s innocent depiction of two people getting married because they love each other.

Political bullshit aside, there’s room for it to just be a simple, lovely thing, too.

Here’s some pictures of me and my wife looking cute at our lovely wedding which we spent months fretting and stressing over and slightly less time actually working on organising and which I’m very very glad we never have to do again.

Photos courtesy primarily of Camera Hannah, and also a couple from James Surnameunknown.

Godless socialism again tomorrow. Hurrah!

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I think same sex couples should be able to get married.

Thus spake President Obama yesterday, and yea, there was much rejoicing.

And maybe there should be. It’s a positive development, after all, to have such an unequivocal statement of support from the leader of the free world. People in same-sex relationships are still having to struggle hard for equality all over the world, whether that struggle is just a matter of being taken seriously, or the right not to be executed as an abomination in the eyes of God.

But a lot of the public reaction has been over the top. I don’t want to take anything away from gay people for whom this is a significant victory. But too much import is being ascribed to too insipid a gesture.

Society is changing, and Obama’s announcement reflects just how far we’ve come in a relatively short time. How long ago would it have been impossible to imagine the President of the United States saying something like this? Twenty years? Less? But compare that to Obama’s own “evolving” view on the issue of same-sex relationships. See how far he’s come in, say, the past sixteen years, back when the then State Senate hopeful’s stated position was:

I favor legalizing same-sex marriages, and would fight efforts to prohibit such marriages.

Huh. So, long before he was running the show, he felt at least as strongly about this as he does now. In fact, if he was prepared to actually fight for it back then, he’s arguably back-pedalled since. Nearly four years into his presidency, he now supports individual states’ rights to decide on what side to let the law come down. (Not, as Radley Balko points out, a stand he seems to take on many other matters.)

In fact, there were a lot of provisos accompanying his statement of support yesterday. I’ve quoted the main highlight above, but he took a lengthy run-up to get there:

…at a certain point I’ve just concluded that for me personally it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that…

…I think same sex couples should be able to get married.

You’re welcome, gay people.

I think it’s fair to say that after much careful deliberation and contemplation I’ve decided provisionally but with conviction that it’s become a moral necessity for me as an individual in my own way to just go right ahead and stick my neck out there and lay my cards on the table and say that at the end of the day I happen to think in my own head personally all things considered that Barack Obama ought to stop being such a fucking politician about this.

I don’t question the sincerity of his feelings at all. I’m sure he’s perfectly fair-minded and decent and progressive about same-sex relationships. I doubt there’s a homophobic (or hetero-supremacist, or whatever) bone in his body. But he has to constantly worry about whether expressing an honest opinion is going to cost him 10,000 votes in a swing state, which would of course result in TOTAL CATASTROPHE. And so his honest opinion is often a long time coming. Because politics is insane.

I share many queer folk’s joy that we continue to see signs of an approaching time when this whole discussion is irrelevant, and true equality is really possible. But some people’s gratitude at having their humanity acknowledged is spilling over into a kind of demeaning, fawning obsequiousness.

He’s not your saviour, and he’s not some hero deserving of your worship. At best, he’s someone who means well and is finally making some sort of effort to do the right thing. But you’re a human being deserving of dignity and respect entirely on your own merits, without having to wait on anybody else’s say-so.

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Monogamy is not the problem, and doesn’t need curing. But there’s definitely a problem.

– An MP and a Knight of the Realm thinks gay marriage is going to lead to censoring Shakespeare. He says the idea shouldn’t be dismissed as “fanciful”, so I’ll dismiss it as hysterical and moronic instead.

Geometric porn. Possibly NSFW, depending on the creative imagination levels of your co-workers.

– And a thing I wrote elsewhere about Trayvon Martin.

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– An atheist billboard ad depicts a black slave, to decry the Bible’s condoning of slavery. The Bible quote, “Slaves, obey your master” – arguably the only truly offensive part – is the one part that doesn’t get vandalised within a day.

– The “war on women” is, in large part, a war on sex. There are cases where it predominantly seems to be fought by men, and where women are more clearly the direct victims, but it’s time we all started complaining as people, not as member of one or other gender. The demonisation of sex itself needs to end.

– Goldman Sachs seems like a classic capitalist success story: a continuous string of multi-million-dollar out-of-court settlements for all kinds of legal violations that don’t prevent the company or its executives from profiting billions.

– It’s about time for marriage equality. I’m really looking forward to a time when gender is no more relevant than hair colour, in marriage or relationships or personal identity.

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Here’s a quick thought, while I’m still not putting too much pressure on myself to be interesting regularly on here. I may have had a brainwave about this whole gay marriage debate.

Okay, so on one side, you’ve got religious folk and other traditionalists. They’re hung up on the institution of marriage being some hallowed thing, which has remained unchanged through the ages and shouldn’t be fiddled with now. Many of them are fairly supportive of gay rights, and even equality, at least nominally – but only in the form of civil partnerships, which should allow same-sex couples many of the same rights under the law as any opposite-sex married couple, without changing the definition of marriage.

On the other hand, many same-sex couples think they should be entitled to more than just a separate-but-equal arrangement, which still somehow categorises them as second-class citizens, and excludes them from being an equal part of everyone else’s society.

I think there’s a middle ground we’ve all been missing.

Let’s say we make a new thing, kinda like civil partnerships, but unrelated to traditional marriage.

And let’s say we call it “marrij”.

Don’t worry, we’re not changing the definition of marriage. That’s still going to work the same as it was. But we can introduce a new way of recognising the relationships of people who can’t get married, such as same-sex couples, and giving them some of the… well, let’s say all of the legal rights that married people get.

Any two people, regardless of sexual or gender identity, can get “marrijed” (pronounced MAH-REED). It’s much like getting a civil partnership, and they’ll receive all the associated legal and publicly recognised benefits, in a system distinct from the sacred traditions that need to be preserved, but which is closer to equality than anything available now.

The state can marry, or marrij, any such couple who want to participate in either arrangement. Churches can recognise one or the other, or both, and won’t be forced to get more involved in marriages or marrijes any more than they’re comfortable with.

Did I just fix gay rights?

If this has a successful trial run, polygamous marrij is the next step.

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Wait, that sounds wrong. The Gay Slope. No, that’s got problems of its own.

Anyway, this is a brief post about the “slippery slope” argument as applied to gay marriage.

Martin Robbins is getting frustrated at the persistence with which many campaigners are seeking to Keep Marriage Heteronormative. He dismantles the various anti-equality arguments well enough, but that shouldn’t really even be a challenge for any thinking person these days.

Still, however many times all this needs to be repeated, there’s no forcing anybody to accept it, and there might be no escape from the futile waste of time that seems to present itself as the only solution: Wait until the generation of people who come stubbornly pre-opposed to the idea die off, and society is primarily comprised of those who’ve grown up amid this conversation and who can easily tell which, generally speaking, is the side that makes sense.

There’s just one thing that comes up in Martin’s piece which I want to comment on. One question being asked by the Coalition for Marriage is:

If marriage is redefined once, what is to stop it being redefined to allow polygamy?

The same answer can be given here as with any question that takes this form.

The thing that will stop us from redefining marriage to allow polygamy, if anything, is simply this: a good reason why we shouldn’t redefine marriage to allow polygamy. Are there any of those? Well, maybe. Martin suggests not, and I’m inclined to agree, but that’s for a discussion about polygamy to decide. Right now we’re talking about gay marriage. So, are there any good reasons why we shouldn’t redefine marriage to allow same-sex partnerships? We’re still waiting.

If we do terrible thing A, what’s to prevent us from doing terrible thing B later?

Rational arguments against terrible thing B that simply don’t apply in the case of terrible thing A. That’s what.

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I’m all for more liberal relationship norms. I strongly think we should be striving to break away from the idea that monogamy is some supreme standard we ought all to aspire to. It shouldn’t even be the default mode. It’s working very nicely for me, thank you very much, but it’s high time we stopped having to call it an “alternative” lifestyle if people want to form different-sized groups with different, complex relationship dynamics of their own.

But cheating on your wife for six years, then, when she finds out, asking if you can’t carry on seeing both of them, is not what polygamy is. It’s not a way to bring about a freer and more loving world.

Dammit, Gingrich.

Christina knows the difference:

Here’s how you don’t do polyamory: First you get married to wife #1 (Jackie) and presumably have monogamous vows. Then, you cheat on her. Then she gets cancer and you divorce her while she lay stunned by the news of your affair. Six months later, you marry the woman with whom you cheated on your first wife with (Marianne), presumably having monogamous vows. You have a clandestine affair for six years, then decide you want a divorce so you can marry your mistress. After you tell your current wife you want a divorce, you tell her you will stay with her if she agrees on an open marriage. When she cannot agree, you divorce her and marry your third wife (Callista).

As my friend TheNerd said, “Comparing Gingrich to polyamory is like comparing wife-beating to BDSM.”

The fact that monogamy might not be for him isn’t why Newt’s not someone we should want as president. The fact that he’s repeatedly demonstrated himself to be a lying, cheating ass? That bodes less well.

The writer of a Fox News opinion column has a hilarious take on all this:

Three women have met Mr. Gingrich and been so moved by his emotional energy and intellect that they decided they wanted to spend the rest of their lives with him.

Yeah. And he’s been so unmoved by any sense of compassion for each of them in turn that he’s responded to their affections by treating them like dirt. This is not a sign of such “energy and intellect” that we should be holding him up as a paragon of leadership and conviction. This is a sign of being a self-centred douche.

Mind you, you know what’s really “despicable” about the number of wives Newt’s cheated on? Daring to bring it up while he’s trying to persuade people that he’s a legitimate candidate for the highest political office in the country.

Now that’s low.

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– I’m going to be way better at being married than this Christian couple who’ve written a whole book about it.

– Anyone remember Christmas With A Capital C, that godawful-looking movie which was being trailed about this time last year, and seemed to be just another outlet for fantasist Christian whining about anti-Christmas oppression? Apparently both the writer and director had a much more thoughtful approach, and it really shows in the finished film. Huh.

– Don’t throw the cat in the furnace… Don’t throw the cat in the furnace… Oh god is he going to throw the cat in the furnace? Oh thank fuck. That was creepily tense.

– And that’s it. I’ll be off for at least a day. Happy Christmas. Or, as we atheists say: Happy Christmas. (Thanks to Robin Ince for that line.) See you soon.

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