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August 11, 2005

Dance With My Father

What is a reasonable expectation of marriage? Several weeks ago the subject of gay marriage came up and the Angle Man threw me a curveball. Angle Man is an overachieving striver from the bowels of NYC. He has a knack for playing the system up to the limit in a way that's a little bit scary for a guy like me. The curveball he basically threw was that if gay marriage became some kind of law then the first thing he'd do would be marry his father.

It all had to do with money in a way that I couldn't quite figure out, but it basically allowed him to sidestep some capital gains or inheritance law. According to the Angle Man, there are ways that spouses can inherit money that aren't taxed as other kinds of gifts. At a certain level of capital this becomes very significant.

Now I have heard some extraordinarily biting criticisms of white male hegemony, but none so scathing as those delivered by some of my womanist friends. Forget reproductive rights, these black feminists are all about power. Nothing gets under their skin like the idea of rich white men worshipping rich white men, especially the good looking ones that get on television. The idea that they could marry each other legally and find yet more ways to make each other richer just rocks the black feminist world which already reeks of resentment by the treatment black women get by straight white males.

The enemy of my enemy? I just thought I'd throw that out there. When it comes to class, race and gender whom do you think is going to make the most economic advantage of gay marriage? You know damned well.

Posted by mbowen at August 11, 2005 10:51 AM

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The very idea is disturbing - but it is a good thing that something like that would not fly in the courts.

Posted by: james manning at August 11, 2005 01:03 PM

Frank Leon Roberts has something to say about this.

Posted by: George at August 11, 2005 01:30 PM

Oh my goodness.

This is spiraling down uncontrollably.

Is there a particular reason your friend can't marry his mother?

Now you're against gay marriage because white men could take advantage of it?

The straws to which one must grasp to claim to have a reason to oppose gay marriage other than "God said it's a sin" ...

Posted by: ParkerStevens [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 11, 2005 11:59 PM

You are welcome to pull up the Marriage category and read the more substantial arguments.

Posted by: Cobb [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 12, 2005 05:51 AM

I read the first few, I'm not going to read all of them. It turns out one of your substantative arguments is:

"As ever, my point remains. Marriage is a sacred institution ordained by God, the blessing of a union between a man and a woman."

Which is really what this comes down to - you wanting the government to impose your Church's religious views on every Church in America.

If another church were to teach, as a religious belief, that "marriage is the blessing of a union between two adults who love each other" you want to deny that church the right to marry according to its own beliefs.

The other substantial argument I read again and again is "homosexuality and heterosexuality are different."

That seems like a big point with you. To me it seems worse than obvious. I can't think of any two concepts labeled with different words that are not different. They are different. We should not say they are the same. So what?

What specific difference between homosexual and heterosexual partnerships makes homosexual marriage unacceptable and heterosexual marriage acceptable?

I know, according to your church, God says so. And your church's God should set the policy for every different church and even every atheist in America.

Posted by: ParkerStevens [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 12, 2005 03:30 PM

I am pleased to see you have found some themes worth reading. For that reason I'll pump out some stuff, which is not quite exactly what I want to say but fairly close. I'd rather be socratic in this than spend another day rewriting.

Essentially, I am saying that a church wedding is superior to a Las Vegas wedding, because of the elevated level of committment implied in a vow before God. Not because God says so, but because of the nature of a sacrament. I could say the same thing about a formal swearing into office or before a judge and just filling out an application. If you "swear on your mother's grave", it says something about your level of committment, but not because your dead mother is going to do anything if you break your promise.

Understand that I see the fixed nature of faith as a necessary counterweight to the fluidity of the marketplace. By believing that each plays an important role in our society I see them as checks and balances against each other. If you know anything of Foucault, you know that all knowledge can be seen as of relative value, depending upon who is in power and what credence they give to whatever the idea is. The traditions of the Church (not just 'the church of what's happening now') are useful because they have evolved slowly.

So any political system that overturns the traditions of faith is, by degrees, tyrannical. And if enough sentiment can be drummed up to overturn one of the greatest traditions of not just my church, but dozens of Christian, Jewish and Muslim sects, then we have definitely overstepped the bounds of reason.

Next the provocative post..

Posted by: Cobb [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 12, 2005 03:53 PM