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07/08/2014

In which a perfectly understandable language change leads to a reliable FRC meltdown

by Jeremy Hooper

Because marriage equality is a reality in California, just as it is in eighteen other states, Governor Jerry Brown has signed a bill that does nothing more than clear up the language used in state marriage law. For instace, rather than specify husband and wife, the law now instead addresses spouses. Because that is reality.

But here's what the concept looks like when put through the anti-gay far-right's anti-intellectual spin machine:

Screen Shot 2014-07-08 At 2.03.37 Pm
[Tony Perkins]

Perhaps the silliest thing about Tony's anti-intellectual take on a simply policy change is how he talks like he has any say and/or stake in the matter, when the truth is that Tony and his team already lost this one. Marriage equality is in place in California, and it is there to stay. These claims about us and what we "really" want to do fell flat. In fact, these kinds of ridiculous arguments ultimately helped our side win in court. It's just absurd that they are trying to "find us out" now, as if the LGBT community's efforts to square the language with the reality make up some sort of hidden agenda.

But if we are to address specifics, let's start with the idea that there's a "ban" on husband and wife. What a ridiculous joke. "Spouse" means husband or wife; it is simply the non-gendered version thereof. Of course people can and will still refer to each other as husbands and wives, whether the marriage features one of each or a pair of either. This change just means that the legal document will use the gender-neutral term instead of gender-specific language. Obviously and for obvious reasons.

Then let's move on to the idea that Gov. Brown is trying to "annihilate" maleness and femaleness. This one always floors me. I can't for the life of me figure out why they think the idea of being male or female is a notion absent in same-sex marriages. I mean, the reason why I am in a same-sex marriage is because I am attracted in every way to men rather than women. It's precisely because I recognize maleness and femaleness that I am married to a man.

And then let's round out with the idea that this is "really about abolishing marriage." Yeah? How do you figure? I'm pretty sure that gay Californians, allies, and supporters across the nation have worked very hard for the past several years in order to obtain, preserve, and eventually reclaim marriage rights in the Golden State. Do you really think we would go to all that trouble, at the great expense of time and resources, because we hate marriage? It reminds me of my fellow vegetarian friend who likes to joke that he's veggie not because he has ethical reasons about eating meat but rather because he hates vegetables and wants to kill them. The difference, of course, is that my friend is joking; Tony Perkins is being serious when he ascribes destructive motivation on our good intentions.

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