Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Equality 101


Recently I read a few articles that covered the Marriage Equality victory in California, and felt I had to comment on the issue. Marriage is still a bone of serious contention for our community internationally. We here in South Africa still have hate-groups intent on challenging the legality of marriage equality - once they have finished lynching freedom of the press and ripping the guts out of the Constitution, of course.

Reading the comments by the presiding judge in this case was one of those "yes!" air-punching moments for me, in which the airy-fairy bullshit arguments and junk-science of the Religious Right, in use virtually unchanged since the 1970's, was blown clear out of the water by the admission of common sense and reason - which for some strange reason seems to have been made to sit out on the bench until now.

After all, how can you put human rights to a popular vote and call it democracy? How many times do you need to redefine or haggle about the meaning of the word EQUALITY?

"Judge Walker held that the the right to marry for same-sex couples is a fundamental right, the same as for opposite-sex couples. That's revolutionary." It certainly is, especially when the people trying to take away our right to marry make statements about how vital and fundamental a right it is for heterosexuals.

If you remember correctly, right wingers are known for these claims - and logic in this case indicates that if it is so fundamental to heterosexuals, then it is also just as fundamental a right for anyone else - equality, duh.

People 1 - Bigots 0.

"Domestic partnerships do not satisfy the rights of same-sex couples because they were created in order to deny same-sex couples the right to engage in the institution of "marriage," while approximating the benefits of marriage. Domestic partnership is a substitute and inferior institution."

'Approximating' is correct. If it doesn't SAY "marriage" on the wrapper, then IT ISN'T MARRIAGE. In the advertising field they call that false advertising. If it is in any way manner or form partitioned, separated or segregated, then it isn't EQUAL.

Even here in South Africa we do NOT have true marriage equality. While we can use the word - given us, however begrudgingly - even the law which allows us to do so is called the Civil Union Act and does not allow for marriages out of community of property. Bet you didn't know that, did you?

The original Marriage Act was not amended to reflect that equality - and still stands separately, allowing for all the bells and whistles the Civil Union Act doesn't have. That's correct, even though gay people can marry in SA, they do not do so under the same law that governs heterosexual marriage, they do it under a "separate but equal" law. We South Africans all know how well "separate but equal" works, don't we? *wink*

If you like "Civil Union" so much, why don't YOU get one next time you want to tie the knot?
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Knowing this, it makes the Civil Union Act and Marriage Act seem noticeably lopsided. While you could compare both to the latest sedan on the market, both are cars, have alloy wheels and shiny paint jobs - but only one has air-con, power-steering and sat-nav.

I've been criticized by trans people for being bothered by the marriage equality issue because some feel that it doesn't affect transpeople at all. Naturally, that is a remarkably stupid and short-sighted argument.

It saddens me that so few trans-people seem to be interested in getting involved in activism and politics. Perhaps they are afraid someone will notice them. Oh well...

You think because you're a transwoman that "gay marriage" doesn't affect you? Really? What if you're a transwoman and you want to marry another woman? Or how about this one - you're a transwoman and you want to marry a man, but legally you're still male and the law in your state or country won't allow you to change your legal status... See? Marriage equality for gay people is good for more than just gay people - it's good for us too. More equality is always a good thing, for everyone. Even if you're straight. You might not need to or want to marry another man - but you could if you wanted to.

As a prime example to show the relevance of marriage equality here in South Africa, a couple married under the heterosexist (that's right, I said heterosexIST) Marriage Act are negatively affected when one partner changes gender. The marriage becomes invalid under this Act. No, I'm serious. This happened to a friend of mine. I was at their second wedding this past weekend, because they had to re-tie the same knot that the government decided had to be undone because they hadn't formulated their laws properly.

Call me pedantic, but this would have been completely unnecessary had they been married under a single Marriage Act that didn't discriminate in the first place?

The government are trying hard to take away democracy. They're trying to deprive you of your right to freedom of access to information and freedom of the press right now - you think they will balk at taking away any semblance to marriage equality?

In fact, I'm reasonably certain the reason the original Marriage Act wasn't altered to reflect equality after the 2005 ruling, was so that the powers-that-be thought they wouldn't have to change it back again after they delete the Civil Union Act in the near future (bearing in mind the government had to be dragged to court to force it to put the law into affect in the first place). But oh well, that is just my opinion.

2 comments:

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  2. Why do you think is it so difficult for people to just include everyone in the law and get it over with. Don't they notice that they are just creating more work for themselves later on and wasting precious tax payer money arguing about silly things.

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