Right here in Sacramento there is a young couple, Rachel Bird and Gideon Codding, who have gotten themselves caught up in California’s tussle over gay marriage. They recently decided that signing a marriage certificate with the words “Person A” and “Person B” is somehow offensive, and they want to be recognized as “bride and groom” on the legal certificate. Until that happens, they feel that can’t get married at all.
At all. Did you get that? They’ve chosen not to get married rather than sign a piece of paper that says “Person A” and “Person B”.
I’ll let that sink in for a moment.
Further puzzling the matter is that they seem to believe that they now can’t get married, and because of that, they cannot get the marriage benefits that other people who are married — like myself — enjoy. “We just feel that our rights have been violated,” said Bird. A very puzzling statement, because they haven’t been. Furthermore, Codding says, “We feel that some things are worth fighting for.” Like, the right to refuse to sign paperwork that doesn’t have the words on it that you want. And as the article states, “Because their marriage is not registered with the state, Bird cannot sign up for Codding’s medical benefits or legally take his name.” They worry that if, say, Bird gets very sick, she won’t be covered by Codding’s health care benefits. Or if Codding winds up in the hospital, then Bird won’t be allowed to visit him.
Gee, what’s that like?
Ask a few hundred thousand gay couples in the United States, and they’d be happy to tell you.
Says Brad Dacus of the Pacific Justice Institute, “Those who support (same-sex marriage) say it has no impact on heterosexuals. This debunks that argument.” I’m not a lawyer, but I did study philosophy in college, and took several courses in logic and critical reasoning, and I don’t understand Dacus’s position at all. I really mean that. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that it’s just plain stupid. What’s affecting this couple is not a change in wording in legal documents regarding marriage in California, it’s just their own bullheadedness.
California now legally allows gay and lesbian couples to get married, though Proposition 8, if passed, would deny that right to them. I’ve already made my own position quite clear: Vote No on 8. There are some things in a democratic republic like the United States that you don’t get to vote on, and among those are peoples’ rights. In this case, judicial opinion simply trumps popular vote, no matter how much the right wing bleats about “activist judges”. The recognition of this truth is part of the reason we have a Constitution in the first place. It’s not a matter of state rights (and, frankly, the fact that Obama says it is is one of the very few qualms I have with him). You just don’t get to vote on this. The fact that it’s on the ballot is not “democracy in action”; it is, pure and simple, intolerance in action.
Of course, among the rights that we don’t get vote on in a democracy is the right to be stupid. Bird and Codding have chosen to exercise that right. That’s fine if it works for them; but the rest of us, including the thousands of gay and lesbian couples in California, shouldn’t have that stupidity shoved down our throats.
ETA: I also recommend this entry on