June 17th, 2008

NASA_bighead

Who knew?

I didn't know I felt that way, but I found myself a little misty-eyed as they were pronounced "spouses for life". This morning KGO radio broadcast live the first same-sex wedding in Santa Clara County, a pair of Silicon Valley men who had been married during the legendary San Francisco Valentine's Day extravaganza. The vows were simple, they exchanged rings and promised to "share all my love" with each other. No "obey" but also no "honor". The gender-neutral wording was a little strained, and they answered "I do" to The Question, which was worded in a way which called for an answer of "I will". But that was pretty romantic - the message being that loving each other doesn't start with the wedding, it is validated by the wedding.

The woman performing the ceremony also added a nice touch. Instead of merely saying "by the authority vested in my by the State of California", she added her title, Deputy Marriage Commissioner. It added that Official Touch which was lacking in the SF weddings.


Prior to the wedding, the couple was interviewed, and one of them said the Santa Clara wedding was important because it was in their home county, and it was sanctioned by the state, "not just the mayor" of a nearby city. And whatever happened later, he said, this marriage license will not be revoked. He also said he expected his marriage to last more than the 16 years his parents' did.

I'm surprised at my emotional response because I am totally against government involvement in, and legal recognition of marriage. It violates the separation of church and state and equal protection under the law. Alimony is obscene, divorce settlements should not require lawyers, child support should be decided based on each spouse's income and custody should be awarded by merit and interest, mediated perhaps by a panel of social workers. Taxes should be paid by the individual, not jointly.

We have already come a long way. When I was a child, an unmarried couple could not legally check into a hotel together in most states. Wives could not get separate lines of credit. It was difficult for a married woman to get a separate checking account. The law said a wife could not file rape charges against a husband. In many states, including New York, the only grounds for divorce was adultery proved in a court of law. Women were automatically given custody, alimony, child support and half the husband's possessions upon divorce, regardless of who initiated the divorce proceedings or any of the relevant circumstances. Pre-nuptial agreements were not honored in most states. And so on.
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