Monday, January 03, 2005

A step toward equality in California

The expansion of domestic partnership rights for gays in California takes effect today, which "makes domestic partnership in California equivalent to marriage in almost all but name."

The key word being "almost."

The law can't confer any federal benefits or obligations; not even Massachusetts' gay marriages have done that. Neither does California's law permit couples to file state income tax jointly. But it does provide that registered domestic partners receive "the same [state] rights, protections and benefits and shall be subject to the same responsibilities, obligations and duties" as married spouses.

That's the reason gay rights advocates are fighting so hard for marriage rights. The legal benefits gay couples will receive in Vermont, Massachusetts, and California go a long way toward protecting gay families, but until all the rights and responsibilities--state andfederal--are the same, we're not being fair to gay couples and neither are we expecting enough of them. Remember, responsibilities go hand-in-hand with rights.

Meanwhile, twelve same-sex couples in San Francisco continue their lawsuit to get those rights and responsibilities. On December 23, arguments were made by both sides before Superior Court Judge Richard Kramer. Particularly disturbing were the arguments by Alliance Defense Fund lawyer Glen Lavy:

The state has a legitimate interest, he said, in "encouraging procreation to occur within the marital relationship so that those children can grow up with their own mom and dad.''

He goes on further to say:

[T]he state is entitled to favor opposite-sex parents, who can raise their own biological children, over same-sex parents, one of whom has to adopt the other's child.

Okay. So where does that leave infertile couples and couples who adopt and couples who choose not to have children? Are these no longer legitimate marriages? I know he's not arguing against these arrangements in heterosexual marriages, but the implications of his language are exactly that: only couples who have their own biological children should be "favored" by the state.

And they don't see discrimination inherent in that. Wow.


At 2:54 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am now

I will say that certain groups, especially ones on the Roman Catholic right, want to build on their apparent success to address other "threats" to "traditional marriage".

"If those initiatives are part of a broader effort to reaffirm lifetime fidelity in marriage, they're worthwhile. If they're isolated - if we don't address cohabitation and casual divorce and deliberate childlessness - then I think they're futile and will be brushed aside."
- Bryce Christensen, a Southern Utah University professor, on his worry that the campaign to enact bans on marriage for gays will distract from more immediate threats, as quoted by the Associated Press Nov. 21, 2004.

Found here:§ion=news

Also see this:

At 3:22 PM, Blogger Bad Methodist said...

Wow. Just... wow. "Deliberate childlessness" is somehow a bad thing? Geez, and here I thought people who knew they wanted to do other things with their lives were smart for choosing not to have children. What was I thinking? ::smacks forehead::

As a personal life choice, I'm all about moms (or dads!) staying home. I'm a stay-home mom myself. Which is why I think choosing not to have children is an excellent choice for couples when both want to keep working. As a crusade to push on others? ::shudder::


Post a Comment

<< Home