Same-sex marriage

By Laurie Essig

By Salon Staff
July 12, 2000 11:05PM (UTC)
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The author might be a professor of sociology, but she might want to go talk to some of her colleagues over in the history department, because traditional marriage does, in fact, predate the Victorian era. If there's one thing I'm sick of, it's radical feminists whining about how marriage is just the "patriarchy's" way of "keeping women down." Maybe if you're married to Ralph Reed, but I can assure you, the average man has no intention of oppressing or suppressing women -- it's generally more fun for both parties when everyone is on equal ground. No, not all marriages are happy. Yes, lots of marriages end in divorce. However, lots of marriages are happy and last lifetimes. I'm sorry this author is so clearly bitter and angry about her life and her partnership, but I'd appreciate it if she'd reserve her judgement of my lifestyle, and I'll reserve passing judgement on hers.

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-- Amy Elrod-Lahti

Laurie Essig snidely suggests that brides-to-be "not get your wedding dresses in a twist" and that money spent on that "useless dress" is a waste in the first place. Why bring the level of discussion down to such a juvenile and simplistic level? Cultural rituals like the marriage ceremony are important psychological milestones in many people's lives, and have nothing to do with sanctioning by the state (that can be achieved in 10 minutes at City Hall with a lot less fuss). More importantly, the details of a particular wedding ceremony are the personal decisions of the people involved and none of her business. Spewing petty insults about people's clothing and mating choices is a curious way to make society more tolerant.

-- Alex Dennis

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When I lived in the U.S., I shared some of Laurie Essig's objections to gays and lesbians getting married. Mostly, I felt that gay weddings seemed to pathetically ape straight society and its values rather than stand as institutions reflecting the reality of gay life.

But strangely enough, I changed my mind when I moved to Sweden, a country where couples who live together (gay and straight) have the same rights as married couples. For Swedes, marriage is no longer a prerequisite to gaining a legal status as a couple, so people take marriage more seriously and consequently are less likely to get married. Still, if you are gay you can get married and no one bats an eye, from the clerk at the tax office and the justice of the peace on down to the jeweler who makes the rings, the banquet manager for the reception and the Lutheran priest who happened to marry me and my partner.

I got married because I wanted to publicly show family and friends my love and commitment to my partner, because I think it strengthens our relationship and because in a country where it is not only legal but actually part of the social fabric, I felt it was the right thing to do.

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-- Gysbert Menninga

Yeah! Right on!

Laurie Essig nailed it with her view of same-sex marriages as "personal perversions [that] people partake of in their quest for pleasure." Perfect and dead on!

All the hoopla about same-sex marriage coming from some in the gay community really smacks of assimilation. It is begging the straight majority for acceptance by mimicking their mannerisms. While this may be fine for some, I think it's counterproductive for the rest of us. Frankly, I don't care about and don't need the straight community's acceptance. What I am much more concerned with is its tolerance. That is something which I will demand.

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-- Madoc Pope


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