Gay couples in the United States who choose to say ‘I don’t’

An interesting article by Ms. Cara Buckley in The New York Times about some gay folks including long-term couples who choose not to marry, not even in the 14 states there that now allow it.

Some of the reasons mentioned or indicated by those interviewed are:

  • It carries with it legal complications and financial burdens, including potentially higher taxes in joint filings.
  • The risk of the torturous experience of divorce, especially for those who are themselves children of divorce, who may already view marriage as not being the key to happiness.
  • It goes against their beliefs, religious or otherwise.
  • They already feel married. A couple says: “We are in all senses married, and it isn’t going to change anything in terms of how we feel about each other.”
  • Marriage may be considered an outdated institution by some, one that forces same-sex couples into the mainstream.
  • Some see marriage through the lens of a feminist critique of marriage, which considers it “not as a freedom to be gained but as an institution that has historically oppressed women”.
  • Marriage is inherently unfair. It privileges couples and stigmatizes singles.
  • It should not be a prerequisite for obtaining health care and deeming children “legitimate”.

An interviewee raised her concern that as gay marriage becomes more and more the norm, relationships of gay couples who choose not to marry, even though deeply committed but just not traditional, will be further marginalized, even by other gay people.

The article also contains a quote from one of my favourite film directors John Waters, which made me smile:

“I always thought the privilege of being gay is that we don’t have to get married or go in the Army.”

My favourite quote from the article, though, came from Mary Bernstein, a 50-year-old University of Connecticut professor who also authored “The Marrying Kind?”, a book on the marriage debate in the gay rights movement. She said of her relationship with her partner of 15 years, 61-year-old Nancy Naples with whom she is raising twin 9-year-old daughters:

“Some people feel the need for external validation. For us, I don’t think we could be more committed.”

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Image via manguitored.tumblr.com. Click to go there.

(Via Gaybros)

Love and Affection

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Source: Shinimasu, seen via non living

It’s almost 2.30am. I’ve given up trying to sleep for now. My heart is bursting with joy. I might as well try to release some of it here. Maybe then I can calm down a bit and try to sleep.

An hour ago I reconnected with a gay friend on Facebook, and he stunned me with the news he’s getting married! I don’t know what surprises me more; the news he’s getting married or my reaction to it. I’m so happy for him if I don’t stop now I’m going to start crying.

If he ever happens to read this, I hope he won’t laugh.

I know the posts here are publicized on my Facebook feed, which I’m disabling for this post but if he still happens to read this one day, I hope he won’t mind I’ve written about this. I won’t refer to him here in even the remotest way like with initials, nor even say which country he is from, to respect his privacy and identity. I’m not sure about other links; if the public can see my friends list over there on FB or something like that and make the connection to him, if anyone is so inclined. Which I highly doubt anyone would give a hoot but I guess better be safe.

I would be a hypocrite to myself if I don’t include here that I don’t believe in marriage for myself, and that my partner feels the same. We have discussed this. I think our love and respect for each other, from a roaring fire in the early days and after many ups and downs and almost twenty years, have settled down to a gentle simmer which I adore and need and am intricately addicted to body and soul. As much as I love him, as much as he is part of the air I breathe, if we do get married, (we can’t but if we are in a place where we can), it would only be for the sake of convenience, for legal matters like control of decision making in the event of hospitalisation or death. Stuff like that which we would prefer to arrange in some other legally recognised way if possible.

So why am I so friggin’ happy my friend is getting married? Because I don’t have to believe in marriage to know that for people who do believe in it, it’s something so important and meaningful to them, it’s the ultimate commitment for them to someone they love. And I’m so happy for my friend, that’s he’s so in love and so happy.

I knew him only a few years ago, and the actual total time of our interaction in person was actually very brief. But I’m very fond of him, he had touched me in a profound way and so I consider him a dear friend. However little I know him, I think I do know how much love means to him, how seriously and honourably he treats it, and that marriage would be something sacred and ultimate to him.

He is going to make such a wonderful husband. F**k! I don’t know why I’m so emotional about this, why I’m so happy for them both. I never met his fiancé before and uhm, when I think about it, I don’t know my friend all that long or that well hahahaha…. I’m too much of a gushing romantic. Calm down, Hal!! LOL

And something else he told me… not only are they in love and getting married, but they deeply respect and take a keen interest in each others’ religious faiths too. How much more friggin’ perfect a couple!

I so wish the partner is still up and awake at this crazy hour with me so I can tell him the good news so we can hug in happiness or something haha! I need to hug somebody dammit.

Ok, I’m just going to go select a suitably romantic photo from Tumblr for this post and then I really need to go to bed.

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Source: WooF! (NSFW). Seen via Lack of mind and soul

And okay one of my favourite love songs as well.

Sir Ian McKellen on marriage

Photo from the galleries section of his website, entitled '2011, In Wellington, post-haircut'. Click photo to go to source.

I admire Sir Ian, not just as an actor, but as a writer. The thoughts he express in his writings, there’s always something earnest and sincere and compelling. So he may be writing about things that are worlds apart from my world; but I’m always drawn to his voice because there’s always so much heart in it.

This is the latest one I like very much: entitled ‘What’s wrong with us? Should we not aspire to happiness’, a commentary published on the 22nd February in a UK newspaper The Independant. Even when he’s he rebuking someone he’s so damn elegant. Excerpt:

Lord Carey grants us our civil partnerships but no more. What’s wrong with us? Should we not aspire to domestic happiness? Why can’t our relationships be recognised on a par with everyone else’s? Lord Carey does not “begrudge rights and benefits to homosexual couples” yet he says that the idea of equality between gay and straight people is “the mantra of the equalities industry”.

As one of the co-founders of Stone-wall I am familiar with such hints of homophobia. Stonewall has indeed pressured successive governments but Lord Carey has misunderstood our argument for equality, when he defines it as “being equal means being the same”. On his more generous days, I’m sure Lord Carey would accept that all human beings are the same in being God’s children.

A gay atheist shouldn’t delve into theology. Same or not, all I want is to be treated equally under the law.