The Odd Blog

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Posts Tagged ‘marriage’

Not Redefining, Just Expanding

Posted by That Other Mike on 03/10/2010

Excellent quotation. Via.

Cynthia Nixon

“Gay people do not want to redefine marriage. When women got the right to vote, it did not redefine voting.”
Cynthia Nixon

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Posted in Politics | Tagged: , , , , | 3 Comments »

Wow… Who knew it’d be Iowa?

Posted by That Other Mike on 04/04/2009

Iowa becomes the third state in the nation to allow same-sex marriage, after Massachusetts and Connecticut.

Friday’s decision upheld a 2007 ruling by a lower court that Iowa’s 1998 law limiting marriage to heterosexual couples went against the state’s constitution. It becomes effective in 21 days.

“This is a great day for civil rights in Iowa,” said attorney Dennis Johnson, a co-counsel with Lambda Legal, which filed the lawsuit on behalf of six same-sex couples seeking to marry in Iowa.

Via CNN.

This is great news for gay rights in Iowa, and hopefully the rest of the States.

The fear now, of course, will be that some kind action akin to Prop 8 will occur, and remove that right. However, I don’t see this happening. The Iowa State Constitution provides that the means of altering and amending it are legislative in nature; a proposed Amendment has to pass through two legislative sessions and then be voted on. Given that the General Assembly is currently dominated by Democrats, I don’t see this happening; hopefully the issue will have lost any meaningful traction by the time the Assembly becomes Republican-dominated or more evenly split.

We’ll see.

Posted in Politics | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Big Love, Small Love

Posted by That Other Mike on 12/10/2008

I’ve just recently been thinking about polygamy and gay marriage.

Big LoveThis has come from a number of different directions — I’ve been watching HBO’s Big Love via the On Demand service that comes with our cable TV.

The series is about a polygamist family of fundamentalist Mormons living secretly in a suburb of Salt Lake City, and the various troubles and difficulties it brings to them, both personally, professionally and in terms of their religion.

The series takes an even-handed look at the issues raised, not judging in favour of or against the practice. Of course, it also makes for good television; conflict is the root of all storytelling, and the conflicts between the public personas and private lives of the family create a lot of conflict.

Another source of inspiration has been the interwebs, as usual: in a recent comment to a post on my wife’s blog, for example, Truthwalker posited the following in regards to governmental influence and involvement in the subject of marriage:

I personally think that civil union should be the law. For everybody. Any two people, male, female, straight, gay, or sexually inactive, should be able to enter a legal relationship with the consenting person of their choosing where one person is the primary bread winner and the other does more non-monetary work.

Leaving aside the problematic assertion regarding one partner being the breadwinner and the other the housekeeper1, this also brings up another question: why should it only be two people involved?

The final source of inspiration, of course, has been the recent decision by the Supreme Court of Connecticut regarding the civil rights of gay couples. In a divided opinion given on the 10th October, the Connecticut Supreme Court ruled that the State’s Constitution required that the government extend marriage rights to gay couples, by virtue of the State Constitution’s equal protection clause in Article 1, Section 20.

One of the commonest tropes used against gay marriage is the assertion that it will lead to all kinds of horribleness, like polygamy, bestiality and even child marriage.

Leaving aside the fact that the slippery slope is a logical fallacy, let’s take a look at some of the countries which have created gay marriage rights in the past decade or so. The Netherlands enacted same-sex marriage rights into law in 2001, Belgium in 2003, followed by Canada and Spain in 2005, South Africa in 2006. Norway is due to follow in 2009, after 16 years of civil partnerships. The following countries have created civil partnerships: Andorra, Czech Republic, Denmark, Ecuador, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Luxembourg, New Zealand, Slovenia, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom, Uruguay. The status of civil partnerships in these countries varies somewhat, with some having only partial rights while others are identical in all but legal name to marriage, with entirely identical rights, such as the UK, where people routinely refer to civil partnerships as gay marriage, legal titles notwithstanding.

Opponents of gay marriage have, as we’ve said, predicted all kinds of social doom and gloom as a result of various court rulings and laws creating the appropriate rights in law; various groups are trying busily to reverse them, as in California Proposition 8, all of which efforts are happily meeting with fierce opposition.

No such terrible consequences have occurred in any of the countries which have enacted gay marriage or civil partnership laws. You still cannot marry your dog, three of your friends, or children; . It’s almost insulting, really, to think that opponents of gay marriage think that people will fall for this kind of stuff, and none of these mooted dire consequences are likely to occur; child marriage and bestiality both fall under the heading of cruelty and meaningful consent, to a degree that most people find the very idea respulsive.

Likelihood of its occurrence aside, how do we object to new concepts of marriage like polygamy while freely assenting to the concept of gay marriage? Isn’t that contradictory and even hypocritical?

I would argue that it is not. While the institution of marriage is by no means perfect and acts in some ways as discriminatory towards single people, it does perform a useful social function: it provides for at least minimally stable homes for children; allows for people to express a solemn commitment to one another socially with a formal commitment; allows for the pooling of financial resources and shared prosperity; allows for partners to make legally binding decisions on behalf of children and loved-ones in the event of need; allows for partners to provide for each other in the event that they die intestate, and so on.

The extension of marriage rights to gay people simply broadens the categories of people who may marry each other, in much the same way that extension of interracial and interreligious marriage did. It provides for more stable families and couples, and as such, carries benefits to both the individuals involved and the society in which they live.

Polygamy, however, does not do this. While gay marriage simplifies, polygamy complicates. All the benefits of marriage, such as stability, combined financial responsibility, power of attorney in difficult situations, simplified inheritance and so on, all of these are unneccesarily complicated by the addition of extra members. What if the wives2 disagree over who should have power of attorney when their husband is in hospital? Who decides who inherits what in the event of a death? While these are not insoluble problems, they represent a big enough sphere of difficulties to argue against enshrining officially recognised polygamy into law; they would create monstrous legal headaches, and the alleged benefits of polygamy would be far, far outweighed by the problems caused. That’s even leaving aside the issue, frequent enough in the past to remain a possible future concern, of young people entering polygamous marriages before the age of consent or even too soon afterwards.

While I’m concerned for the right of people to live as they wish, I can also see a valid point of distinction between leaving others alone to conduct their private affairs as they see fit and making them into legal entities. I cannot in all honesty see that the enshrinement of polygamy into law serves individuals or the society they reside in, practically or otherwise.


1This is troubling to me, I must admit; not only because it buys into the idea that there should be strictly defined roles within marriage, but also because it’s profoundly unrealistic. The “traditional” ideal of marriage which social conservatives most fervently posit as orthodox marriage fails to admit that this model was only true for a tiny minority of people across a short period of time, and it is even more irrelevant today, when two-income families are the norm.
2I say wives here because it seems that most advocates of polygamy seem really to be advocating polygyny rather than true polygamy per se.

Posted in Odds and Sods, Politics | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Unashamedly Soppy Post…

Posted by That Other Mike on 20/09/2008

… for my wife, to celebrate our first six months married.

I love you, Lottie, and I always will. Once I get close to you again, you’d better bet that I’m never going to be away from you again.

Happy Six-month-iversary 🙂

Posted in Politics | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

TV and love and marriage and stuff

Posted by That Other Mike on 20/07/2008

I think I’ve written here before about my obsession with series of things. This is down to some minor obsessive compulsive behaviour – among other things, I am compelled to count similarly-shaped objects, as long as they all follow the same orientation, meaning that shelves of books or videos represent a particular danger to me.

If I find a series of something that I like, books, films, TV or cartoons, I am compelled to read or watch as much of it as I can. And it doesn’t stop there – there’s a good reason that I have all of Johnny Cash’s American series.

This can be rather frustrating. For a start, catching up on a series if I come to it late can be an enormous investment of time (The Order of the Stick and XKCD are a case in point), and keeping up with it thereafter can be a hassle.

Another reason for my frustration is with TV. We have Virgin for our TV, broadband and phone. They operate a service called “On Demand”, which allows you to watch programmes broadcast in the past week, as well as films, and TV series from channels such as HBO, Warner, Paramount Comedy and so on. This has enabled me to watch far too much Curb Your Enthusiasm, as well as catching up on some old favourites like Red Dwarf. Unfortunately, new instalments of various series seem to come rather randomly; I watched the first four episodes of Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles back to back a couple of weeks ago, and to my annoyance, no new ones have been forthcoming since then.

One of the series I’ve been watching recently has been The Mind of the Married Man, which originally aired on HBO in 2006. It basically focuses on Micky Barnes (played by Mike Binder) and his relationship with his wife, which is notably rocky, and his relationships with his friends, which are easy-going and trouble-free. Up to now, I’ve seen five episodes, and am eagerly awaiting the rest of the series.

Micky seems to always be getting in trouble with his wife, Donna (Sonya Walger); neither one of them seems to make much effort or be too content in their marriage, and he feels dissatisfied and sexually-frustrated. Out of a warped sense of fidelity and honour, Micky doesn’t sleep around, unlike his friend Jake, despite being near-obsessively drawn his assistant, Missy (Ivana Milicevic).

A large part of the series focuses on Micky and Donna’s problems, many of them involving sex, their mutual inability to understand each other and the fact that they increasingly seem to have less and less in common.

One of earlier episodes, Time on the Lake, sees Micky and Donna feeling restless after their married friends all reveal that they have joint hobbies which involve spending time together followed by great sex; Doug and Carol go deer hunting, Jake and Bianca go antiquing together, but Micky and Donna don’t seem to do anything together.

After several abortive attempts to get some kind of hobby going, including buying guns and going antiquing, they realise that they originally started going out because they liked to hang out together, and that they both love to just lie around in bed and read.

This is kind of what I’m getting at with this post. My wife and I are homebodies. We don’t go out dancing or go bar hopping. In the limited time we’ve been able to spend with each other over the years, our best times have been spent just laying around reading. We stay in bed, and cuddle, and absent-mindedly kiss in between pages. It’s one of the things I miss when we’re apart, and one of the things I like most when we’re together.

When we’re not able to be together, one of the things we seem to enjoy most is getting into discussions about… well, more or less anything, and talking and analysing and discussing that subject for hours.

What I also want to say is that even if you argue, even if you have problems, you can get past it. If you love each other, and can spend a little time doing what you enjoy together, no problem is completely insurmountable. And yes, I know that’s of a simplistic viewpoint, that most marriages and relationships are more complex than that, and that many problems are insurmountable… But not in my marriage.

My wife and I love each other, and we enjoy spending time together quietly. Everything else is window-dressing to that; those two things are sufficient and enough.

I’m struggling here because I don’t know how to get it out properly; all I can say is that I fell in love with someone who turned out to be the best friend I ever had, and she’s all that I could ever need in a companion and lover.

Dedicated to my wife, for ever and always.

Posted in my wife, Odds and Sods, Personal, TV | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

A small rant about an unfiltered douchebag…

Posted by That Other Mike on 26/05/2008

This guy really is some kind of wankbag.

I say this guy, despite the claim of there being more than one author, for one simple reason: it’s one guy. There is no difference in style or attitude between any of the personalities writing – it is identically bad throughout.

I can’t claim to have found this guy, though; that honour, such as it is, belongs to Lottie, who recently stabbed him in the eye with her post called Speaking for All Men; she is also the one who first noticed the rather obvious lack of difference between the so-called writers’ arrogant, misogynistic little screeds.

This guy is brimming with hatred for women as autonomous individuals outside of the confines of what he deems attractive; they appear not only as objectified individuals with diminished agency as is common in a lot of misogynistic thinking, but as non-individuals. They are not only objectified – they are objects, sterile things with no more value than a car, and no more chance of being seen as human.

This is not to say that the pictures of women are what do this. The guy could be posting pictures of scantily-clad women all over the place, and I wouldn’t necessarily object – so long as they were acknowledged as being people. Sexual pictures of people are not a bad thing per se and don’t cause anyone to do anything, whether good or bad, the rather spurious and desperate connections claimed by some notwithstanding.

However, that’s a tangent. What I really want to discuss is the disgusting pile of hatred recently vomited up by Mr Thoughtful, as he calls himself in this particular incarnation, on the subject of marriage and prostitution.

This is pretty revealing stuff – Mr Thoughtful seems to be under the impression that all women are scheming and manipulative whores who want to trick men out of their rightful inheritance of free and unbridled sex with no consequences while trapping them in marriage1.

The post in question, regarding the supposed superiority of prostitution over marriage (at least, I think that was his point; coherency doesn’t really figure high on this guy’s list) deals heavily in this topic. Leaving aside the rightness of legalised prostitution, this is pretty sickening stuff; I’ll be addressing Mr Thoughtful himself throughout, because, well, he needs shouting at.

I guess that I need to throw my two cents on the Eliot Spitzer affair (pun intended).

I think you’ve materially overestimated what your opinion is worth here, and the pun sucks.

I’ve never been a big fan of marriage.

I’m sure women everywhere will be hurt beyond all belief by this news, given what a catch you are.

In fact, I’m convinced that it is nothing more than male slavery (more on that in a later post).

This is just… stupid. You might have a point, if men were socially disadvantaged by marriage or rendered unable to do what they desired by law or the usual circumstances of marriage; they are not, however. Calling marriage as we in the West know it a form of slavery is the ridiculous kind of thing I expect to see from Radical Feminists2 and misogynists, and you certainly don’t disappoint on that front. Men only rarely suffer any kind if disadvantage from being married; statistically speaking, what happens is that a lot of guys get an unpaid maid who works incredibly hard for not much in the way of reward, whether in terms of gratitude or monetary compensation. Marriage all too often condemns women to a life of domestic drudgery; and even if they later re-enter the workforce, their chances of achieving well-paid or fulfilling jobs are often miniscule because they’ve been out of the workforce for an enormous length of time. So, please, don’t even dare call it male slavery, not when this situation persists, when some people still insist that the home-marking partner contributes nothing to the success of the marriage.

But look at it from poor Eliot’s side. He wakes up every morning next to that same plain looking block of wood also known as his wife.

First thing is that this is a deeply unpleasant thing to say about Mrs Spitzer in and of itself; she is not a piece of wood, and your attempt to dehumanise her and turn her into an unfeeling object undeserving of human consideration is duly noted, you scumfuck.

The second is that if he were that unhappy with his wife, there were options; there’s marriage guidance counselling, or even divorce, and while New York State admittedly doesn’t have no-fault divorce, it’s not exactly a difficult thing to obtain, either. Seriously, stop making excuses for him.

You might have seen her standing next to Eliot looking like a hurt puppy while he apologizes for his misdeeds. But think about it for a minute. Could you really see her as someone who straps her freak on in the bedroom?

So… Wait a minute, let me get this straight: because she doesn’t fit what you call attractive, she has no right to be hurt because her husband broke his marriage vows and betrayed her? Wow. I’m just so glad that you’re not in charge of anything more significant than your own underwear drawer. This goes back to the dehumanisation I mentioned earlier – she doesn’t fit his template of what’s attractive, so she’s not even human anymore.

Didn’t think so. So Eliot wants a little excitement in his life. He’s tired of looking at the same ragged dishtowel that used to be the hot young babe he fell in love with so long ago.

Maybe he ought to tell his wife, first? Maybe, if he’s got any pretensions towards being an adult human being, he ought to actually discuss that he’s not happy with her? And frankly, if his love falls away because she got older, he never loved her or deserved her in the first place.

You know that ploy that women use to trap men into marriage. Long, flowing hair. Make up that is perfectly applied. A body that is slender and athletic looking. Wild monkey sex on numerous occasions throughout the week.

Right, because women are just queuing up to marry guys who are selfish, looks-obsessed and fixated solely on sex. They’re just lined up around the block to trap you into a sexless marriage where they steal from you and get fat. Because, as we all know, women hate sex and are just after money. And they get fat. Right?

Ugh. Just reading this guy makes me feel ill. Not only is he deeply and obviously offensive towards women –we’ve already established that one- but he’s also pretty fucking offensive to me as a man.

Now?

Hair that is short and easy to manage (when she decides to do something with it). Little or no make up which exposes the imperfections, creases, winkles, etc. Ten to fifteen pounds that gets strapped to her ass and thighs every year.

Hey, asshole. Real people get older and mature. That’s something that adults realise and accept as part of life, and some of us even embrace it. Wrinkles are a badge of pride, a sign that you’ve been through life; they’re often formed by laughter or frowns, they can be a sign of character. I’ll give you a minute to go and look it up, chief.

And sex?

Maybe on your birthday.

When she’s in the mood.

News for you, son. You don’t have a right to demand sex from anyone, even from your wife. Hell, especially not from your wife – this is someone to whom you have supposedly made a loving commitment. Demanding sex doesn’t fall under that heading.

Poor Eliot didn’t have a choice. His wife pushed him off that cliff.

You’ve got to be fucking kidding me. Talk about your archetypal victim blaming! “My wife nagged me until I couldn’t help but kill her, Your Honour.” “She was asking for it.”

Eliot Spitzer was an irresponsible jackass who couldn’t keep it in his pants. Quit blaming his wife, shithead. She’s not accountable for his lack of self-control.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m convinced that most married men will cheat on their wives if there is absolutely no chance that they’ll get caught.

Speak for yourself. I love my wife.

We can’t help it. It is our divine right to plant our seed in fertile ground. We must have sex otherwise our heads will implode. This basic concept is part of our DNA. Who are you to argue with the evolutionary process?

Agh! The stupid, it burns! These goggles, they do nothing! Ack!

This is just more of the same crap we see from other rape apologists – men are lustful beasts who can’t control themselves, and so shouldn’t be held to blame when they stick it anywhere they please. Fuck off, you shit. If we’re all such evil brutes who can’t control ourselves, we shouldn’t be held to blame for rape, right? If they didn’t want to be raped, they shouldn’t have inflamed our uncontrollable passions.

Fuck you, you fucking fuck. What the hell is wrong with you? You’ve just dehumanised the entire species; women are just sperm vessels and men are raping animals.

Eliot did what any normal man (with a shitload of money) would have done under the same circumstances. He just got caught. And every single guy across this country had the exact same thought about Kristin…

…damn she’s hot.

Except the guys who love their wives and girlfriends. And the gay ones. And the asexual ones. And the ones who wouldn’t visit prostitutes. And the ones who don’t find her attractive. I’m sure that even you might be getting the picture at this point. You don’t get to just erase the majority of male humanity by claiming that only rapists-in-waiting like you get to be men. We are better than you, and you don’t get to push us out of the picture, you creep.

Go and play in traffic, you shitty excuse for a human being. You disgust me.



1 That seems to be a theme, by the way: witness the post in which he agrees wholeheartedly with an article by the moronic Tad Safran which compares grown women to two year-olds, the post wherein he wholeheartedly agrees with the concept of divorce on grounds of “declining” physical appearance and the disgusting post he makes concerning “vagina envy”.
2 I’m referring to the self-identified current of feminism here rather than any radicalised grouping or current, particularly the kind that seems to rely on warmed-over Marxism and Freudianism as theoretical bases.

Posted in Politics | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments »

One month ago today…

Posted by That Other Mike on 20/04/2008

One month ago today, I married the love of my life: my beautiful Lottie. For the past seven years, she has been my confidante, lover and best friend. One month ago today, we stood in front of the judge and said our vows.

I struggle always to express how I feel about my wife – words never seem to come easily when I think about her and how much I love her and want to make her happy. One of the vows we made a month ago, though, seems to say it for me, or at least come close to what I want to say:

    I promise to love you with all that I am and all that I have, until parted by death.

My wife has been a constant joy and source of strength when I needed her to help me, a non-stop friend, sounding-board and co-conspirator against the insanities of life. We’ve shared our thoughts, ideas and dreams together. It’s been two minds meeting together in love, honesty, laughter and thoughtfulness.

I love you, Lottie, and I always will. Marrying you was the best thing I ever did, and always will be.

With all that I am, and all that I have…

Posted in Personal | Tagged: , , , | 3 Comments »