You know, my views on the gay marriage issue have really polarized over the past few weeks. I’ve never been opposed to gay marriage, but I also didn’t feel particularly zealous about opening the option of marriage to gay people either. I have thought it’s a right they should have for a long time, but I was OK with civil unions as an alternative, because I was focused on the legal rights that married couples have. Then a few things happened. My views started changing when the Massachusetts Supreme Court said that legislation providing separate but equal civil unions would not suffice to meet their requirements, because separate but equal usually isn’t. I found that argument persuasive.
What really changed my attitude, though, was the marriage licenses being granted in San Francisco. Most people have seen the pictures of jubilant couples who are getting married after decades of waiting in vain. After seeing those couples, I’m ready to grant the right to marry nationwide, right now. Getting married was the best decision I ever made, period. Seeing other people joyfully getting married reminds me of how much joy marriage has brought to my life. I no longer have the energy to see the issue in a politically safe manner — we need to grant this right to same sex couples in every state immediately.
it makes me think: firstly, that the flowers were a good idea; and secondly, that an avalanche of gay marriages is an even better idea. Spousal unit and I are perfectly happy if the flowers we sent did nothing but brighten a random couple’s wedding day, but I can’t help but think that the flower sending “campaign” contributed to the visibility and feel-good-factor of the San Fran weddings. Rafe’s comment makes me believe more than ever that those weddings are important, and that A MILLION GAY MARRIAGES IN THE NEXT MONTH (ahem, sorry) could swing public opinion so far, and create so nearly accompli a fait that begrudging bastards like Bush will not be able to enshrine their grubby prejudices in law (or worse, the constitution). Happy wedding pictures everywhere, and then married gay couples are your neighbours, doctors, teachers, colleagues — and the world doesn’t end, no one riots, and nobody’s hetero marriage is altered one whit. Sounds like a step in the right direction to me.
So I thought I’d have a dig around in the Oregon constitution and law. In neither 2003 nor 2002 were the relevant statutes altered in any way that concerns my question, and the 2001 version reads:
106.010 Marriage as civil contract; age of parties. Marriage is a civil contract entered into in person by males at least 17 years of age and females at least 17 years of age, who are otherwise capable, and solemnized in accordance with ORS 106.150.
Spousal unit pointed out that the wording does not rule out same sex marriage by defining it as a contract between one male and one female. Furthermore, the restrictive interpretation of that statute would seem to me to contravene the State constitution; to wit, Article 1 section 20:
Section 20. Equality of privileges and immunities of citizens. No law shall be passed granting to any citizen or class of citizens privileges, or immunities, which, upon the same terms, shall not equally belong to all citizens.