My Right to Same Sex Marriage (in Massachusetts)
Posted on February 26, 2004 Posted by John Scalzi 2 Comments
Uh-oh, here I go again:
One of the typical responses to the whole “gay marriage” thing is that gays and lesbians won’t actually lose their equal rights by the passage of an amendment that limits marriage to only one man and one woman, because gays and lesbians can marry a man (if they’re a lesbian) or a woman (if they’re a gay man), and they won’t lose that right no matter what. (Orson Scott Card, a writer whose fiction work I immensely admire — and who is also strongly socially conservative — brings forth this argument here).
All right, fine. Let’s go ahead and play this game, and cast it another way. Which is:
In about six weeks, barring the sudden and direction intervention of God, a meteor that wipes out only the land mass of Massachusetts or a temporally mobile, socially conservative cyborg that zooms back in time to kill several members of the Supreme Court of Massachusetts, people of the same sex will be able to marry each other in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. This is a done deal, unless by some miracle two-thirds of the House and Senate and three quarters of the US states ram through an FMA in that time, which seems, shall we say, unlikely (this is where that sudden and direct intervention of God comes in).
However, the Supreme Court of Massachusetts, in its wisdom, did not specify that only gays and lesbians may marry members of the same sex; indeed, anyone could do so — even, say, me. So sometime in May, I will have the right to marry another man in Massachusetts. Now, granted, for me to marry a man, I would first have to divorce my wife (extremely unlikely), and then find a person of my own gender who I am sufficiently attracted to in all ways — mentally, physically, emotionally and sexually — that I can be persuaded to shack up with him for the rest of my days (even more unlikely still). So it seems doubtful I will take advantage of this right (no more than, say, a gay person would take advantage of the right to marry a person of the opposite sex). But that’s not the point. The point is: I can. It’s my right.
So, if a Federal Marriage Amendment passes, not only will the United States of America be taking away the right of gays and lesbians to marry a person of the same sex (in Massachusetts), it will also be taking away my right to marry a person of the same sex (in Massachusetts).
And so, this is me saying: I want the right to marry a person of the same sex (in Massachusetts). And in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, I have that right (or will, in six weeks). I won’t exercise that right, true enough, but so what? I can think of a number of rights I have that I have not yet exercised and/or have no intention of exercising, but that doesn’t mean those rights aren’t still mine under the Constitution of the United States — or that I wouldn’t get extremely agitated if someone tried to take those rights away.
I will have the right to marry someone of the same sex (in Massachusetts). And so will you, regardless of your sex, color, race, creed, national origin, or range of physical ability. The ability to marry a member of the same sex (in Massachusetts) will be, I dare say, refreshingly egalitarian. So rejoice! You have a right you didn’t have before. And that’s not a bad thing — indeed, the US Constitution is famously rife with instances where rights were expanded, sometimes for particular groups but also for the public at large.
A Federal Marriage Amendment would take away my recognized right to marry a person of the same sex (in Massachusetts) — and why would I want to amend the constitution to take away one of my rights? I mean, sure, it’s easy to take away rights of other people, especially when they’re, you know, fornicating sinners and going to Hell for their terrible terrible Sodomite ways anyway. But let me ask you — are you really willing to throw away rights which accrue to you?
And if you are, why should anyone stop there? If you’re willing to throw away your right to marry a person of the same sex (in Massachusetts), what argument do you have for wanting to keep, say, your right to bear arms? Or your right to peaceably assemble? Or your right against self-incrimination? Or your right to keep the government from quartering soldiers in your home? Or, indeed, any right you may care to think of?
I love my rights — I daresay I am greedy for them, which why I would choose not to part with a single one of them, even the ones I have no intention of using — even the right to marry someone of the same sex (in Massachusetts). I had said earlier that the Federal Marriage Amendment would take away the rights of a specific group of people, but I see now that I was wrong. It would take away my rights, and yours too, and the rights of all Americans to marry someone of the same sex (in Massachusetts). A right that even accrues to the people pushing the Federal Marriage Amendment, although clearly, they don’t deserve it. I would thank them very kindly to their hands off my rights.
So I say: Fight! Fight for your right for same sex marriage (in Massachusetts)! If you let them take it away, who’s to say they won’t come for your guns next? Or your books? Or your home? Or your liberty? If you love America and what it stands for, you can do no less than demand your right to same sex marriage.
In a discussion on another blog (“Whatever,” maintained by John Scalzi, formerly a reporter for the Fresno Bee), “Todd” argues that Scalzi’s argument for preserving rights he has no plans ever to exercise is “a bit of a humor piece which won’t be taken…
What Gives You The Right?
Someone asks, in relation to the same-sex homosexual marriage question, “What Gives You The Right?”
This is a good question…for a government founded on the principles of the United States Constitution.