This morning I promised Herr Meow one show before breakfast. As we turned the tv on, NBC came out blaring –a holdover from last night's Office/30 Rock commitment– and Al Roker gushed about his weather spotlight city of the day: it was Los Angeles, whose weather today will have a high of 83 degrees.
Currently in our nation's capital, it's almost squarely fifty degrees below that darling-sounding temperature.
If you have been a reader for a while, or if you know me in person, you may have gained the inkling that I am not overfond of the heat. I am actually one of those people who like it when it's about 55-65 degrees and you can get away with wearing a sweater or a light jacket ("Please describe your idea of a perfect date," goes the quote in my mind from Miss Congeniality. "That's a tough one. I would have to say April 25th. Because it's not too hot, not too cold, all you need is a light jacket.").
But I am human as well, and the grass is always greener where it's not close to being singed by frost.
So somehow I find myself thinking about California, and LA, and what a weird place California is.
I do love it, and I miss it on occasion despite loving DC very much. As we watched Herr Meow's one-show allotment, which happened to be a new show on PBS called "Sid the Science Kid", I thought about its dichotomies. How it's possible to produce such a wonderful show, with integrated science standards for elementary school children, with the amazing technology that the state possesses; and yet how that was not something that people immediately thought about doing. (I definitely recommend the show if you have preschool or elementary age kids, by the way– it's wonderful)
I've been thinking about marriage, of course. Because after all, one cannot think of California these days without thinking about how despite sealing the victory for Obama, the state voted to ban gay marriage.
But then comes the question: are the concepts of marriage and equal rights, in fact, equivalent?
I think that most people would not ever deny equal rights to everyone, if asked in the proper context. But the word "marriage" seems to be charged with a special trove of added meaning by both sides of the argument.
No discussion of marriage would be complete, however, without a little etymology.
First off, the whole melee of the word (marry, marriage, marital)
comes from the Latin word for "husband". Not wife, which is the far
less chic word "uxor" and usually only graces our language in the
charming form of "uxoricide"– yes, yes, when someone kills their wife.
The etymology that Wiktionary cites is telling. I quote:
Middle English mariage, from Old French mariage, from marier “to marry”, from Latin maritare “to marry”, literally “give a husband to”, from maritus “married man, husband”, derived probably from Proto-Indo-European *mari-, perhaps a feminine stem of *mer-yo- “young man or young woman” (hence *mari-to- “given a wife”), if not somehow connected with mas “male” (stem mar-).
So, we have a simple statement from a time in the I-wish-it-were-more-distant past when women were her father's property until they were her husband's property. Give the young man a girl to knock up until she gives out, and then get him another one, right?
Because while biologically speaking, men are the truly expendable allelic variations of the species –endles fots of sperm, a dime a dozen, more fragile and conceived in larger numbers (105 males for every 100 females born) even if not all make it to adulthood; the truth is that through their combination of brawn, better educational opportunities (as in, most of them) and lucky avoidance of the gravid state (er, um, you know, the knocked-upppedness of being), men have managed to do this clever flip-flop of their biological destiny for a long time, where they have treated women as disposable chattel only on this earth to preserve the future of the species.
Okay, maybe that's a bit overgeneralizing and harsh, but this is the harsh reality from whence the archaic concept of marriage comes from.
This should be the point at which those wanting to enter a "marriage" should ask themselves: do I want to be owned by my partner?
(this is the point at which I am dearly hoping you say "NO")
I think that marriage is an archaic word, and an archaic concept. Although of course that did not stop the Federal Government from feeling that they had to DEFEND marriage in the Defense of Marriage Act of 1996, which President Clinton signed into law:
- No state (or other political subdivision within the United States)
need treat a relationship between persons of the same sex as a
marriage, even if the relationship is considered a marriage in another
- The Federal Government
may not treat same-sex relationships as marriages for any purpose, even
if concluded or recognized by one of the states. (thank you Wikipedia)
If we wish to enter a (SECULAR) contract with a loved person of our choosing, it's should be an equal partnership. A partnership with rights under the law, that are universally recognized as such and unalienable.
A social contract where that loved person, that person to whom we've committed is respected, recognized and protected by the law even after death –regardless of sex, ethnicity, or creed.
So, gay marriage? I have problems with the term, honestly. And for the reasons I already listed, which may strike some as far-fetched but to me are very meaningful and definitely overlooked in our society.
I think it should be civil unions, one-on-one, between consenting adults, recognized by the state. Why bring labels into things that are more powerful than labels themselves?
Now, if we're talking about getting the church mixed in, THAT is a completely different story and one that I do not feel qualified to tackle in a post.
But please, tell me what you think. And by the way, here is something that tickled me in a good way. December tenth is "A Day Without a Gay"— to bring awareness to the fact that you cannot deny people rights based on their sexuality alone.
It's 37 degrees now. I'm still cold.