Tag Archive: gay marriage

The view from academic queer studies position and from a regular, everyday LGBT person is VERY different.  And what often sits at the crux of that difference are the questions of assimilation and validation around the marriage argument.

To sum up the debate: arguments for marriage are the ones we see all the time- LGBT people are just as loving, healthy, righteous and deserving of the right to marry as anyone else.  Yes?  Arguments against marriage rights take the question of right and turn it on its head: why is marriage so important?  Why should we, as queer people who are DIFFERENT AND AWESOME, feel the need to conform to a societal expectation created by and for straight people?

This irreverent article by Simon Sheppard on CarnalNation does an excellent job of answering those questions from the viewpoint of a person who once opposed marriage. (there’s also a link to his original article explaining why he doesn’t really care to get married)

Point being, yeah, even if marriage is an assimilationist institution, it’s still a pretty amazing one.  I was a bridesmaid for my parents’ 25th anniversary vow renewal this past week, and the experience was incredibly humbling.  These crazy people who gave birth to me have been together, loving each other despite their flaws and shortcomings for longer than I’ve been alive, for a quarter of a century.  And that is absolutely beautiful.

Besides all the good stuff about medical benefits and social security (and my gf’s government health care package, whoooo!), marriage really does come down to the emotions- the neurons and hormones and heart-pumping happy feeling you get when you see the person you want to spend the rest of your life with.  Being able to put a ring on it means just one more way of showing that person that they mean everything to you and that you’re ready to make a lifelong adventure together.

Having lived in DC just as gay marriage was legalized was exciting.  Living in a city with the potential to make that lifetime commitment to the person I love is life-affirming.  And waking up each morning to the person I want to share it with, well, that’s nothing short of bliss.


Prop 8 = Unconstitutional!

Early post tonight, queer kids, because it’s pretty self-evident what the news is.

Judge Walker finally delivered a verdict on the Perry v. Schwarzenegger case, AKA Was Prop 8 Constitutional, andverily, he decided that it was not.  Full story here: http://www.cnn.com/2010/US/08/04/california.same.sex.ruling/index.html

While the likelihood is that his decision will be appealed and the case taken to the Court of Appeals (a statement of intent for this must be file by tomorrow), the cool thing about this decision has to do with the legal concept of “tests of scrutiny.”

Essentially, there are 3 levels of scrutiny, and LGBT cases always get the short stick concerning them.

  • Strict scrutiny, which is used to judge the necessity of laws pertaining to discrimination based on race, means that you have to prove that a law is the most narrowly-tailored version of an action that can be taken to bring about a desired outcome while minimizing discriminatory harm.
  • Intermediate scrutiny, which is used for laws about gender discrimination, says that the action has to minimize harm, but not have to be the “most narrowly-tailored” option.
  • The rational basis test, which for some reason is still used for LGBT cases, says that a defendant must only prove the action has a legitimate correlation with the desired outcome and has a strong likelihood of making it come about.

Obviously, Prop 8’s opponents were trying to get Judge Walker to use intermediate or strict scrutiny to judge the case, but the amazing thing was, he ruled Prop 8 unconstitutional on a RATIONAL BASIS TEST.  In other words, Judge Walker almost unconditionally confirmed that Prop 8 has no logical reason for existing besides blatant prejudice.

An exact quote from his 136 page court statement:

“Proposition 8 fails to advance any rational basis in singling out gay men and lesbians for denial of a marriage license. Indeed, the evidence shows Proposition 8 does nothing more than enshrine in the California Constitution the notion that opposite-sex couples are superior to same-sex couples.”

That is a strong precedent to set in favor of Prop 8’s repeal.  Keep your fingers crossed, everyone.  If this battle is taken to the top, I dare say it could mean the legalization of same-sex marriages across the country.

Argentina embraces the gay!  http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/38251758/ns/world_news-americas/

The passage of this law will mark the first time a Latin American country has allowed gay marriage.  The title is rather self-explanatory, but it’s nice to note the pocket of acceptance in an area of the world largely dominated by a highly anti-gay machismo culture.

In other news, a Rutgers researcher has built a machine for studying the way the female brain reacts to arousal and  orgasm.  http://www.nj.com/insidejersey/index.ssf/2010/04/science_consciousness_and_the.html

This research is interesting on a number of fronts: from just the scientific perspective, the neural stimulation from sexual arousal can ease pain and might be able to help inorgasmic women to orgasm by comparing biofeedback of “normal aroused brains.”  The article talks about this at length.

HOWEVER, what’s more interesting is the sociological implications of the need for an “orgasm machine:” chiefly how disconnected most women are from their bodies.  80-90% of women who say they can’t have an orgasm are actually “pre-orgasmic,” meaning that they can, but have yet to learn how to orgasm.  On this level, I can speak from personal experience.  In a society where understanding yourself sexually is regarded as taboo and yet orgasming is considered tantamount to a positive sexual experience, there’s a lot loaded on “getting it right” quickly.  Because so much of a woman’s ability to orgasm relies on mental and emotional components (rather than 90% physicality for males), this pressure only makes it harder for women to just RELAX and ENJOY SEX.

I will note, that in my personal experience, a same-sex partner can mitigate some of these pressures.  Of course I can only speak in terms of female partners (but then again, I don’t know that many males with problems orgasming!).  In such instances, another female can help to relieve the pressure associated with sex precisely because she knows how it feels to be subject to the same stresses.  A woman understands that you can be sexually pleased without orgasm (and that once the pressure to perform is relieved, its more likely to happen on its own), and that exploration of a woman’s body is just as important as the end goal.

I’m sure there are lesbians out there who still have trouble with inorgasmia (and plenty of straight women who don’t have trouble with it…), but overall, I think a lot of partners can learn from the sexual dynamics that ended up helping me.  A lack of pressure, a focus on exploration and mutual understanding will go a long ways towards making sex better for both (or all) people involved!  So hopefully one day women will be able to understand and come to turns with their own bodies and an orgasm machine won’t be necessary for helping teach women do what they are meant to do naturally.

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