gay marriage

Recent posts

Does Being Gay Make You A Minority? Part 4

For the final post in this series (here are links to Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3) we’ll examine the final 3 characteristics of minority groups based on a sociological list of 5 traits that minority groups tend to share. And we’ll discuss some implications for considering LGBT folks a minority group when it comes to the question of “rights.” 3) A shared sense of collective identity and common burdens: The LGBT community has bonded in order to provide community support to one another, both in cases of discrimination and intolerance described above, and to do what all social groups do for one another (celebrate life, mourn death, share their daily existence, tell stories, make art, help one another, work, gossip, raise children, and so on). 4) Socially shared rules about who belongs and who does not determine minority status: This group might be more porous than other minority groups, since many GLBT groups accept straight allies, asexual allies, and so on within their ranks. But there are still norms for membership, inclusion, and so on. Continue Reading →

Does Being Gay Make You A Minority? Part 3

In this post series, I’m defending the idea of giving GLBT people minority status. My first post gives some background on the issue, while my second post documents the oppression they face, thus fulfilling the first of 5 sociological categories that grant minority status to a group. Now we’ll get into the 2nd of these 5 categories:

2) Physical and/or cultural traits that set them apart, and which are disapproved by the dominant group: as far as I can tell, the scientific community is still researching the nature vs. nurture explanations for same-sex desire (take, for instance, this Slate article explaining some of the recent theories for the biological basis of homosexuality). My educated guess is that there are both biological and environmental factors going into sexual identity, and we’re still figuring out which conditions cause certain factors to come to the forefront. Continue Reading →

Does Being Gay Make You A Minority? Part 2

In the first post in this series, I listed 5 sociological characteristics of minority groups, intending to build an argument that LGBT people are, in fact, deserving of minority status. Here’s where I’ll get into the first – and perhaps most important – of those characteristics. Please note that for the purposes of this discussion, I will be focusing on gays and lesbians; this is not to erase the unique challenges faced by bisexual people, trans*people, queer folks, asexual people, and others, but simply because I’m not trying to conflate all these groups under one umbrella heading, though in some cases it does make sense to consider them grouped together, and I’d argue that they all do deserve minority status based on their uniqueness and their experiences of oppression. 1) Suffering discrimination and subordination: here is a list of atrocities committed against gays and lesbians specifically because they are gays and lesbians:

Numerous hate crimes against gays and lesbians, such as the murders of Matthew Shepard, Steven Simpson, Sakia Gunn, and many, many more, as listed on Wikipedia’s page, History of violence against LGBT people in the U.S. (seriously, click on that last link if you don’t believe that hate crimes against LGBT people are a thing)
Put another way, according to The Leadership Conference, “Of all hate crimes reported in 2007, the proportion committed against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) individuals rose to 16.6 percent, also the highest level in five years.” I’m gonna go out on a limb and say that the population of gays and lesbians probably remained fairly constant, so the fact that the proportion of hate crimes against them went up means that they are being targeted specifically for who they are. Continue Reading →

Does Being Gay Make You A Minority? Part 1

Since I started following the news about HJR-3, the proposed Indiana amendment that would ban same-sex marriage (which will not appear on the 2014 ballot after all), I have gotten more and more involved in debates on why gay marriage should be legal, what gay rights are, and whether the phrase “gay rights” should even exist. One Indiana blogger, Sam Kean, wrote in a blog post titled Sexual Identity & Equality that “The LGBT culture attempts to claim rights as a minority against which discrimination is happening. That claim for equal rights as a minority is based on sexual identity, as if sexual identity must be equated with other essential (permanent) descriptors of human identity–race/ethnicity, gender, nationality (origin), age.” Kean discusses other aspects of sexuality in his blog post, which I won’t get into here, as my main goal is to demonstrate that gays and lesbians do, indeed, deserve minority status. Here’s why. Continue Reading →

The Question Of Gay Marriage In Different Religions

In following recent gay marriage debates in the U.S., I’ve noticed that a lot of the arguments against legalizing gay marriage are religious. They may or may not be explicitly framed that way – some people quote the Bible in their arguments, while others refer to “traditional marriage,” an implicitly Christian construct – but the religious content remains. My issue with taking a religious stand against gay marriage here in the U.S. is that our government is explicitly founded upon the separation of church and state. In my understanding, the application of this delineation is largely carried out through civil rights. So while one religion may discourage its members from same-sex marriage, that shouldn’t affect believers of another religion (or none at all) from being able to pursue same-sex marriage. Continue Reading →

Dear Indiana: Please Recognize Federal Laws About Same-Sex Partners

As an Indiana resident, I’m upset that not only is gay marriage still not legal in my state, but that the federal law to extend visitation rights to same-sex partners is not being recognized here. Recently, a woman living in Indianapolis was hospitalized while unconscious, and her (female) partner has been banned from visiting her bedside because the unconscious woman’s mother disapproves of their relationship. A 2010 federal law specifies that even in states where gay marriage isn’t yet legal, hospitals that accept Medicare and Medicaid must extend same-sex partner visitation rights. But that clearly hasn’t happened here. That needs to change. Continue Reading →

The Real Threat Behind Same-Sex Marriage

Everyone who keeps saying that same-sex marriage threatens “traditional” marriage is doing two things:

Pissing off every anthropologist, folklorist, and cultural scholar who knows that there’s no such thing as “traditional” marriage, because marriage practices vary in every culture, region, and time period. Reinforcing the rigid gender roles that modern Western marriages are founded upon. Because, as Nursing Clio states in this excellent blog post, same-sex marriage is a threat to “traditional” marriage… once you realize that “traditional” marriage means patriarchal marriage, which is hierarchical and gender-essentializing. If you are in favor of things like married women having access to birth control, or single parents making their own parenting decisions, or any number of personal rights issues, then you, too, are a threat to “traditional” marriage as defined above – and you should be proud of it. Continue Reading →

Why Isn’t Anyone Worried About Bisexuals Getting Married?

After the Supreme Court’s ruling on DOMA and Prop 8, moving the U.S. closer to large-scale legal acceptance of gay marriage, I have to wonder: why hasn’t there been much fuss over bisexuals getting married? I wonder this, of course, with my tongue thoroughly lodged in my cheek, and because it exposes some of the hypocrisies and contradictions in the arguments against gay marriage. I’m not sure if the anti-gay-marriage folks realize this, but bisexual people have been getting married for a while now – they just happen to be marrying people of the opposite gender/sex assignment. And yet, bi folks have the potential to have “swung the other way” and ended up in a union with someone of the same sex/gender assignment (assuming that they’re into monogamy in the first place). In a sense, it’s almost as though non-heterosexual people have already been getting married… Continue Reading →

Protecting Heterosexual Marriage… Because Of “Unplanned” Offspring?

Lawyers defending the Defense of Marriage Act have chosen an unusual argument to make: only heterosexual couples can ”produce unplanned and unintended offspring,” and thus they need the sacrament of marriage to… I don’t know… protect them from… okay, I give up, they’ve lost me. That argument makes no sense whatsoever. Continue Reading →