Friday, May 23, 2008

Court OKs Gay Marriage!

That was the headline last week. Now I don't think that they meant that I, personally, had okayed gay marriage. I believe they were referring to the actions of the California Supreme Court on this matter.

Court Weighs In
No doubt about it gaiety can be a polarizing issue in our society. One of my dearest friends once off-handedly expressed that we would not BE friends if I were gay.

Being bespectacled and bookish and hanging out with other nerdy guys well into my teens certainly seemed to cause my mom, in particular, some concerns over my sexuality. This strangely, even though I was the son of a bespectacled and rather bookish woman who hung out with her girlfriends until well into her 20s. Apparently nothing to worry about mom. You got the grandkids after all.

Now I have a daughter who is gay (usually happy, too). She is my first-born and she is someone I both like and admire. And, because she's my daughter, I want her to be happy and fulfilled in her life.

What do I think about gay marriage? Well, I tend to parse the differences between religious marriage and state-sanctioned marriage.

I freely admit to not being a fan of state-sanctioned marriage. The laws around this appear to have evolved in order to maintain social order and the transmission of property rights.

Since for quite some time during the history of this country my ancestors were property and not people, we explicitly had no right to marry under the law. We still got married before God and our community, we still "jumped the broom", but our unions and our children, and our joys and sorrows were not generally recognized by the state or the market.

But that was a long, long time ago...

Of course, my wife Angie and I grew up in politically liberal California and didn't suffer much in the way of state intervention in our relationship. Though it is worth noting that, because Angie is white, it would have been illegal in the state of California for us to be married when I was born here. There was no shortage of religious institutions which would have sanctioned he union, but not the state.

Not a long, long time ago but, arguably, long enough...

So now here we are. Should the state allow my daughter to get married to whomever she pleases. Sure. because we're seeing a long-running precedent of decrease of that kind of state control over our lives (which I am in opposition to).

Should Jasmyne marry another woman? That is between her and her God, I think. It's not for me to say or anyone else to say as far as I'm concerned.

And, however you personally feel about it, I think politics is the wrong tool for resolving the issue.

With California and Massachusetts leading the trend toward the unconstitutionality of these gay-marriage bans (as written), we'll undoubtedly find liberals fiercely supporting the right of these states to abolish these laws. In other words, a states' rights argument.

And we'll see consolidation among political conservatives for an overarching federal constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage. A federal argument.

Even though, traditionally during our lifetime, the left has supported big government initiatives and the right has steadfastly supported states' rights. So I think political tools mean nothing in the end. everyone just wants to win by any means necessary*

So, if my parsing is completed, I have no affinity for state-sanctioned marriage laws and I think I've explained why. Religious rules are another matter and, if a congregation doesn't want Jasmyne married in their church that's their right. If a congregation does want Jasmyne married in their church that, too, is their right.

Now I should say that my daughter, bespectacled but not bookish, has not expressed any interest in getting married. But if she does, I'll be in attendance, not in an act of social disobedience, not as a rejection of church teachings, and not to thumb my nose at my friends who oppose the very existence of gaiety. I'll be there because I'm her dad and I support her in all things that make her life happy.

What would you do for your kid?

PS--Jasmyne would ask why I remain friends with people who oppose homosexuality. My reply: Constructive engagement.

* I've lived long enough for Malcolm X's rhetoric to become a mainstream political philosophy. Interesting.

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If you're looking for the Court Cannick who's architecting ComputeSpace for education or the Court Cannick who built NetworkMathematics for systems management or the Court Cannick who engineered the storage systems for SETI@Home or the Court Cannick who produced Physical Science Journal for Storer Cable or the Court Cannick who lectured on Space Colonization at CMSI, then you probably have found the right Court Cannick.  Otherwise, keep looking...