Friday, March 5, 2004

Gay Marriage: The Brass Ring

Why is same-sex civil marriage so important?  Why this, why now?

Because it’s the “brass ring.”

(History Lesson: Old-time carousels would have a contraption where people sitting on the outside ring of horses could reach out and try to snag a ring.  Most were iron [or whatever], but a few were brass.  Grab a brass ring and you got to ride again for free.  The last time I was in Santa Cruz, the carousel at the Beach Boardwalk there had such a “ring grabber,” and you were then supposed to toss the ring at a target.  I think you got a free ride if you hit the target, or something like that.)

In this case, the civil marriage is (rightly) seen as the thing that will wipe away all other questions about same-sex civil rights.  How can you rationalize disallowing adoption to a legitimately married couple?  How can a health plan not cover a person’s legal spouse?  How can the military kick out someone who is in a legally-recognized same-sex relationship unless their actual actions are contrary to military discipline?

Given this big right, lots of other things come automatically, and the things that don’t become way harder to defend the restrictions on.

Added link on December 27, 2010

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