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Friday, May 21, 2004

I'm sorry, you're not allowed to marry ANYONE...

This was a response to a slashdot post on the subject of same-sex marriage, where the poster was claiming that the term "marriage" already has a well known definition "The legal union of a man and woman as husband and wife" (from the dictionary?) and I gather because the term "legal" was used that makes it a common-knowledge "legal" definition. Further the poster claimed that attempts to redefine the definition "smacked of politically correct whims and predjudices." As this poster's comment was a reply to a previous comment, I think the term "whims amd prejudices" was pulled out of an earlier pro-same-sex-marriage posting.

Original post on Feb 25, 2004. I resurrected it here because it's an ongoing news subject...


The point is not whether or not there is an existing definition of marriage, but that the existing definition is prejudicial in that it doesn't apply equally to everyone.

In fact, the above definition of marriage is inherently prejudicially exclusive in that it presumes that every human individual is either a "man" or a "woman." The prejudice is in the erroneous assumption that gender is a binary state which is clearly false. The definitions that are sorely in need of reexamination are far more rudimentary than "marriage"-- that of "man" and "woman."

How then, does the term "marriage" apply to an individual who is completely hermaphroditic, such as in a dyzygotic chimera []? How about an individual who is only partially intersexed, such as an genetic XXY individual, pseudohermaphrodite or someone with an endocrine or hormonal disorder? What about someone who is transgendered via a medical procedure? And what if such a procedure wasn't voluntary, such as in cases where newborn males with small penises were thought to be females, surgically "corrected" and grew up believing they are females only to find out later (perhaps at puberty, or even later) they are otherwise male? Who gets to decide what gender these people are and on what basis?

Does marriage simply not apply to some of these individuals? What do you do if one of these persons ends up inadvertently married to the "same" gender but who had honestly believed they were different genders when they got married and found out later that perhaps they are not? How "male" does one have to be to be considered "male" enough to marry as a male? 51%?... 80%?.... 95%?.... What does it mean to have such a fundamental social institution that simply doesn't apply to certain people?

Can we simply ignore the issue because it's only a minority population of individuals with indeterminate or intermediate gender? How large would such a population have to be to be taken into consideration regarding "marriage?" How do you determine if someone is a member of such a population-- what means are to be used for determining intermediacy and how intermediate do you have to be to be considered one of such a group? What if the only "intermediacy" you have is that you find yourself attracted to the same sex? Apparently, even that is too much intermediacy for "marriage" to apply, at least in some quarters-- suggesting that the percentages of "maleness" or "femaleness" required on each side for marriage to be allowed are quite high.

And finally, does love have anything at all to do with marriage given the kind of constraints some people would apparently apply?

IMHO-- How better could we undermine the institution of marriage then to withhold it from certain classes of persons? How could we make it more irrelevant to society at large than to pass a constitutional amendment proclaiming it an exclusive club? Watch what you wish for...

Those who yearn for a black and white world can try to ignore these difficult issues, but even the passing of a constitutional amendment isn't going to make them disappear...