Yesterday, the state senate of Minnesota — the state in which I was born and currently live — voted to approve a bill that, when Governor Dayton signs it today and it takes effect on August 1, will make Minnesota the twelfth state to legally recognize same-sex marriage.
It’s a really minor, minimalistic bill, when you look at it. In the sentence “Marriage, so far as its validity in law is concerned, is a civil contract between a man and a woman,” those last five words are replaced with “two persons.” That’s pretty much it, with a few more deletions made for consistency, a few gender-neutralities, and a whole bunch of language added in to make sure everybody knows we’re not making any religious leaders do anything that violates their beliefs. That’s it, really; couple snips here, a few extra words there. And yet, its importance can’t really be overstated. Minnesota is doing a great thing today, extending a significant right to a group of people that’s been kept from it for way too long.
I’m happy, and I’m proud. Mostly, though, I’m excited, because from listening to the warnings from opponents of marriage equality, I know that I suddenly get to do a lot of completely awesome shit that I didn’t get to do a day ago. Here are six highlights (some of them kind of irreconcilably contradict each other, but that’s the way these things go):
- Well, I’m not married anymore, obviously. The group that sponsored the anti-gay-marriage constitutional amendment that I was sure would pass just six short months ago (and that probably inadvertently created this whole glorious mess) is called “Minnesota for Marriage.” Now, Minnesota for Marriage exists to limit the availability of marriage strictly to the heteronormative majority, which seems downright Orwellian of them until you realize that what they’re really doing is attempting to protect marriage as an institution by opposing this only-ostensibly-nondisruptive addition to the definition. When we “redefine” marriage such that it applies to any two willing adults and does not depend on one of the two actors owning a vagina and the other a penis, MFM helpfully informed us many times over, it will mean the destruction of the entire institution of marriage altogether (just yesterday, they said it “upends our most foundational institution”). These brave people tried — and failed — to defend my marriage and yours from this insidious attack.
And this seemed like a bad thing, at first, the total destruction of marriage. I mean, I love my wife and kids a lot, and there no longer being any marriage at all kind of complicates things there. But then again: Doritos and cupcakes for dinner! I’m gonna call this a win, provisionally, until I get a tummy ache or something.
- I’m pretty sure I can own a Christian now. This has been all about religious liberty, we’ve been told. Minnesota law already firmly prohibits discrimination by businesses, including discrimination based on sexual orientation. But, it didn’t previously allow for same-sex marriage, so a business that was unwilling to perform services relating to a same-sex couple’s wedding couldn’t have engaged in a prohibited form of discrimination, you see, because those weddings (and in some legal senses those couples) didn’t exist! So by extending equal rights to same-sex couples, Minnesota has viciously attacked religious liberty by acknowledging that one certain plainly discriminatory practice is in fact discriminatory. (And we’re not even forcing religious institutions themselves to do it, by the way, only for-profit businesses, like florists and cake decorators. Wait, we’re worried about anti-gay florists and cake decorators being forced to cater to gays? If only the gays had other options in those fields!)
Clearly, this all-out assault on the Christian faith and way of life can only end in the full-on oppression and ultimate enslavement of some practitioners of the religion with which about 70% of Americans still identify. In other words, we’ve got gay marriage now, so I get to own my very own Christian!
Now, I have my qualms about this. I’m very much a Christian myself, for instance (UCC), so that makes me feel a little uneasy about owning a brother or sister of the faith, and slavery as a principle is very two centuries ago. But I don’t make the rules, just take advantage of them; some closed-minded fundamentalist Christians previously were at liberty to hold bigoted and hateful opinions of homosexual individuals without having to deal with any potential consequences of that hatred in their businesses, and that may in some limited cases no longer be true; this apparently means that those Christians don’t have any liberties anymore at all, and we own them. Bit of a mixed bag, that, but I’m pretty sure I can make it work for me. I’ll be a kind master.
- We’re changing the definition of marriage that’s been in place for thousands of years. This is another one that’s a bit hard to give up. As a participant in a marriage that follows the rules established over thousands of years, I’ve enjoyed being able to freely use and enjoy concubines and to essentially be the only human in my household, dominating my wife and family in every possible way, but I’ll tell you, if I were ever to get married again, I could do without having to pay that substantial dowry. My wife can’t own any property separate from me, though, so I expect I’ll recoup my losses on the way out.
- I can literally fuck a duck. I mean, obviously.
- I can marry more than one person, or a child. I’m pretty happy with the wife I’ve got (1. above notwithstanding), but who couldn’t use an extra hand around the house? We’ve had a lot of electrical and plumbing problems, and neither of us is terribly organized; rather than calling in an all-purpose handyperson or maid and paying through the nose every time, I think maybe I’ll just marry one of each. And apparently, since two consenting adults who love each other but happen to have the same genitalia are absolutely no different from a creepy old guy who wants to marry “a consenting nine-year-old girl” (who is legally incapable of “consent” but nevermind that), minors are fair game? There’s a thirteen-year-old down the street who’d be a pretty great babysitter for my kids, but that costs a lot of money over time, so I’ll just marry him too.
- Next time I see a dude I kind of like, I can just decide to marry him. Some conjecture with this one, but given the fear and discomfort and defensiveness with which homophobic/hetero-supremacist bigots have greeted the otherwise totally neutral-to-them extension of the right to marry, I have to assume (as Jon Stewart did) that now that we’re allowing gay marriage, on some level gay marriage is mandatory. Like, if I see a guy, and I like him, he has to marry me. Single or attached, gay or straight; we’ve allowed same-sex marriage now, so that dude is mine. I think that’s how it works, anyway.
And, I mean, I’ve never really been tempted before — I like women kind of a lot, it turns out — but now that I’m single and an owner of Christian people in this brave new hellbound world, you’d better believe I’m gonna be open to it. I’ll be on the lookout for guys with skills I don’t have (organization, carpentry, washboard abs) and high earning potential. You’re probably not attracted (you may view it as kind of like kidnapping at first, in fact) and neither am I, but we can make this civil contract work for us, dammit. We’re a gay-marryin’ society now, so we hafta!
And all that just scratches the surface of this post-religion, post-morality, orgiastic Sodomite utopia in which we Minnesotans now (effective August 1!) live. We have decided that any two adult people who love each other ought to receive the equal treatment under the law that is guaranteed them by the Constitution, you see, and that that Establishment Clause in the First Amendment to the same suggests that individuals’ access to those rights ought not to be dictated by other individuals’ (or even a majority’s) religious beliefs.
And making those ostensibly commonsense decisions has doomed us. We’re all going straight to hell, and fast. But it sure sounds like fun. Now, who wants to go raise a child in mother-figure-less depravity?