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schwern (1528)

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Journal of schwern (1528)

Friday March 05, 2004
02:25 AM

So very gay marriage.

[ #17762 ]

I live in Portland which is in Multnomah County in which the county commissioners consulted their lawyers and decided that not issuing same-sex marriage licenses unconstitutional and there's nothing in Oregon law that would seem to prohibit it (though you'd better bet people are looking). Marriage in Oregon is defined thus:

106.010 Marriage as civil contract; age of parties. Marriage is a civil contract entered into in person by males at least 17 years of age and females at least 17 years of age, who are otherwise capable, and solemnized in accordance with ORS 106.150. [Amended by 1965 c.422 §1; 1975 c.583 §1]

So the county commissioners simply told the clerks to start issuing marriage licenses to gay couples. Yay! No new law or referrendum necessary, it was already on the books and the lawyers told them their current policy was likely unconstitutional. Purely an administrative move. Some folks are saying that since the law was written in the 19th century they never would have thought to specify that its *one* man and *one* woman, but these are probably the same folks that argue the literal interpretation of the 2nd ammendment. Let the legal wrangling begin. Meanwhile, they're handing out licenses.

I found out today that this is happening about a mile away, so I spent the afternoon cheering on people going into and coming out of the licensing office and to counter the dour and inevitable group of Christian Nuts hanging around outside.

Apparently yesterday was when all the shouting happened. Today was pretty much like a party. The four or five Christians quietly held their signs touting various Biblical Peril and Leviticus quotes and the four of five supporters with signs cheered and waved and handed out flowers. The officers from the Sheriff's dept. were happy to have a cushy job walking around in the sun. Everyone else was either getting a license, there with a couple getting a license or helping people get married. The officer I spoke to said there were about 450 licenses issued yesterday and about half as many today. The line when I was there was about half a block.

And then there were the Ministers from the Universal Life Church who showed up in clergical garb to marry people right then and there as they came out of the county offices. Yes, that's the same Universal Life Church that advertises in the back of Rolling Stone. Its not a joke, they're real Ministers with the legal power to perform marriage. There was even a guy on hand giving away free wedding photos. God I love this town. Curtis Poe is a minister and showed up along with a few others to hold the ceremonies. The best part being when Curtis has to ask "which one of you would like to be the groom?" because that's what it says on the paperwork. There's a spot for the bride's name and the groom's name.

The folks I talked to who were getting married and licenses largely had this to say: Its about time! Seems lots of people had been living together for years in legal limbo and this is like a dream come true. Lots of senior citizens came for licenses. Yep, little old ladies that have been together for decades finally allowed to get married. I hope someone's keeping track of this information, it would be a nice stat to throw in the face of the "gays are monogamous" crowd.

The folks protesting were disappointingly unimaginative. The usual signs with quotes from Leviticus and stuff about Sodom and Gamorrah. One fellow hung around until the very end (doors closed at 5pm, the Ministers kept marrying people outside until about 6) and I talked to him. He was tragicly sincere about saving gays from eternal damnation and apologetic for those people that were doing the yelling and cursing yesterday. He didn't seem to have any hatred, he really thought they were making a huge mistake and just wasn't aware of the Biblical Consequences. I shook his hand, told him I was impressed he stuck it out and told him I'd see him tommorrow. :)

Some folks showed up with their own interpretations of the Bible. "God Hates Shrimp! Leviticus 11:10" "Thou shalt not wear clothing made of two materials! Leviticus 19:19" "Those who do work on Sunday will be put to death! Exodus 31:15". Its always fun pointing out to Bible Thumpers that they're being hypocrites if nothing else for their amusing explainations as to why they're not.

The only interesting protester I saw had a sign out: "Straight, White, Conservative and Married. Don't I get a say?" A weird message unless you know something about the politics that went on behind this. Apparently what happened is four of the five the county commissioners discussed this and didn't tell the fifth! And the fifth is the only guy on the council representing the easternmost (and thus most conservative) district. One the one hand, that's not cool to do things in secret. On the other hand, that's politics. And awww, its a woman's club and not a men's club this one time. I really can't feel that bad about it.

Paradoxicly to all the cheering and happy honking of horns from the folks driving by on their way home from work and the lackluster turnout of protesters, it seems the polls are overwhelmingly *against* this. Multnomah County is skitzo. Portland is very liberal. The surrounding area outside the city is most definately not. So issues like this really split between urban and rural. Living in Portland, you only see one side.

Anyhow, the marriages go on!

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  • I know people who've gotten married, and I guess I sort of know one of the people doing the marrying (Yay Ovid!), but I didn't know about half of the back-story you provided here. Thanks very much.

    -DA []

  • I wish people would stay away from the "religious" argument. There is plenty of other stuff to say. Like the lifestyle being bad unhealthy and bad for families. The 5000 years of traditional man+woman marriages around the world. The historical fight for it in America itself. The slippery slope issue. The list goes on and on without it ever being a religious issue.

    Besides, most of the protesters that show up with religious signs for or against couldn't even tell you where Leviticus is found in the Bible. I

    • I wish people would stay away from the "religious" argument.

      I couldn't agree more...

      Besides, most of the protesters that show up with religious signs for or against couldn't even tell you where Leviticus is found in the Bible.

      As someone who was raised as a "Baptist"... I'd like to thank you for reminding me why I don't give a damn for the entire lot... Say one thing... do another.


      Meanwhile, while watching this in the news the other night... my wife and I have decided that religious people must be
      • Meanwhile, while watching this in the news the other night... my wife and I have decided that religious people must be doing some really questionable stuff in their own bedrooms... and this should be looked into.

        One guy had a very professionally made sign "Remember Sodom and Gamorrah", while everyone else's were hand made. Since this issue came to a head so fast, we speculated how he got such a professional sign done so quickly.

        We figured he just took it down from over his bed.

    • Isn't the "unhealthiness" of the "lifestyle" related to promiscuity? Do you really think that allowing gays to marry would increase promiscuity? If so, I'd like to hear how you work that out.
        • So if I'm part of any group that has a tendency toward promiscuity I can't marry? Or does that only apply if I'm part of the group that you consider "abnormal"? Weren't eastern europeans considered abnormal? African americans? Or for that matter, anyone with a darkish hue?

          If you consider homosexuality abnormal that's your business, I couldn't care less. When you use your belief to tell other people what to do and who to love, that's a different matter. Why should you even care?

          I realize it's pointless t

            • How are two people getting married "forcing their beliefs" on you? When two muslims get married they're not asking you to believe the Koran is the holy word of God, they're just asking you to respect their beliefs in their own religion and for one another. How is this different?

              The other arguments, "it's always been that way" and "it's a health risk" are also wrongheaded. I hate to trot the argument out again but history is rife with examples of traditional practices that have been overturned with progres

                • Okay, I'll bite: Assume I'm a moron and explain the differences. Without using a gussied up version of "those fudgepackers are evil".
                  • Why do people who argue that they're opposed to homosexuality for health reasons, not because of religion, remind of people who rave about the benefits of hemp clothing but claim their interest is unrelated to marijuana legalization?

                    For that matter, they also remind me of people who trumpet scientific studies saying that homosexuality is genetically determined and claim that means it should be legal and socially accepted. If tomorrow studies found that it wasn't genetically determined, would they then beli
            • If your argument is based on health risks, then perhaps only lesbians should be allowed to marry, since the risks of lesbian sex are lower than those of heterosexual sex.

              Besides, homosexuals aren't the only people who engage in "abnormal" sexual practices. Are you in favor of outlawing all such behavior, so as to avoid legitimizing it?
                • So how do you feel about gay men who marry to hide their lifestyle and have children, too?
                  • should put on your overalls and go down there and start shouting "FUCK THE FARMERS! FUCK THEM RIGHT UP THEIR ASS" next to the fundys. Get someone with a camera to go along with you as I want pictures, too. :D
                    • I want pictures of Schwern holding Bible quotes about God forbidding shrimps(*) in front of an evil sushi restaurant that destroys our traditional values.

                      (*) for those of you heathens who aren't familiar with the Torah, this is actually true.

                    • I thought about it. Part of the reason I went down there in the first place was there's this REALLY LOUD street preacher who was there on Wednesday condemming the people there in his REALLY LOUD BOOMING VOICE! This guy can project. I was hoping he'd be there again and I could counter-preach in my own Conference Voice.
                      He wasn't there yeseterday. Instead it was just a doudy group of very quiet Fundies. I thought about doing a little needling, but then I realized that jeez, people are getting married here
                    • Somebody already beat me to it. []
                    • What about the naked sushi chef? :)

            • What makes it right for them to force their beliefs on me when 5000 years of marriage has always been traditionally defended here (for the last 200 or so) and around the world as one man and one woman?

              A) Nobody's forcing their beliefs on you. Nobody's hand-cuffed you to another man, dragged you down to the county clerk and demanded you get a marriage license. By declaring that before the eyes of the law, only a man and a woman can have a legal union you are forcing your beliefs on other people. Mar

              • Tradition is a cop out

                It's a cop out for saying we shouldn't change, but it's a damn good reason for saying we should only make those changes legally and deliberately, collectively, instead of by fiat of a few (unless those few happen to be supreme court justices :-).
                    • Yes, legalizing same-sex marriage is forcing beliefs on other people in the same way that the fourteenth ammendment is forcing beliefs on other people. That is, all law is forcing your beliefs on someone at some point, even if that law is about freedom. I hope we all knew this already.

                      While its good to remember that all law is, in some way, enforcing belief, its about as interesting in the context of this discussion as having a physics argument and someone chiming in, "but you can never really prove anyt
            • > Those people groups do not have inherent health risks
              > associated with them

              Actually, there are very clear health risks associated with people groups defined by skin color. Folks with more melanin (skin pigment) are at a much lower risk for skin cancer. The correlation runs the other direction regarding heart disease. You can find trends like this for many health risks.

              Some racists would look at a hand-picked collection of these correlations and claim that other races are genetically inferior while
        • Let's assume those stats you dug up have some basis in reality. Should we legally prevent someone from getting married just because they're a member of a group and thus might be at risk? If we do it for gays, why not every other at risk group? Should we take statistics of STDs, divorce, spouse and child abuse rates amongst various ethnic, social, sexual and economic groups and only give out marriage licenses to those who aren't in an at risk group? If we're going to deny people the right to marry based

          • That is what happens when you pass stupid laws... people start ignoring the law.

            Multnomah's an interesting case because, unlike San Francisco, the interpretation so far is that same-sex marriage upholds the law as the law is written on the books and that it would be unconstitutional by the fourteenth ammendment not to allow the marriages. The county's actions seem to be legal. Of course, people are arguing what the intentions of the lawmakers were (and they're right), and there's already a lawsuit i

  • Some folks are saying that since the law was written in the 19th century they never would have thought to specify that its *one* man and *one* woman, but these are probably the same folks that argue the literal interpretation of the 2nd ammendment.

    Laws should be taken literally, and if you don't like them, you make new laws. That's how it has always been meant to work.

    How would you like it if we didn't take the First Amendment literally? Who would get to decide that? It's just such a ridiculous notion