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  • As a ******* female, I am sick and tired of hearing about the establishments hosting *** men having sexual encounters with scores of other men. They should all be closed for good. It's a da*n shame homosexual men can't have the decency to have sexual contacts in the privacy of their homes or pay for a motel. This male practice of multiple sexual partners in this kind of situation should have gone out with the "dark ages" and I do mean the AIDS epidemic. You guys can't really be this stupid, can you ???????????? Grow up - start acting responsibly - and quit *****ing because you can't have sexual stuff in an open brothel.

    Comment


    • Corrections
      ___________

      ...As a l e s b i a n female I am sick and tired of hearing about the establishments hosting g a y men having ...


      Grow up - start acting responsibly - and quit b i t c h i n g because you can't have sexual stuff in an open brothel.

      Comment


      • When men go to a g a y bathhouse, the expectation of having s e x with other men is the primary objective if not the sole reason for going to a g a y bathhouse. It is naive to assume men go to g a y bathhouses for any other reason but for the s e x ... and plenty of it. It would also be very naive for anyone to assume g a y bathhouses would continue to thrive as a business but for the fact men go to g a y bathhouses for the express purpose of having *** with other men. And again, they have the opportunity to experience lots of it with as many men as they see fit. G a y bathhouses exist because men who enjoy having s e x with other men -- want it to be that way.
        What I have just said it not a startling revelation to most men. Do men have unsafe s e x in *** bathhouses? Yes, some men do have unsafe s e x at *** bathhouses. Do men have unsafe s e x in the privacy of their own homes? Yes, some men do have unsafe s e x in the privacy of their homes. No surprises here. Are g a y women a common sight or fixture at g a y bathhouses? No. Why is that? You don't have to be a rocket scientist to figure it out. Men who are having s e x with other men at g a y bathouses or whereever they choose to have s e x do so for the express purpose of having s e x with only other men.

        As men, and specifically as g a y males, g a y males discovered a long time ago that having s e x for the sake of having s e x for their mutual pleasure does not require their male s e x u a l identities to be validated by women. They don't seek the approval of women when they choose to affirm and express their sexuality. By now, even if you intend to procreate, it is not necessary for men to be s e x u a l l y intimate with women; much less so to validate who they are as men and much much less enjoy their freedom to enjoy the best s e x.

        A g a y man is a g a y man because he is repulsed at the very thought of having physical s e x with women. He is uniquely a male with his own s e x u a l self-identity. He doesn't need women to define that self-identity. There are plenty of men out there to self-identity with and he is happy to affirm his homosexuality by his own choices -- and not the choices of somebody else. It is not the place of women to dictate or suggest how men should behave s e x u a l l y unless that woman is intimately involved in a relationship with a man. G a y women or l e s b i a n s should not be concerned about the s e x u a l habits and choices of men unless they are having intimate s e x u a l relations with men. Anonymous s e x u a l encounters and places where they happen are not a l e s b i a n's issue for the same reason why g a y bathhouses are not an issue for heterosexual males. Think about it.

        Comment


        • CONGRESSMAN NADLER CELEBRATES MEANING OF VALENTINES DAY BY ANNOUNCING REINTRODUCTION OF THE "PERMANENT PARTNERS IMMIGRATION ACT"



          WASHINGTON - Using the motif of tomorrow's Valentines Day as a backdrop, Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) today announced that he has reintroduced the "The Permanent Partners Immigration Act"in the 108th Congress, which would help countless numbers of bi-national *** and ******* partnerships to remain together.

          The most prominent feature of the "The Permanent Partners Immigration Act" would allow those US Citizens and lawful permanent residents who are in a permanent partnership, to sponsor their partners for immigration purposes, just as any legal spouse would. Currently, because there is no legally recognized marriage between *** and ******* couples under the immigration law, many bi-national permanent partnerships are torn apart when one partner moves to the United States.

          "My bill is simply a matter of common sense and fairness," he added. "Why do we allow the government to tear apart committed and loving couples just because of who they love? The answer is that there is no excuse for this gratuitous cruelty, and my bill would correct that."

          "The Permanent Partners Immigration Act" would add the term "or permanent partner" to those sections of the Immigration and Naturalization Act that apply to legally married couples. For purposes of the bill, "permanent partner" is described as "an individual 18 years of age and over who: Is in a committed, intimate relationship with another individual 18 years of age and over in which both parties intend a lifelong commitment; Is financially interdependent with that other individual; Is not married or in a permanent partnership with anyone other than that other individual; Is unable to contract with that other individual a marriage cognizable under [the Immigration and Naturalization Act]; and Is not a first, second, or third degree blood relation of that other individual."

          Said Winnie Stachelberg, Political Director of the Human Rights Campaign, "The Human Rights Campaign is grateful for Rep. Nadler's leadership on this very important issue to our community. PPIA is a simple matter of fairness allowing same-*** couples - where one partner is from a different country - to remain together in the United States."

          "This bill provides an essential fix for US immigration law which treats loving partners like legal strangers to one another. We look forward to seeing great progress in the 108th session as members recognize the terrible injustice of our current system," said Suzanne Goldberg Board of Directors President at the ******* and *** Immigration Rights Task Force.

          "As evidenced in the Task Force Family Policy report, the U.S. still lags behind many countries when it comes to equal rights for same-*** couples," said Lorri L. Jean, National *** and ******* Task Force Executive Director. "We call on those in Congress who are opposed to discrimination to support Congressman Nadler''s efforts to narrow the gap by recognizing committed, loving, bi-national adult relationships through the Permanent Partners Immigration Act."

          "Family unification has always been at the heart of U.S. immigration policy. But as it stands now, federal law prevents many *******s and *** men from keeping their families," said Christopher E. Anders, an ACLU Legislative Counsel. "Instead of intruding into people's private relationships, Congress should enact fair immigration standards that apply equally to everyone."

          While the bill will afford the same immigration benefits to permanent partnerships that those who contract a legal marriage receive, it will also apply the same exact restrictions and enforcement standards. For example, if a person is found to have entered into a fraudulent permanent partnership for the purposes of obtaining a visa for another person, they will be subject to the same five year maximum imprisonment, or $250,000 maximum fine, or both, as a person who contracts a fraudulent marriage would. The bill also requires that bi-national couples provide ample proof that they meet the definition of "permanent partners."

          "My bill only demands that those people in same-*** permanent partnerships receive equal treatment to those who can get legally married," said Rep. Nadler. "Not an iota more."

          Currently Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Israel, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, South Africa, Sweden, and the United Kingdom all allow people to sponsor their permanent partners for immigration purposes.

          The Congressman introduced the same legislation in the 106th and 107th Congresses. It has been endorsed by the New York City Council, and groups nationwide.

          Representative Nadler has served in Congress since 1992 where he has worked on many issues of importance to the *** and ******* community. He represents the 8th District of New York which includes parts of Manhattan and Brooklyn.



          http://www.house.gov/nadler/PPIA_021303.htm

          Comment


          • CONGRESSMAN NADLER CELEBRATES MEANING OF VALENTINES DAY BY ANNOUNCING REINTRODUCTION OF THE "PERMANENT PARTNERS IMMIGRATION ACT"



            WASHINGTON - Using the motif of tomorrow's Valentines Day as a backdrop, Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) today announced that he has reintroduced the "The Permanent Partners Immigration Act"in the 108th Congress, which would help countless numbers of bi-national G A Y and L E S B I A N partnerships to remain together.

            The most prominent feature of the "The Permanent Partners Immigration Act" would allow those US Citizens and lawful permanent residents who are in a permanent partnership, to sponsor their partners for immigration purposes, just as any legal spouse would. Currently, because there is no legally recognized marriage between G A Y and L E S B I A N couples under the immigration law, many bi-national permanent partnerships are torn apart when one partner moves to the United States.

            "My bill is simply a matter of common sense and fairness," he added. "Why do we allow the government to tear apart committed and loving couples just because of who they love? The answer is that there is no excuse for this gratuitous cruelty, and my bill would correct that."

            "The Permanent Partners Immigration Act" would add the term "or permanent partner" to those sections of the Immigration and Naturalization Act that apply to legally married couples. For purposes of the bill, "permanent partner" is described as "an individual 18 years of age and over who: Is in a committed, intimate relationship with another individual 18 years of age and over in which both parties intend a lifelong commitment; Is financially interdependent with that other individual; Is not married or in a permanent partnership with anyone other than that other individual; Is unable to contract with that other individual a marriage cognizable under [the Immigration and Naturalization Act]; and Is not a first, second, or third degree blood relation of that other individual."

            Said Winnie Stachelberg, Political Director of the Human Rights Campaign, "The Human Rights Campaign is grateful for Rep. Nadler's leadership on this very important issue to our community. PPIA is a simple matter of fairness allowing same-S E X couples - where one partner is from a different country - to remain together in the United States."

            "This bill provides an essential fix for US immigration law which treats loving partners like legal strangers to one another. We look forward to seeing great progress in the 108th session as members recognize the terrible injustice of our current system," said Suzanne Goldberg Board of Directors President at the L E S B I A N and G A Y Immigration Rights Task Force.

            "As evidenced in the Task Force Family Policy report, the U.S. still lags behind many countries when it comes to equal rights for same-S E X couples," said Lorri L. Jean, National G A Y and L E S B I A N Task Force Executive Director. "We call on those in Congress who are opposed to discrimination to support Congressman Nadler''s efforts to narrow the gap by recognizing committed, loving, bi-national adult relationships through the Permanent Partners Immigration Act."

            "Family unification has always been at the heart of U.S. immigration policy. But as it stands now, federal law prevents many L E S B I A N S and G A Y men from keeping their families," said Christopher E. Anders, an ACLU Legislative Counsel. "Instead of intruding into people's private relationships, Congress should enact fair immigration standards that apply equally to everyone."

            While the bill will afford the same immigration benefits to permanent partnerships that those who contract a legal marriage receive, it will also apply the same exact restrictions and enforcement standards. For example, if a person is found to have entered into a fraudulent permanent partnership for the purposes of obtaining a visa for another person, they will be subject to the same five year maximum imprisonment, or $250,000 maximum fine, or both, as a person who contracts a fraudulent marriage would. The bill also requires that bi-national couples provide ample proof that they meet the definition of "permanent partners."

            "My bill only demands that those people in same-S E X permanent partnerships receive equal treatment to those who can get legally married," said Rep. Nadler. "Not an iota more."

            Currently Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Israel, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, South Africa, Sweden, and the United Kingdom all allow people to sponsor their permanent partners for immigration purposes.

            The Congressman introduced the same legislation in the 106th and 107th Congresses. It has been endorsed by the New York City Council, and groups nationwide.

            Representative Nadler has served in Congress since 1992 where he has worked on many issues of importance to the G A Y and L E S B I A N community. He represents the 8th District of New York which includes parts of Manhattan and Brooklyn.



            http://www.house.gov/nadler/PPIA_021303.htm

            Comment


            • Okay folks, that's what we already have in Germany:

              Partnership laws (enacted in the summer 2001)

              The partners are acknowledged as relatives. They are obliged to care for each other and to grant mutually maintenance and to live together. The most important legal provisions:

              - Official registration: A state authority performs the registration.

              - Changing names: Registered partnerships are entitled to the same possibilities of changing names as married couples (for example: if Michael Meyer marries Thomas Schmid, Michael could chose one the following last names: Meyer, Schmid, Meyer-Schmid, Schmid-Meyer).

              - Inheritance law: The legal provisions for married couples are applied to registered partnerships.

              - Custody rights: If one partner has children, the other partner gets custody rights for daily life decisions (education, medical care etc.)

              - Kinship: The relatives of the other partner are considered as brothers-in-law or sisters-in-law or as a corresponding kinship.

              - Denial of testifying against each-other and information rights: The registered partners are allowed to deny to testify against each-other in a criminal trial (or in preliminary proceedings). In hospitals and similar institutions the other partner has information rights.

              - Rights of the tenant's lease: If one partner dies, the other partner is allowed to stay in the apartment and to become the obligee of the tenant's lease.

              - Social benefits for children: If one partner is unemployed, he/she will get higher unemployment payments if there are children in the registered partnership. This regulation applies to the general children benefits, too.

              - Health and care insurance: Registered partnerships get health insurance benefits and care insurance benefits.

              - Immigration rights: Foreign partners get a residence permit.

              Comment


              • Vatican Seeks to Stop OKs for *** Unions
                _______________________________________________

                The Vatican hopes to rally public opposition to *** marriages in a worldwide campaign spurred by its alarm over growing legal acceptance of same-*** unions in Europe and North America. Pope John Paul II has been speaking out for months against legislative proposals to legalize same-*** marriages. But instructions to be released this week go a step further by outlining a course of action for politicians and other lay people to oppose extending the rights accorded to traditional couples, Vatican officials told The Associated Press. The document is titled "Considerations Regarding Proposals to Give Legal Recognition to Unions Between Homosexual Persons." It was prepared by the church's guardian of orthodoxy, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and is to be released Thursday, the officials said.

                One official familiar with the document called it a "practical reflection" for both Catholic and non-Catholic politicians and public opinion in general. It asks that the legal recognition accorded the traditional marriages not be extended to same-*** unions, the official told AP, speaking on condition of anonymity. The document prescribes a course of action for politicians and lay communities and does not involve the clergy, Vatican officials said. It is expected to detail how the issue should be dealt with in public forums, including legislatures. The officials did not give provide examples. The Catholic Church is not the only Christian denomination embroiled in the debate. At its national convention, which begins Wednesday in Minneapolis, the Episcopal Church in the United States will decide whether to permit blessing ceremonies for same-*** unions and approve the first election of an openly *** bishop, issues that are sharply dividing that church. Catholic teaching says homosexuals should not be subjected to "unjust discrimination," but it also says ***s should be chaste.

                In January, the pope approved guidelines on church teachings for Catholic politicians saying that the church's opposition to abortion, euthanasia and same-*** marriage is not up for negotiation. The guidelines said laws safeguarding marriage between man and woman must be promoted and urged that "in no way can other forms of cohabitation be placed on the same level as marriage, nor can they receive legal recognition as such."

                Legal acceptance is growing, however.

                Over the past two years, the Netherlands and Belgium extended marriages rights to all couples, no matter the partners' gender. Two Canadian provinces "” Ontario and British Columbia "” have legalized marriages for homosexuals under recent court rulings, a move that has attracted ***s from across the border in the United States. The Massachusetts supreme court is weighing whether to legalize same-*** unions. In reaction, some Republican lawmakers in Washington are calling for a constitutional amendment that would ban *** marriages nationwide. Vermont and some European nations, such as Germany, France, Sweden and Denmark, have "civil union" laws giving same-*** couples the rights and responsibilities of traditional marriages. After Germany's supreme court upheld the law this month, a top German cardinal condemned the law as a blow to the family. "Now the associations of homosexuals have a potent arm to obtain further concessions on the road toward full equality with married couples, including the right to adoption," Cardinal Karl Lehman complained in a Vatican Radio interview.

                The Vatican is particularly worried about the waning influence of the church in Europe. Drafters of a proposed constitution for the European Union ignored Vatican requests to include explicit mention of Europe's Christian roots. On Sunday, the pope lamented that the church's message was being watered down in Europe, decrying the spread of a "vague and little-demanding religious sentiment, which could become agnosticism and practical atheism." Vatican officials said the document "” 12 pages long and available in seven languages "” is devoted entirely to the issue of same-*** marriages. A leading *** activist in Italy, Franco Grillini, who is a member of parliament, condemned the Vatican's position as "another intrusion into a country's affairs." He charged that the Vatican operated with a particularly heavy hand in Italy and several other predominantly Catholic countries in Europe, depriving ***s of rights guaranteed elsewhere. In the United States, the church sometimes criticizes Catholic politicians whose views clash with the faith's teachings. The Archdiocese of Santa Fe, for instance, ventured into the New Mexico gubernatorial campaign last year, circulating fliers about the candidates' stands on abortion. Among those criticized for supporting the right to abortion was Democrat Bill Richardson, who won the election.


                http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmp...***_marriage_9

                Comment


                • Vatican Seeks to Stop OKs for G a y Unions
                  _______________________________________________

                  The Vatican hopes to rally public opposition to g a y marriages in a worldwide campaign spurred by its alarm over growing legal acceptance of same-s e x unions in Europe and North America. Pope John Paul II has been speaking out for months against legislative proposals to legalize same-s e x marriages. But instructions to be released this week go a step further by outlining a course of action for politicians and other lay people to oppose extending the rights accorded to traditional couples, Vatican officials told The Associated Press. The document is titled "Considerations Regarding Proposals to Give Legal Recognition to Unions Between Homosexual Persons." It was prepared by the church's guardian of orthodoxy, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and is to be released Thursday, the officials said.

                  One official familiar with the document called it a "practical reflection" for both Catholic and non-Catholic politicians and public opinion in general. It asks that the legal recognition accorded the traditional marriages not be extended to same-s e x unions, the official told AP, speaking on condition of anonymity. The document prescribes a course of action for politicians and lay communities and does not involve the clergy, Vatican officials said. It is expected to detail how the issue should be dealt with in public forums, including legislatures. The officials did not give provide examples. The Catholic Church is not the only Christian denomination embroiled in the debate. At its national convention, which begins Wednesday in Minneapolis, the Episcopal Church in the United States will decide whether to permit blessing ceremonies for same-s e x unions and approve the first election of an openly g a y bishop, issues that are sharply dividing that church. Catholic teaching says homosexuals should not be subjected to "unjust discrimination," but it also says g a y s should be chaste.

                  In January, the pope approved guidelines on church teachings for Catholic politicians saying that the church's opposition to abortion, euthanasia and same-s e x marriage is not up for negotiation. The guidelines said laws safeguarding marriage between man and woman must be promoted and urged that "in no way can other forms of cohabitation be placed on the same level as marriage, nor can they receive legal recognition as such."

                  Legal acceptance is growing, however.

                  Over the past two years, the Netherlands and Belgium extended marriages rights to all couples, no matter the partners' gender. Two Canadian provinces "” Ontario and British Columbia "” have legalized marriages for homosexuals under recent court rulings, a move that has attracted g a y s from across the border in the United States. The Massachusetts supreme court is weighing whether to legalize same-s e x unions. In reaction, some Republican lawmakers in Washington are calling for a constitutional amendment that would ban g a y marriages nationwide. Vermont and some European nations, such as Germany, France, Sweden and Denmark, have "civil union" laws giving same-s e x couples the rights and responsibilities of traditional marriages. After Germany's supreme court upheld the law this month, a top German cardinal condemned the law as a blow to the family. "Now the associations of homosexuals have a potent arm to obtain further concessions on the road toward full equality with married couples, including the right to adoption," Cardinal Karl Lehman complained in a Vatican Radio interview.

                  The Vatican is particularly worried about the waning influence of the church in Europe. Drafters of a proposed constitution for the European Union ignored Vatican requests to include explicit mention of Europe's Christian roots. On Sunday, the pope lamented that the church's message was being watered down in Europe, decrying the spread of a "vague and little-demanding religious sentiment, which could become agnosticism and practical atheism." Vatican officials said the document "” 12 pages long and available in seven languages "” is devoted entirely to the issue of same-s e x marriages. A leading g a y activist in Italy, Franco Grillini, who is a member of parliament, condemned the Vatican's position as "another intrusion into a country's affairs." He charged that the Vatican operated with a particularly heavy hand in Italy and several other predominantly Catholic countries in Europe, depriving g a y s of rights guaranteed elsewhere. In the United States, the church sometimes criticizes Catholic politicians whose views clash with the faith's teachings. The Archdiocese of Santa Fe, for instance, ventured into the New Mexico gubernatorial campaign last year, circulating fliers about the candidates' stands on abortion. Among those criticized for supporting the right to abortion was Democrat Bill Richardson, who won the election.


                  http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmp...e_eu/vatican_g a y_marriage_9

                  Comment


                  • Why should we be conditioned to think that g a y marriage has better chances to be accepted in case the Church somehow approves of homosexuality? Because of the underlying assumption that marriage is a religious matter, not just a State one. And that is wrong.

                    Most Americans agree with our Constitution that all citizens deserve equal protection under the law. It seems odd, then, that so many Americans of late have taken a stand against same-s e x marriage. How and why can we oppose extending basic civil rights to a group of people trying to join mainstream society by establishing permanent family units? What makes this issue, a simple question of equal access to the law, so profoundly contentious? The answer is: opposing the separation of church and state. Opponents of same-s e x marriage (including President Bush) almost always cite the preservation of "the sanctity of marriage" as their primary motivation. This argument overlooks that there are actually two distinct versions of marriage in this country -- religious marriage under the auspices of a church and civil marriage under federal or state law. The two are entirely separate and unrelated; getting a marriage license from City Hall doesn't make you married in the eyes of your religious community or God, and having a church celebrate your union doesn't change your legal status.

                    Granting same-s e x unions the same civil rights accorded heterosexual married couples will not affect or diminish the way religious communities choose to define and celebrate marriage. Every church and religious organization is free to forbid or encourage whatever behavior they choose. If your church wants to forbid religious marriage of same-s e x couples, no government action can stop it. Our government's role is to guarantee the freedom and equality of every citizen under the law, however. A church's teachings regarding the definition and "sanctity" of marriage have no place in federal law. Let's not forget what the First Amendment says:

                    "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion."

                    Legislation (such as the Defense of Marriage Act and the "no g a y marriage" statute Bush promises/threatens) imposes a religious definition of marriage on the entire country. More accurately, they impose the definition of a few specific religions on the entire country -- some churches in America actually do choose to recognize same-s e x marriages. Such action flies in the face of a secular government, and we the voters must speak out now to eliminate religiously motivated discrimination and overrule its proponents.

                    BUSH'S ATTEMPT TO CODIFY HIS RELIGIOUS CONVICTIONS SHOULD OFFEND EVERY AMERICAN WHO BELIEVES IN THE SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE. CIVIL MARRIAGE IS NOT A RELIGIOUS SACRAMENT, AND AMERICAN CITIZENS MUST LEARN TO RECOGNIZE THE DIFFERENCE.

                    Comment


                    • G a y-movement organizers obsessed with fighting for same-s e x marriage seem to have forgotten their roots in a quest for a more liberated world, one they shared with feminists who viewed marriage as HOPELESSLY PATRIARCHAL.
                      _________________________________________________________________________________

                      Marriage-rights mania is in the air. First, there was the decision by the Ontario Court of Appeal to grant same-s e x couples the right to marry, and to urge the Canadian government to change its definition of marriage so that g a y and ******* couples from every province can wed. Then the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that g a y couples have the right to have s e x, prompting Justice Antonin Scalia to fulminate about "the so-called homosexual agenda" and warn: "This reasoning leaves on pretty shaky grounds state laws limiting marriage to opposite-s e x couples." And if the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court grants g a y/l e s b i a n couples the right to marry when it rules in Goodridge et al. v. Department of Public Health - a decision is expected any day now - the marriage debate will be all we hear about for the next couple of years. H e l l, maybe the Bravo network will even commission a sequel to last summer's hit reality miniseries, G a y Weddings. (The network could combine it with Q u e e r Eye for the Straight Guy and call it Q u e e r Cupid's Bridal Makeover.) But even if the Massachusetts court doesn't decide in favor of the plaintiffs in Goodridge, full marital equality for g a y and l e s b i a n couples is in America's future.

                      I think the problem is not with q u e e r people getting legally hitched, per se. Any change in our culture that brings fuller equality under the law - as mandated by the Constitution - is a good thing. Q u e e r couples who want to marry should get the same benefits now offered only to heterosexual couples. The problem seems to be that g a y political organizing seems to have become obsessed with winning the right to marry. I fear that q u e e r political organizers have been caught up in the exhilaration of the moment and that they're not looking into the future -- or the past -- as much as they should. I fear that for many people, winning the right to marry has become the raison d'être of the movement, not only its alpha but especially its omega. Indeed, cultural and political commentator Andrew Sullivan, author of 1995's "Virtually Normal: An Argument About Homosexuality" and the editor, with Joseph Landau, of 1997's "Same-*** Marriage: Pro and Con," has proclaimed, "When we get the right for same-s e x marriage, we have done all we need to do, we can just pack the movement up and close it down."

                      I don't want to sound like some cranky old radical - a parody of the aging socialist in some Lower East Side café who complains that nothing good has happened since Lenin published "What Is To Be Done?" in 1902. Yeah, I know. Too late. But bear with me. Institutional memory in a social movement is both good and necessary. When the g a y-liberation movement formed in 1969, they had a broad, expansive vision of social justice. They wanted to change the world and make it better - not just for g a y men and l e s b i a n s (this was before bisexuals and transgender people were fighting along), but for everyone. They wanted to find alternatives to the traditional structures under which they were raised, structures that many of them found insufficient to meet their needs and desires. They aligned themselves with other movements and learned from them. They got "G a y Is Good" from the Black Power movement's self-affirming "Black Is Beautiful." From the new feminist movement, they learned that patriarchy -- especially when it mandated compulsory heterosexuality -- was as bad for q u e e r s as it was for women. And they also believed, like many feminists, that marriage was, at its best, an imperfect institution, and, at its worst, a dangerous one.

                      With such history feeding their politics, I am amazed that the feminist critique has been completely lost in the current debate over marriage. Especially since many of the l e s b i a n s now working to secure the right to marry came out and came of age in the early 1970s. Today, there is a complete misconception about what feminists saw as the problem with marriage. It wasn't just that prevailing state laws meant that men had the legal right to r a p e their wives; or that domestic violence wasn't taken seriously; or that most jurisdictions forbade women from signing legal contracts without the consent of their husbands. It was that marriage privatized intimate relationships, hindered community interaction, and regulated sexuality. The feminist critique of marriage sought to promote personal freedom and sexual liberation. It chafed against the notion that the only valid relationships were those that had been endorsed -- and financially supported -- by the state. The feminist critique of marriage, signed onto fully by the G a y Liberation Front, made clear that the state had no business telling people what they could do with their bodies (especially with regard to reproduction), what they could do in bed, or with whom they could do it. G a y s understood that what the state allowed, or sanctioned, was in the state's interests, and not theirs.

                      The g a y movement was a factory in which alternative visions of everyday life were dreamed up and then shipped out to the rest of the world: rearranging the ways we think about love, making o r a l s e x a permissible topic for heterosexual discussion (though Bill Clinton took care of that for us), teaching heterosexual men and women that they could dress in a less restricting, more comfortable manner. G a y liberation, along with the feminist movement, was also a primary catalyst for radical social change. They told mainstream society that there were plenty of other options and that they should loosen up. All this, obviously, has changed. The g a y movement today has gone out of the radical-social-change business and taken up a franchise in the "let's just fight for equality" business. Not that there is anything wrong with equality -- hey, it's a basis for democracy, even if democracy has a hard time attaining and maintaining it - it's just that it doesn't move the world forward at a very fast rate. The primary problem with the current obsession among g a y-rights groups like the "Human Rights Campaign" and the "National *** and ******* Task Force" is that marriage still poses the same problems it did in the late 1960s: is this the best way for most people to organize their most intimate relationships, and does marriage ultimately make people as happy and productive as they might otherwise be? Well, given the 50% divorce rate, the ongoing epidemic of domestic violence among straight and g a y couples, and the number of people who seek marital counsel from the likes of Dr. Phil, Dr. Laura, and Dr. Ruth, not to mention the vital role fantasies of conjugal cheating play on television and in Hollywood, I would have to conclude that MARRIAGE FALLS FAR, FAR SHORT OF ITS EXALTED REPUTATION.

                      So why would g a y people even want to get married? Part of the answer is that in a world wracked by homophobia, getting an official okay on your relationship feels great. It is validating, and it mutes some of the hurt and pain inflicted on so many q u e e r s by their families, neighbors, co-workers, and society at large. Most people will seek almost any remedy for pain, anything that might make it go away, or at least make them feel better. This is evident in the numbers of same-s e x couples who have gone to Vermont for civil unions or crossed the northern border to Ontario or British Columbia to be legally wed in Canada. Neither Vermont civil unions nor Canadian marriages have any legal standing in the rest of the United States (though a Nassau County judge in New York ruled earlier this month that a g a y man had legal standing -- based on his civil union -- to file a wrongful-death suit after his partner died while receiving treatment for a broken leg). But the symbolic meaning of such legalities is very compelling for the couples who seek them out. And it is no surprise that this should be. In our culture, marriage is a powerful expectation. Marriage is so much the expectation and norm that even heterosexual couples have to explain why they don't want to get married. It is what we are all brought up to want and never given much permission to question. It is a cultural myth many of us still embrace, despite all the evidence suggesting that "happily ever after" is more aptly applied to ***** tales than marriages. For some couples -- straight and g a y -- getting married is simply easier than not getting married. It is a learned cultural response that is easier to give in to than to fight.

                      There is nothing intrinsically wrong with q u e e r s buying in to the marriage myth -- although it does strike me as odd, given that g a y s have managed to do so well without it for so long. What I do find irritating is that the fight for marriage rights has become such an idée fixe for both the g a y movement and g a y culture. It is now the elusive Holy Grail of g a y freedom: when they are granted same-s e x marriage, they will have finally achieved transcendent acceptance. In the early 1970s, g a y s had continuous, vibrant community discussions about how best to enact the new freedoms they were discovering. In those years, they rejected myth after myth embraced by earlier q u e e r generations: that they had to be private to be safe, that their sexual desire was a form of mental illness, that they were doomed to hell, that they had to replicate the most staid heterosexual relationship patterns to have any chance at personal happiness. Rather, they thought they could create a better world, one more in tune with their needs and desires. We hear very little discussion now -- in the g a y press or in their national organizations -- about the intricacies of how q u e e r people feel about marriage. Everyone agrees that g a y people must have equality under the law, but do they ever hear from people who don't want to get married? From people who think their relationships are fine the way they are now? From people who have found that monogamy doesn't work for them? From people who feel their lives have been seriously encumbered by having kids and being in a traditional relationship? From people who chafe at the idea that under the traditional definition of marriage, monogamy is not only expected but mandated? Are g a y s just not the marrying sort? Maybe they should be campaigning for open marriage, or marriage with a tricking-on-the-side option, or the we-just want-the-economic-benefits-but-have-no-intention-of-actually-being-traditionally-married marriage.

                      But this isn't how it works. You don't win the right to marry by telling the world that q u e e r people's lives are as confusing, messy, tattered, and complicated as heterosexual lives. You win the right to marry by presenting to the world, and to the courts, the most acceptable, most homogeneous, most lovable, most traditional couples (with kids if possible) you can find. And given that marriage is, for everyone, a form of sexual regulation, it is also important to present to the world the most conventional images of g a y sexual behavior. Nowhere is this better exemplified than in the writings of William N. Eskridge Jr., the noted g a y legal scholar who has been a major theoretician and proponent of full marital equality for same-s e x couples. In 1996's "The Case for Same-*** Marriage: From Sexual Liberty to Civilized Commitment," Eskridge argues that, along with providing equality under the law, marriage would be of enormous social and psychological benefit to both q u e e r and heterosexual communities, since it would regulate g a y-male promiscuity. "G a y marriage will have a civilizing effect on g a y men," he argues. Aside from the idiocy of this argument -- as if heterosexuals have ever allowed marriage vows to curb their sexual wanderings -- it is also deeply, profoundly homophobic. Eskridge pleads for equality under the law by reeling out the same stereotypes that have made g a y people second-class citizens. His theory embodies everything we thought was wrong with marriage in the 1970s: it is not about love and commitment -- it is simply about regulating ***. Indeed, in Eskridge's world there would be two kinds of g a y men - good ones who had s e x in marriage and bad ones who had s e x outside of marriage; not all that different from the '50s-era stereotypes of "good" and "bad" girls that feminists condemned as repressive and destructive. Most interestingly, Eskridge's views are not on the fringe. He is one of the most frequent commentators on winning the freedom to marry in the g a y and mainstream press, and his archconservative, destructive views on sexual morality are almost never challenged. Eskridge's sales pitch for q u e e r marital equality is based on a lie.

                      In this age of marriage mania, I miss not just the vigorous public and community discussions but the visionary impulses that fueled the early movement. Why aren't g a y s having demanding and intelligent debates over whether they want to fight for marriage or something similar to, say, the French pacte civil de solidarité - which essentially gives marriage rights to any two people (g a y, straight, the sexually involved, or those who are just room-mates) who want to declare themselves a legal couple? That legal arrangement would also grant us all equality under the law, as well as enlarge our idea of what family might be. Some activists have argued that such a radical proposal would stand no chance of becoming law in the United States. But the reality is that you get only what you organize for -- 5 years ago same-s e x marriage was unthinkable, 35 years ago anti-discrimination bills were unthinkable. The q u e e r movement did not get to where it is now by thinking small. Activist and writer Patrick Califia-Rice has written, "Years ago, when we spoke of g a y family we meant our community, now we mean parents raising children in the suburbs." And I have to wonder, with the fight for marriage in full swing, are we thinking large or small? What do g a y people gain? What do they lose?

                      Marriage has become such a fixation in g a y politics that I fear they may lose touch with other equally, if not more, important issues. Yes, q u e e r legal groups like "*** and ******* Advocates and Defenders", who are litigating the Goodridge case and who litigated the Vermont case that resulted in civil unions, are doing incredibly important work. But that nearly every other q u e e r legal and advocacy group has made marriage its priority strikes me as intellectually lazy. It's the I'll-have-what-they're-having fight rather than the this-is-how-to-make-the-world-better-for-everyone fight. Fighting for marriage is like fighting over yesterday's left-overs rather than coming up with something new and better. Even as g a y s fight for the right to marry, there is still so much to do. They can't even pass a federal non-discrimination bill, much less make the streets safe for transgender kids who are being murdered in their own neighborhoods. So much energy is being expended on marriage that g a y people might not have the resources to fight for other issues in the future, both near and far. It is tempting for social movements to become consumed by their own obsessions. The early women's movement focused entirely, fetishistically, on suffrage for nearly 70 years. When that battle was finally won, the movement nearly died and -- despite so much more to be accomplished -- did almost nothing until the late 1960s. Could this happen to the g a y-rights movement? Only time will tell, but I do know that a movement only moves forward when it is filled with healthy debate and dissent, when it has visions of the future, and when it acknowledges its past.

                      I find the frenzy around marriage organizing exciting but depressing. I would never have imagined that a movement that started out in the bars, the streets, and in public cruising places could have come this far. The g a y-liberation movement had a vision of radical change and making the world a better place. Securing the right to marry will make the world a better place, but it will not change the world. ****, it doesn't even change marriage. In the end, it is such a small gain for such a big fight. In 1969, g a y s didn't just want -- as they said then -- a piece of the pie they had been denied for so long. They wanted to take over the bakery and produce a huge array of tasty, extravagant, nutritious, luscious, and inviting food-stuffs for q u e e r s and everyone else. I don't think they ever imagined that their movement would one day be happy to settle for such small crumbs, no matter how sweet.

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