Opinion » Shredder

Semantics, romantics


I have a suggestion, one I’m sure will be washed away in the sea of rhetoric still sloshing over the metaphoric spillways on the issue of same-sex marriage in California. Regardless, in I dive.

I released the intern from his cage this week just long enough to have him discover this fact for me: The sum total of change that Proposition 8 enacted is to change Article II, Section 8, of the California Constitution to read: “Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.”

That’s it. It goes into no further detail about any rights or privileges that gay couples should be allowed. (And don’t think I downplay the backwardness of the decision It’s flat out discrimination and I think we’ll look back on this vote with shame.)

But stay with me, because I’ve got an idea.

First, let’s all accept that the current situation is temporary. Gay marriage will be legalized within the next decade. Whether attitudes of current voters change or not, Proposition 8 got more support from old people, and many of them are headed to the graveyards. So this will change.

Until the mass die-off, I have a temporary work around.

I propose that gay people in California be allowed to merry. To you upstanding heteros who find it a threat to your marriage that another loving couple would marry, I say fine. We won’t let them marry. We’ll let them merry. We’ll allow gay merriage.

Let the “e” symbolize equality, and let gay people get merried,

have kids, visit each other in hospitals, inherit each others’ estates and love each other under the eyes of the law. They’ll just be merried, not married.

It’s just semantics, and not a just solution, but so what? If you listen to the rhetoric, it always was just about semantics to opponents.

Because this whole decision seems to have been about that word. When you ask folks who supported this proposition, they said they were all for domestic partnerships and civil unions and letting gay people live their lives. But somehow, to them, using that word was too much. To them, marriage was a religious act that has since been codified by law.

So let’s work around the argument and stop using that word.

Already, under California’s Family Code, the intern tells me, registered domestic partners have the same rights, protections, benefits, responsibilities, and obligations as married spouses.

What they don’t have is the dignity of a proper title, because “domestic partnership,” and “civil union” both have a distinctive bureaucratic stink to them.

Merriage, to my ears, sounds better. Someone else around here suggested taking one of the “r”s from marriage to allow gay folks to mary and get maried. (We could add the extra “r” to divorrce). We could even pronounce it differently to make the gay sort of marriage sound fancier than the hetero kind. How about “mer-AJ?”

You all sort out the details. I’m a big-idea sort of anonymous columnist.

Is this the equivalent of separate but equal? Yes, precisely.

And just as with the famous school decision, it’s a bad solution, a poor substitute for equality, and most definitely a temporary one. It would be, at best, a stepping stone in this stupid pond we seem to have to cross until we all recognize how unrighteous this codified discrimination is.

Until then, be gay. And merry.

Huasna up?!

Why, really, is Excelaron planning to start drilling for oil in Huasna Valley? Every 30 years or so, somebody goes in and tries to drill that thick crude again, and then they all give up or get run out.

So why does Excelaron think there’s big money here? It’s hard to figure, but there are ways to make money in the oil business without actually producing any oil.

I don’t much care if they tap old wells or not, but you can’t look at the pictures of that creaky bridge and the tiny road that the oil trucks would have to run through without thinking it might be a bad idea.


Do this

Remember Irish Abe? He’s the semi-pro fighter and former security guard for the Morro Bay medical marijuana dispensary. He got arrested for allegedly selling some on the side, but the D.A.’s office screwed up his case. They offered him a deal, and then after he took it, they revoked it, saying they had him confused with somebody else. He was on our cover a few months back. The feds tried to use his arrest to buttress their case when they convicted Charles Lynch, the rule-following, straight-laced, soft-spoken dispensary owner, of selling illegal drugs when he filled prescriptions for medicine the state of California says is legal. So, you do know Irish Abe. Anyway, turns out Abe can dance. Go to YouTube. Type in “Irish Abe.”


Now this

Lynch, of Arroyo Grande, is heading back to court soon to ask for a retrial. It will happen just about a week before he’s due to be sentenced. They just had a rally for him down in Los Angeles.

I wonder if some well-written letters to our future president Barack Obama might not help alert the feds to a coming injustice. Obama has telegraphed that he won’t be wasting federal resources to shut down and criminalize state-sanctioned dispensaries, but he might not be aware that folks like Lynch could get lost in the transition. Might not work, but it’s worth a try. Can somebody get our intern on that?

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