Gay Marriage in New York

I’ve been following the debate about civil unions across the pond with interest and bemusement. America was founded on the noble principle that all men are born equal (although, at the time this sentiment didn’t extend to slaves or women). The States is not called the Land of the Free for nothing. Last month New York State legalised same sex marriage, the most populous state ever to have done so. New York has now joined a small select group that includes Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Vermont, as well as the District of Columbia. Because it’s New York, New York where Lady Liberty shines her torch the event has been widely reported across the globe. It’s even hit the media here in Turkey.

I assume I’m correct in thinking that a same sex union registered in New York has no legal standing in those states that do not recognise such relationships or have positively banned them. So it’s okay to be a child African bride, a forced Pakistani bride or a polygamous Arab but it’s not okay for two consenting adult Americans to decide who their significant other should be. What a strange situation. There will always be people who object to same sex relationships on moral or religious grounds. They are entitled to their views but are not entitled to force them on others. The wish of some to form a romantic bond with a member of the same sex is a personal issue. The legal recognition of it does not lead to anarchy and Armageddon.

What of my homeland? Civil partnerships were introduced in United Kingdom in 2004 which give same-sex couples rights and responsibilities identical to civil marriage. New Labour may well have put the country in hock for the next century but they did deliver a radical and comprehensive equal rights agenda. This was truly historic and I believe history will judge it so. About time too. I had become thoroughly fed up with a society that expected me to pay all my dues in return for second class citizenship and semi-rights. Liam and I married in 2008.

What of my fosterland? Homosexuality is not mentioned in the Turkish legal code and so gay people live in a kind of legal limbo neither protected nor persecuted, officially anyway. The Turkish Government has made it abundantly clear that it has no intention of introducing equal rights for lesbian and gay Turks. I have to add, our obvious union has never received a bad vibe from the Turks around us. If anything the reverse has been true. As infidels we’re Hell-bound anyway so it matters little what we do.

America is not perfect, no country is, but it is a beacon of freedom and hope for people from less blessed lands. Some people are gay. It’s just the way it is.

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28 thoughts on “Gay Marriage in New York

  1. I currently live in NY so of course I’ve been following the news too. Although the progress is slow, but at least the public opinion poll shows that in 2011, more than 50% of Americans believe in equal rights for marriage. That’s a reverse from all of the polls in earlier years, and that’s a good thing.
    What about gay people in my homeland, Indonesia? I guess most of them too, are living in a kind of legal limbo… Unless if they are living in Aceh, a province that also applies Sharia law where gay people can be persecuted.

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    1. This is terrible. They are many primitive parts of the world that apply harsh treatment towards gay people (including execution) and not all of them are Moslem. My advice to someone in Aceh is to get out as fast as you can, if you can (and I know many people can’t).

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  2. Actually, there is a hidden problem. One that the proponents of gay marriage failed to consider.
    Now that marriage is allowed, many corporations will no longer provide health care for domestic partnerships. No marriage, no health care. Otherwise, they are discriminating against heterosexual domestic partnerships (which were made illegal in Virginia, for example, so that no domestic partnerships [formerly called common law marriage] would be tolerated.)

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    1. Health care isn’t an issue I’ve considered as health services in the UK are free to all at point of delivery. However, common law relationships don’t have a legal status in Britain either (though many co-habiting couples don’t realise it) so this can throw up problems in relation to legal next of kin, inheritance, pensions, tenancy rights, etc (though not rights and responsibilities towards children as separate laws apply). The point must be an even playing field for all. If the state extends benefits to marriage (or other terms akin to marriage) then it should do for so everyone regardless of their sexuality. Before 2004 straight people could access these benefits by getting married. Gay people could not. The British Civil Partnership Act addressed this. It’s an equalities thing.

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  3. I am no expert on same sex marriage but what I have noticed with my peers is that when they have entered this type of union it is exactly like hetrosexual unions (should I have been surprised?). God bless America for at least trying but I do hope they will also adjust the law so that when one partner passes away the other will be treated the same as regards pension rights etc. You write great articals thank you for these they are always a great read.

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    1. Unfortunately the battle’s far from won in the US. Many states have constitutionally banned same sex unions. I have to say, though, the tide seems to be turning so let’s keep our fingers crossed!

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  4. Well Jack what more could someone say about this matter, apart from those that object to it on religious grounds of course. But even then do they really matter and do we really care.
    My partner and i we`re joined at the hip in 2006 because we chose to, unlike the many women that you mention that dont have that option.

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  5. I must say I was a little surprised that New York only legalised same sex marriages a month ago. As for this happening in Turkey or any muslim state for that matter …….. well…….. “……. let’s not encourage homosexuality by allowing them to marry ……” Afterall as we all know (hmmmm) giving free contraceptives to young teenagers ONLY encourages them to have sex!!! OH DEAR ;o(

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    1. My sentiments exactly. I’m afraid the trouble with all these kinds of social issues is the power and control exercised by the religious establishment (be it Christian, Moslem, Jewish, whatever). It is not possible to have a sensible conversation because most only want to preach not listen.

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  6. About time too and keep up the good work Jack. One day it will be acceptable everywhere but probably not in my lifetime. Falling in love and commiting to one person is a blessing, the tools used to consummate the commitment should just be irrelevant. Yes world some people are gay get over it!

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  7. My partner and İ got married in Connecticut in 2010, after being together for 34 years. It was one of the most special and emotional experience in my life.

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    1. People get less for murder. Only joking. You are both living proof that gay people can sustain a relationship beyond the first date. Congratulations on your marriage. It’s a marvelous thing. Ours was also emotional. I could hardly stop sobbing. Silly old queen I heard them cry from the back! Best wishes.

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  8. Homosexuality has existed since time began, so it makes you wonder why it has taken so long for it to be recognised and accepted in so many countries ….or in the case of our adopted country…just brushed under the carpet in the hope it will go away.

    Keep up the good work with your blog Jack.

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      1. Maybe it has Jack…one of the reasons I am not religious…far too much hypocrisy for my liking…but that’s another subject for another day….

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  9. I just felt in my water jack that this might one of you`re more popular blog posts. When it comes to people rights as human beings im so pleased that this blog about gay marriage is being spoken about with such positve messages.

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  10. Amazing isn’t it, that every patriotic American will happily belt out the Star Spangled Banner and sing proudly of “…the land of the free and the home of the brave”, tears welling behind every Yankee eyelid. And yet when it comes to the freedom of brave same sex couples to see the “dawn’s early light” the freedom and bravery disappear behind the small mindedness of the middle American majority. Don’t get me wrong, not a single one of my own American friends would think twice about the logic of equality for same sex relationships, but the fact that only 6 states are prepared to recognise their legitimacy speaks volumes for the rest.

    Don’t even get me started on what’s happening in Ghana http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-14250170.

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    1. Don’t take a holiday in Ghana. There will always be evil people who terrorise others because they are different. History is littered with examples and it seems we are incapable of learning from them. How depressing.

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  11. Have you heard about the Pink Slip here in Turkey Jack? Apparently given by the army when they want to kick gays out who are doing the compulsive army service. I would love to find out more about it to write a post on it however people seem to never want to discuss it. What have you heard about it?

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    1. I have heard of it but not sure how it works exactly. I know of one young gay Turk who declared his sexuality at the outset and was exempt from service and another who lives permanently in the UK to avoid it. We’ve also met a couple of people who paid to have their time significantly reduced. Most people who can’t/won’t come out just have to grin and bear it. The rich get out of most of it anyway whether they’re gay or not.

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