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  • « Lowering standards for both HRCs | Main | A bit of blog maintenance »

    June 18, 2008

    Marrying with your foot in your mouth

    Posted by: Andoni

    I nearly died last night watching mainstream TV coverage of the first same-sex marriages in California. On the NBC Nightly News, they featured the above report on a couple from Houston who went to California to get married. During the interview, this couple said they were doing it because they could not marry in their home state of Texas.

    Then one of them added the following explanation: "There's over 1100 rights that married couples have immediately once they sign those papers."

    How embarrassing --- from coast to coast. What this couple did was convey totally incorrect information to the over 12 million viewers that night, information that made it sound like we now have all our rights through marriage in California. The fact is that even if a same sex couple marries legally in California, they will receive none (zip, zero) of those 1100 rights that couple misled the nation into believing they had.

    It's hard to believe that this couple was so uneducated to say what they said on national TV. They performed a tremendous disservice to the community. And it was sad to see NBC not catch this error.

    Just imagine if the couple had done their homework and said, "Yes, we are getting married, but alas, because of the Defense of Marriage Act, we will receive none of the 1100 federal rights and benefits that an opposite sex couple gets the minute they sign the papers. Things just aren't equal yet!"

    What an opportunity lost.

    So, if you go to California to marry and someone puts a camera in your face, please say something smart to help the cause.

    Thanks.

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    Comments

    1. Hawyer on Jun 18, 2008 6:16:44 PM:

      Alas - we homos (like hets) come in all stages of mental development.


      HOWEVER - the correspondent (Chris Jansen?) did reiterate at the end of the piece that many would be returning to states that DID NOT recognize California marriage.


      AND - I still find it galling that mainstream news finds it necessary to insert the inevitable caterwauling opponents to every fucking gay-related piece - however ignorant and inflammatory. Wouldn't it be nice to see a positive gay-related piece without the obligatory discriminatory point of view tossed in.

    1. Joel on Jun 18, 2008 6:23:23 PM:

      I don't think this is hard to believe. At least these guys knew something about the "over 1100 rights." I wish their misinformation/misconceptions were less prevalent, but most people, including politcally aware gays, don't realize that there are differences between state and federal rights. As someone in a binational relationship who would love to sponsor his partner for a green card, I think that correcting these misconceptions is a big priority. We keep talking about how messed up the right wing is and about getting more people comfortable with gays in mainstream society, but we haven't even bothered to make sure that gays and the people who already support the idea of gay rights understand what the issues are.

    1. Charlie on Jun 18, 2008 10:00:56 PM:

      It's amazing how many [gay] friends I've had to educate on the implications of DOMA. But before I go passing judgment, I should add that I actually didn't really know what it meant, or how it might affect me, until suddenly marriage in my state (CA) became a reality. I also have a partner from another country, so my immediate thought was, "Can I sponsor him now?" Of course, disappointingly, the answer is no, and remains no until DOMA is hopefully one day repealed.

      For most gay americans, where marriage has not been a possibility at all, DOMA was really not important... like looking for your car keys when you don't have a car. But now that it DOES mean something, education has become important... or else nothing will ever change.

    1. Charles J. Mueller on Jun 20, 2008 1:03:11 AM:

      Like you, Charlie, I didn't have a clue either about any of the issues connected with marriage equality until I met my Philippine partner 5 and a half years ago.

      If I didn't already know what discrimination felt like before that event, I really had an epiphany when I my partner and I became one of those some 32,000 couples involved in multi-national relationships. Boy, what an eye-opener that was!

      Marriage equality has become such a central focus in my life, that I fear I may have turned-off many of my gay friends who simple cannot fathom what it feels like to love someone and be denied the simple pleasure and right to be with that special person. And, until it happens to them, like it did to me, they will never get it.

    1. Charles J. Mueller on Jun 20, 2008 1:04:57 AM:

      Like you, Charlie, I didn't have a clue either about any of the issues connected with marriage equality until I met my Philippine partner 5 and a half years ago.

      If I didn't already know what discrimination felt like before that event, I really had an epiphany when I my partner and I became one of those some 32,000 couples involved in multi-national relationships. Boy, what an eye-opener that was!

      Marriage equality has become such a central focus in my life, that I fear I may have turned-off many of my gay friends who simple cannot fathom what it feels like to love someone and be denied the simple pleasure and right to be with that special person. And, until it happens to them, like it did to me, they will never get it.

    1. Andoni on Jun 20, 2008 7:12:10 AM:

      Charlie, like you, I have a foreign partner so I am very aware of the rights and benefits that DON'T come with same sex marriage.

      Just the other night (Tues.), Jon Stewart (of all people, he should be better educated) did a skit where they sent their correspondent John Oliver to CA to cover the same sex marriages. During the report he announces that he too got married there to a guy simply because he (who is British) was having "visa problems" and needed to become a US citizen. I wish!!!

      So the public is very very uneducated on our issue -- even smart Jon Stewart. We have a lot of work to do.

      I'm traveling so I can't blog on this other than a comment, but Chris may do so.

    1. The Gay Species on Jun 20, 2008 11:40:00 AM:

      I certainly did not find them making that representation.

      Even SSM in California begets NO federal benefits, but a community property encumbrance as an endowment.

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