Saturday, March 22, 2014

Joy Division

Bad news. Vernita Gray died on Tuesday March 18, 2014 in her home in Chicago after succumbing to cancer. Ms. Gray made national headlines late last November when she married Pat Ewert becoming the first couple to get gay married in Illinois, even though marriage equality was to be promulgated on June 1, 2014.

In an article by Carla K. Johnson for ABC News, the circumstances are explained:

Gray's failing health and her wish to marry persuaded a federal judge to order that an expedited marriage license be granted to the couple ahead of the June 1 effective date of the state's gay marriage law. A subsequent judge's ruling then paved the way for more same-sex couples to marry early in some Illinois counties.

Gray worked for gay rights for decades, advocating for same-sex marriage long before many other activists saw it as a possibility, Bennett said. To win over conservatives, she made the case that her Social Security survivor benefits should go to her partner, and her knack for working with people across the political spectrum "made everyone feel that they had a unique contribution to move us forward," Bennett said.

A former restaurant owner, Gray worked for the Cook County state's attorney's office for 18 years, assisting crime victims and witnesses. 

An important piece to the marriage debate that never seems to be answered is "What is marriage?" A few miles north of Chicago, the State of Wisconsin defines it through Wis. Stat. § 765.01.:

Marriage, so far as its validity at law is concerned, is a civil contract, to which the consent of the parties capable in law of contracting is essential, and which creates the legal status of husband and wife.

Marriage is a contract.

Like all contracts, the purpose of marriage is to end disputes. When two people cannot agree about anything else (the sky is blue; NO it’s azure!) they must agree to predetermined terms and conditions as prescribed by state statute.

When life is going well, there is no real need for marriage. It doesn’t take the state to determine who takes the trash out on Tuesday or who cooks dinner on Wednesday. It’s not a document that means forever and ever puppy dog love. If you want one of those, go buy a box of crayons and doodle on a piece of printer paper, then send it off to your preferred spiritual leader to blow smoke up your ass, since that’s not marriage.

Marriage is a contract. A contract to settle disputes over property and responsibilities.

Anyone dumb enough to say the state should be removed from the marriage business should wrap their dick in tinfoil and stick it in an electric outlet. The government is the arbiter of contracts; therefore it is necessarily needed to be involved in contracts. And as polygamy is not legal in the United States (nor is there a structural basis for it), it is necessary to have marriage license to verify the marriage as being valid.

Marriage is what happens to the house when one spouse dies. Wis. Stat. § 766.605.:

A homestead acquired after the determination date which, when acquired, is held exclusively between spouses with no 3rd party is survivorship marital property if no intent to the contrary is expressed on the instrument of transfer or in a marital property agreement. A homestead may be reclassified under s. 766.31 (10).

Marriage is what happens when the husband kidnaps the children and flees across state lines. Wis. Stat. § 767.105(3)(a).:

Except as provided in par. (b), a party who violates any provision of sub. (1) may be proceeded against under ch. 785 for contempt of court.

Marriage is what happens when a wife’s sole proprietorship collapses into debt. Wis. Stat. § 766.55.:

(1)   An obligation incurred by a spouse during marriage, including one attributable to an act or omission during marriage, is presumed to be incurred in the interest of the marriage or the family. A statement separately signed by the obligated or incurring spouse at or before the time the obligation is incurred stating that the obligation is or will be incurred in the interest of the marriage or the family is conclusive evidence that the obligation to which the statement refers is an obligation in the interest of the marriage or family, except that the existence of that statement does not affect any interspousal right or remedy.

(2)(a) An obligation incurred by a spouse in the interest of the marriage or the family may be satisfied only from all marital property and all other property of the incurring spouse.

Taking the state out of marriage removes widows out of deceased spouses’ homes. It makes dividing property in divorce even more unbearable. It takes away a creditors ability to collect on debts.

Gays will get sick. I myself will die one day. Being a misanthrope I don’t give a shit what happens to my possessions, but I respect others to make up their minds. Gays go bankrupt. Gays get divorced and need to divide shared property.

Gays need marriage. Now.

Liam ‘14


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