So goes the nation

            You know which state gets a bad rap?  I mean, other than South Dakota.


           All us people to the east and the west carry on as though Rembrandt was a New Yorker and Shakespeare lived in L.A.  We act as though the vast majority of Americans exist just to keep NASCAR in business, because really only the Northeast and the West Coast have any hope of social progress.

           Now, I’ve never been to Iowa, but I’ve seen Field of Dreams, so clearly I am an expert.  And I’m here to tell you that in some ways, Iowa has it all over California.  In no particular order: they have better snowmen, a lower cost of living, and a governor who was not the Terminator.

          And as of today, they treat all couples equally.  Let’s hope Iowa’s voters show they have more class than California’s in the years to come.

25 responses to “So goes the nation

  1. It’s a good start.

  2. “I’ve seen Field of Dreams, so clearly I am an expert.” That made me giggle.

    And YES! Who would’ve thought Iowa would take the lead here?

  3. I was delighted to hear the news about Iowa. I hope many other states follow suit shortly.

  4. Yes, let’s hope. We’re counting on you, Iowa.

  5. Awesome!

    Until now, the only other thing that came to my mind when I heard the word “Iowa” (the first thing, of course, being corn..) was a certain prestigious MFA writing program. It’s nice to see this news.

  6. progressive, Iowa. that’s cool. especially in light of the news story i just read about homosexual men being killed in Baghdad.

  7. I’m live in L.A. the land of the hypocrites. Go Iowa!!!!

  8. it is awesome, isn’t it?

  9. Yep, the midwest is more than it’s cracked up to be. Iowa has good sweet corn and happening cities.

  10. Hi, Emily dear! It was nice to see you stop by my blog. And, if we weren’t both already married, you’d be doubly glad I quit smoking!

    I’ve been to Iowa. You would not believe how big the cornfields are! They go on forever. And the roads make nice big squares. Not too much topography for someone who has grown up with hills and valleys…

    But, with you I celebrate the Iowa supreme court’s decision. Not because I lust for people of my own sex, but because I know a lot of people who do, and they deserve a chance to live a fulfilled life. “Married life” for them is probably just about like it is for us.

    Sorry about your book. There’s a time for everything.

    And, while I’m involved with you (dream on, Lifehiker), let me point you to something you may enjoy: If you choose to read it, persevere to the end . It’s worth it.

    Bye now.

  11. It’s a nursery rhyme. I read the Original Mother Goose to my son. Some are more shocking as an adult than I remembered as a child.

    To market, to market to buy a fat pig;
    Home again, home again, jiggety-jig.
    To market, to market, to buy a fat hog;
    Home again, home again, jiggety-jog.

    To market, to market, to buy a plum cake;
    Home again, home again, market is late.
    To market, to market, to buy a plum bun;
    Home again, home again, market is done.

    To market, to market, a gallop a trot,
    To buy some meat to put in the pot;
    Three pence a quarter, a groat a side,
    If it hadn’t been killed it must have died

  12. I spent a happy half hour on Friday talking about this with colleagues. Of course, five minutes of that was one person repeating IOWA?? with varying numbers of exclamation marks.

    Right California – now that Iowa has made you look like complete luddites don’t you think it’s more than time for a repeal?

  13. Oy vey. So the people who have a thoughtful, intelligent disagreement with SSM are classless (or “luddites”)?? And here I thought liberals were tolerant. It may be easier to think of us as idiots, but with some conversation and a little open-mindedness, I think you’ll be surprised to learn that it’s just not so.
    And yeah. Iowa??

  14. i do not think of people who oppose same sex marriage as “idiots,” but i do think that it is an issue of equality, and it is not classy to deny people that.

  15. Who gets to decide what’s “classy”? Surely it’s something dependent upon personal interpretation.

    So let’s get to work and get laws changed to allow people to marry their sisters, four other people, or their parakeets. Since it’s all about equality, after all. Don’t want to leave anyone out!

    My less-than-classy point is that once you redefine something, where does it stop? We have no plausible deniability when the guy who wants to marry his German Shepherd takes it to court. “It’s an issue of equality!”, he shouts. And he’s got a point.

  16. A german shepherd is not a consenting adult. Nor is a parakeet. Nor do those animals get equal rights to humans in our society. That is plausible deniability.

    As to marrying one’s sister: as Foucault argues, the incest taboo comes from a desire to deny sexuality within the family. This is because families are supposed to be systems of alliance and productions, and to bring sexuality into them denies the control of the state over the family. Now, personally, my sister doesn’t even talk to me, but the point is that our strict definition of family stems from the original purpose of marriage, which was to create alliances between families and to create units of production. To marry one’s sister is to proclaim the family isolated from the rest of the economy and would be offensive in much the same way Olivia’s refusal to marry in *Twelfth Night* was offensive. Her kind of sexual “deviance” was unacceptable in Shakespeare’s day because it denied that sexuality was a commodity of exchange. Nowadays, people are offended by the idea that marriage could be simply a business transaction, but then people were offended by otherwise. So, the definition of marriage continually changes, including this new-fangled “love match” stuff. Presumably, the definition of marriage will continue to change to reflect the values of society.

    So, the question becomes: what are the values of this society? Do we consider all people equal? Do we consider marriage within the family to be an exception to that equality? I think we do because the rights of close relation already exist between siblings and because there are issues of coercion once sexuality between siblings becomes acceptable.

    Anyone else want to chime in here?

    As to what’s classy, don’t ask me. Someone accused me of dressing like a Hasid yesterday, which would be all well and good if I were Hasidic.

  17. Louisiana is now 50/50 for just about every health outcome one can measure. We rely on the reputations of places like Iowa, Arkansas, and Mississippi to keep us respectable… Iowa is pulling out the awesomeness now. Louisiana might be forced to education children or provide it’s citizens potable water to compete!

  18. Get out! Go Iowa. DIdn’t Napolean Dynamite come from Iowa?

  19. Hey Emily. Thanks for bearing with me. 🙂

    “So, the definition of marriage continually changes, including this new-fangled “love match” stuff. Presumably, the definition of marriage will continue to change to reflect the values of society.”

    Which subverts all of your argument to this point. If marriage is, as you argue, malleable and changeable according to the whims of “society”, then we have only to wait for a few years before Mr. German Shepherd, or Mr. Incest, approach the Supreme Court, demanding equality.

    “So, the question becomes: what are the values of this society? Do we consider all people equal? Do we consider marriage within the family to be an exception to that equality? I think we do because the rights of close relation already exist between siblings and because there are issues of coercion once sexuality between siblings becomes acceptable.”

    I agree that our ultimate question is your first one, but I’d take it further: what happens when the “society” can’t agree what’s acceptable, as you and I don’t? If our points of view are equally valid, then who is to decide? Society decided with Prop 8, but that’s not enough for you or many people.

    And further: is something right because “society” says so? A majority of Germans were in favor of the 3rd Reich. Does that make it morally unobjectionable?

    I’m not sure what you mean by coercion in the incest case. Why does a brother or sister have more power over their sibling than someone outside the family? I also notice you don’t address my point about polygamy. They’re all consenting adults, and there are no “rights of close relation”. Is there any plausible deniability in this case? Especially with the Muslim population, and in light of the YFZ Ranch controversy, it seems especially applicable.

    Interesting conversation!

  20. I did not say it is subject to the whims of society. I said it reflects societal values. Presumably, when german shepherds and parakeets vote, pay taxes, and have property rights (without relying on humans to manage said property), we will also allow them to marry humans, provided they can find a way to tell us that’s what they want to do. I think we’re probably more than a few years away from that.

    As to siblings, in our current society, there are very few cases of incest that are not some form of sexual abuse. Again, when that changes, we can revisit the issue of siblings getting married.

    Frankly, incest and bestiality are red herrings and it is sort of offensive to compare homosexuals to animals and molesters. There is a significant difference between my relationship with my sibling or my pet and my relationship with my spouse, but there is absolutely no difference between my relationship with my husband and my friend I’s relationship with his husband (except that they argue less).

    However, polygamy is a different situation. I am not so sure I oppose polygamy, provided it is not patriarchal or coercive. In our current society, all manifestations are men with multiple wives and many include marrying girls off at a young age. Those are the offensive parts. If you could remove the gender inequality and child abuse parts of it, I’d have very little to say against it, although I would wonder why in the world any woman would want more than one husband. They are NOT all consenting adults in many of the polygamous sects, and that is the issue. As to other cultures where polygamy is common, my concern is for the patriarchal aspects that serve to oppress women.

    As to whether society is right, I never said that either. I said that marriage reflects societal values. If we deny marriage to homosexuals, we are saying that our society considers them unworthy of certain rights. And, in that case, I think society is very wrong. So, I argue for same sex marriage in hopes that our society doesn’t really feel that way.

  21. It reflects SOME of society’s values. Certainly not mine, and not, if the referendum process is to be trusted, the values of many Californians. That doesn’t answer my question as to who is right.

    Are voting, paying taxes, and owning property the qualifications for marriage? I don’t think this is what you want to try and defend. How many people in this country don’t do any of thoise things and still have the right to get married?

    As to your thoughts on incest, one could easily say, “How close-minded of you!” It may be the case that abuse and incest have a high correlation, but that doesn’t answer the question. My question, again: what happens when there ISN’T any abuse at all, but two consenting adults?

    Even if incest or bestiality are offensive to you, why should that matter? Homosexuality is deeply offensive to me, but do we make laws based on what is offensive, or what is right?

    As to polygamy, your statements are based on what YOU prefer. You prefer that marriage not involve coercion, but it happens every day. So you’re for the US government allowing polygamous marriage, as long as- what? They can prove they’re not being coerced? Do we have to prove that in hetero marriages? I think not.

    “If we deny marriage to homosexuals, we are saying that our society considers them unworthy of certain rights”- not at all. We’re saying that they don’t fit the definition of “marriage”, which is, and has been, between a man and a woman. Domestic partners? I’m all for it.

    I’m glad you think society is wrong. I do too. The challenge is balancing these opposing views in a pluralistic and relativistic world.


  22. Wait a minute. I thought the whole argument is that it is not about homosexuality being offensive, but simply about defending marriage. But, you say you find homosexuality offensive, which makes it hard to buy the argument that your view is not homophobic.

    I will freely admit I am sexism-phobic, coercian-phobic, and child abuse-phobic and that my views on polygamy and incest are based on those bigotries.

    Not all married people pay taxes, but no dogs do. They simply do not have the same rights or responsibilities as humans, and again, I think this is a red herring to distract from the point you made, that you find homosexuality offensive.

  23. E- My point about offensiveness was that, in legislation, it doesn’t matter what’s *offensive*, it matters what is *right and wrong*. It doesn’t matter if I find homosexuality offensive or not (nor, by extension, do your bigotries against incest or polygamy have any bearing), because laws are NOT made to deal with what may or may not be offensive to certain people.

    As an illustration, imagine that I were to decide that all people with the name Emily who live in California are personally offensive to me (which they’re not- I think you’re great), and I try to enact a law that they should be barred from existence. Who cares??? What is offensive to me or to you has no bearing on attempting to decide what is RIGHT and WRONG.

    My argument has never been that homosexuality is offensive and therefore, it should be banned. That was YOUR argument against incest, polygamy, and bestiality. Which, of course, are simply other, disenfranchised, sexual behaviors. You say “they simply do not have the same rights or responsibilities as humans”- and I agree, but my point is, of course, that neither do SSM currently. Disenfranchised people rarely do. *Legislation* is constantly changing to deal with marginalized groups.

    My point through all of this has been that if we begin to legislate sexual preferences, we will (in the not too distant future) have to deal with these other forms of sexual expression. And whether or not you care to, you will have to see your tax dollars going to support Mr. and Mrs. German Shepherd. Your kids will be educated in(and perhaps go and witness) the tender marriage of a brother and sister. Or perhaps you’ll sit in the park and picnic with Mr. and his four Mrss. Offensive? Perhaps. But who are WE to take away rights, after all?

  24. amen.

    i’ve missed reading you, sister. missed your words. nice to be here again.