Gay marriage legal from today in Hungary, but gap in rights persists
"These life partnerships will be guaranteed the same tax, employment, social and immigration benefits as heterosexual marriages. Gay couples will be barred from adopting children and taking their spouse's name, however."
It's great that Hungary wants to give queer couples some rights. Absolutely fantastic! But obviously, it's not fixing everything that is wrong with how the Hungarian government views queers. This is also the case in other places around the world that have marriage equality.
I have actually heard more than one queer advance the argument that marriage equality will fix everything. Let's discuss this viewpoint.
FACT: Marriage is not the end-all, be-all, magic cure for inequality. QUESTION: Why isn't that more obvious to people? (</Dwight Schrute>)
Even if marriage were to grant life partners all the rights they deserve, that would still mean you'd have to get married to gain those rights. Not everyone wants to make that legal commitment. Not everyone has a partner with whom they can do so.
Some say that marriage will show our culture that giving queer life partners these rights will show that the world won't collapse, etc. when teh gheys can get their gheymarriage. Then, the state will take action and grant all queers these rights regardless of marriage status.
That's not okay. No one should have to wait to get equal rights. It's not fair to give some queers rights while others sit back and wait.
For these reasons, it is not useful for us to focus on marriage equality as our sole cause.
This is also an opportune time to talk about the language surrounding marriage equality. I know I've talked about this before, but we need to go over it again.
Even if legal recognition of the commitment of same-sex partners were the magic Band-Aid that could fix everything, we would still need it to be called "marriage" and not "civil union" or "domestic partnership" or "lol fake queer 'marriage' that we will pretend is the same" to have the union be FULLY equal to a marriage between "a man and a woman." This necessity applies no matter where we live. Let's review summaries of the reasons why the language must be so:
- The term "marriage" is essential for the portability of the partnership under state, provincial, and international laws. The union will not be recognized unless the government of the locality has written recognition of other states' "civil unions," "domestic partnerships," etc. into law.
- It is necessary to call it "marriage" so that the couple may end the union if they wish. The only way to dissolve a civil union is to be a resident of a state that allows partners to end the civil union. To do so, however, at least one partner must be a resident in that state for a certain length of time. Since there are so few states that recognize civil unions, this is especially tricky to do.
- If DOMA is ever repealed, we'll need "marriage" to get the rights afforded to "heterosexual" marriages.
- We need the term "marriage" to clarify our status as single or married on a slew of paperwork and forms.
- Finally, in terms of linguistic equality, we deserve that word! Language shapes our cultural values and we will always be unequal when we are not linguistically equal.
So yeah, to all queers that don't care about the word as long as we "have" our "rights," to fickle government representatives that care about perceived votes more than they care about justice, and to frightened voters who are ignorant of facts by accident or by choice: what you call it DOES matter.
See this for more.