To the people of North Carolina,
As you know, you have recently declared that marriage is to be defined by law as being “between a man and a woman.” I would like to pretend for a moment that I am fine with that. I would further like to suspend my previous arguments on the matter, (namely those outlined in a letter from 2010 to former congressman and senatorial candidate JD Hayworth), and ask wholeheartedly several questions on behalf of an often forgotten sector of the population. The language in the recent, voter approved amendment to your State’s constitution is as follows:
“Marriage between one man and one woman is the only domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized in this State. This section does not prohibit a private party from entering into contracts with another private party; nor does this section prohibit courts from adjudicating the rights of private parties pursuant to such contracts.”
It is a cleaner, more to the point, version of the language in the constitution of the State in which I was born, Alabama, which may very well be the wordiest of all such provisions/amendments, and reads as thus:
Alabama Const. Art. I, Sec. 36.03
“(a) This amendment shall be known and may be cited as the Sanctity of Marriage Amendment.
(b) Marriage is inherently a unique relationship between a man and a woman. As a matter of public policy, this state has a special interest in encouraging, supporting, and protecting this unique relationship in order to promote, among other goals, the stability and welfare of society and its children. A marriage contracted between individuals of the same sex is invalid in this state.
(c) Marriage is a sacred covenant, solemnized between a man and a woman, which, when the legal capacity and consent of both parties is present, establishes their relationship as husband and wife, and which is recognized by the state as a civil contract.
(d) No marriage license shall be issued in the State of Alabama to parties of the same sex.
(e) The State of Alabama shall not recognize as valid any marriage of parties of the same sex that occurred or was alleged to have occurred as a result of the law of any jurisdiction regardless of whether a marriage license was issued.
(f) The State of Alabama shall not recognize as valid any common law marriage of parties of the same sex.
(g) A union replicating marriage of or between persons of the same sex in the State of Alabama or in any other jurisdiction shall be considered and treated in all respects as having no legal force or effect in this state and shall not be”
As I read through the numerous statutes from the other States, the key language only varies slightly; “one man and one woman,” may be phrased “a man and a woman” or “a male and a female,” or “one male and one female,” etc. The gender specification is clearly targeted at the medical declaration of the individual sexes, and not at any perceived societal interpretation of what constitutes a “man” or a “woman.” It is, to put it bluntly, about having only one penis and one vagina in the marriage. The persons and personalities involved are of no concern; neither is sexual orientation. There is nothing, for example, in any of these provisions that keeps a homosexual woman from marrying a homosexual man. Even if they never consummate the marriage, they are equally as married as a heterosexual man and a heterosexual woman. Similarly a bi-sexual man or woman may legally marry another bi-sexual man or woman as long as only one of the two has a penis. So again, sexual orientation of the individual is of no concern. The only legal concern is that there is one penis and one vagina; one male and one female… one innie and one outie.
So what, I ask, of the hermaphrodite?
If a hermaphrodite within one of these states wishes to marry another hermaphrodite, is that marriage to be viewed as doubly same-sex or doubly opposite-sex? Furthermore, if a hermaphrodite lived his/her life as a man and wished to marry a woman does his/her’s presentation as a male overrule his/her’s possession of a vagina? Is that marriage more “opposite” than “same?”
Or, if a hermaphrodite living his/her’s life as a woman wishes to marry another woman, does the presence of a penis nullify any claims against their union? Or does the presence of an extra vagina qualify it as same-sex? Or is the whole thing illegal because there isn’t an even amount of sexual reproductive parts? Which brings me back to the two hermaphrodites wishing to marry each other: If they both live their lives as men, but both posses vaginas, is the presence of the vagina of one enough to counter the penis of the other?
And if all these extra parts are some how deemed “same-sex” qualifiers for you, then what of women born with uterus didelphys, a condition that leaves them with two vaginas? If a woman with uterus didelphys wishes to marry a man of no special genital classification, is there marriage, too, not valid because there are too many sexual reproductive organs for one civil contract? What if she promised to wear an eye-patch over one of them at all times?
Listen, I realize this is a lot of talk about peoples’ naughty-bits, but in terms of gender classification what else is there? I suppose we could venture into the realm of a pseudohermaphrodite (from Dictionary.com: “an individual having internal reproductive organs of one sex and external sexual characteristics resembling those of the other sex or being ambiguous in nature”), but that deals without appearance and not necessarily the biological gender of the person. And let’s be honest, if we start qualifying gender roles in marriages by outward appearance we are going to end up nullifying the marriages of over half the NASCAR viewing populace. I will, however, ask the question anyway: If someone medically classified as a pseudohermaphrodite has female reproductive organs but posses all outward characteristics of a male (facial hair, bone structure, etc.) and “she,” having lived her life as a male, wishes to marry a woman, is that a same-sex marriage? By your standards, yes. However if that very same person medically classified as a pseudohermaphrodite, having female reproductive organs, but possessing all outward characteristics of a male (facial hair, bone structure, etc), and “she,” having lived her life as a male wishes to marry a man, that would in fact NOT be classified as a same-sex marriage; even though at the wedding you would have two grooms.
But why stop there with the hypotheticals: If a man born in the state of North Carolina deems himself a woman trapped in a man’s body and seeks out augmentation surgery to alter his appearance and genitalia to make him a woman, and having done so then wishes to marry a man, do you honor the surgical and legal changes to the man’s identity and allow this marriage? Or do you revert to the original birth certificate? If it is the latter, then you are ignoring the very standard of acceptable count and type of genitalia you put into law when requiring one penis and one vagina.
I am not even attempting, as I stated in the forwarding paragraph, to enter into any sanctity of marriage or religious value-related lines of questioning. The characteristic of sexual orientation was found a non-issue above by the legal example of a homosexual male marrying a homosexual female. Thusly, I am led to believe by the declaration in all laws on the matter that the concern is of gender, and thereby of genitalia; namely in that the law requires only one person with a penis and one person with a vagina to be legal candidates for marriage. Through my non-rhetorical (and yes, I would like an answer to each) questioning above regarding the hypothetical pairings of persons of different genital configurations, the law seems to immediately exclude a portion of the population unable to qualify for the genital type and count required for eligibility.
And for those that would dismiss these questions in favor of a blanketed “there is more to marriage than just the count and type of each person’s naughty-bits,” I kindly ask you to review the law; for the law in each of these states, despite some with flowery wording about securing the institution of blah-blah-blah for later generations and blah-blah-blah, has no mention of any other qualifying factors, beyond legal age and mutual consent, other than that each marriage should consist of no more than one penis and one vagina. It doesn’t matter that the penis and the vagina love each other; or that the penis is only marrying the vagina because the father of the vagina owns the company the penis works at and if he marries the vagina then he will maybe one day become partner; or that the vagina is only marrying the penis because the penis can get her out of the small town she wants so desperately to leave; or any vice versa example.
You passed a law requiring marriages to consist only of a defined, singular number of each type of sexual reproductive organ. However, there are those that – to borrow a line from Frederick Douglas – through no fault of their own, were born with a genitalia make-up outside of the realm of your narrow-minded qualifications. You have effectively told them to, “get fucked,” without even having the common decency to clarify which of their genitals they should use. (And take it from someone versed in dismissive turns of phrase, I assure you that is poor form. [Video One] [Video Two])
In reality the qualifications of legal age and mutual consent work for the betterment of all and are easily justifiable both under the law and within any objective discourse concerning moral goods; not that we see much of the latter. The qualification of a marriage consisting of only two parties is also easily justifiable in both the aforementioned contexts. (There are those that would argue in favor of polygamy, but such arguments are the rants of sadists and backed-up virgins, and we will ignore them accordingly.)
Furthermore, to justify the dismissal of these members of the populace with something a kin to, “the law is as inclusive as it can be for the greatest majority,” a stance that is itself blind to the greater good, I argue why not include language that excludes those citizens of half-Korean / half-Irish decent with one blue eye and one green eye? Such a qualification would only affect, at maximum, a very few, right? And nobody wants to see a redheaded asian looking fellow with two-toned eyes putting a ring on anything.
The fundamental problem, by the way, causing the irritation you may feel while attempting to navigate to a sensible answer to the questions I have asked above (and I do expect you to do so) is rooted in the childish way you have approached the topic. You have, possibly unintentionally, excluded a portion of the population from your attempted logic because of your own inability to acknowledge their existence, or anything about that existence. It’s no different than my friend’s 4 year old telling me I had to eat my vegetables because the seeds in them travel down to my feet and help me grow. The difference between those similar approaches to very different subject matter is that the child’s ignorance was cute, and your ignorance is willful.
If you’re not capable – in the interests of keeping the legislation from being exclusionary – to have your State’s constitution clearly define the maximum number of vaginas and penises within the context of the already agreeable “two consenting;” or have the public discourse on when a man chops of his penis and has it surgically fitted up inside him to make a vagina, whether the new vagina is the gender qualification or the penis it was made out of; or any other number of examples already presented, ad infinitum, through all possibilities; and at great cost, both in time and document real estate; you are most certainly not fit to offer a definition of any brevity.
The unfortunate fact that I wish to convey to all those that favor these attempts to continually define/redefine marriage to some degree that fits some personal, provincial, or Papal fancy is this:
Two adults of legal age mutually consenting, is as deep a qualification as egalitarianism allows; anything more specific is just an excuse to start talking about people’s naughty bits, which I suspect to be your secret want all along.
You’re welcome, and I look forward to your reply.