If you’re in Tennessee, you’ve no doubt heard about Proposition 1, but maybe you don’t know what the amendment entails, or how exactly it would affect you.
Here is the text of the amendment:
The historical institution and legal contract solemnizing the relationship of one man and one woman shall be the only legally recognized marital contract in this state. Any policy or law or judicial interpretation, purporting to define marriage as anything other than the historical institution and legal contract between one man and one woman, is contrary to the public policy of this state and shall be void and unenforceable in Tennessee. If another state or foreign jurisdiction issues a license for persons to marry and if such marriage is prohibited in this state by the provisions of this section, then the marriage shall be void and unenforceable in this state.
If you are heterosexual, this amendment will not directly affect you or limit your rights in any way. However, if you are a bisexual or homosexual person living in Tennessee, this amendment severely limits your rights. Marriage secures more than 1,000 rights for couples.
Terry Frank has written a pro-prop-1 post at her blog, and the core of her argument seems to be that marriage is primarily about having and raising children. Naturally, I take issue with this logic, and responded in a comment, saying:
As a bisexual, non-religious woman in a child-free-by-choice marriage with a man, I obviously find significant fault with this logic and this defense of policy, but the strongest five are these:
1) The idea that marriage must be defined around the bearing of children, thereby invalidating childless and child-free couples, including those who are physically unable to reproduce, those who are past child-bearing age, those who choose not to have children for health reasons, financial reasons, or any of dozens of other sound reasons.
2) The idea that same-sex couples are somehow less valid than mixed-sex couples, and less deserving of social support and the myriad legal protections well above and beyond relevance to parenting that marriage affords couples.
3) The idea that religion should enter into a policy definition of marriage in a nation whose concept of government is predicated on separation of church and state.
4) The idea that children should be borne to provide care to their aging parents, rather than supporting real social services that provide care for aging people regardless of their parental status.
5) The idea that same-sex couples that choose to raise children (by adoption, from previous relationships, through artificial insemination, or any other means), and more importantly, the idea that their children are somehow not deserving of the rights, protections, and opportunities afforded by marriage.
Do you oppose Prop 1? Please, please, please: make sure you vote.
Edited to add: My comments on Terry’s blog begin quite a ways down the page, in case you’re interested in reading them in context.