Everything You Need to Know About Gay Marriage Today

As I am sure everyone can remember, gay people have been having some trouble in the past few years to establish equality in the courts. This is not any different today, but there are some updates! In today’s edition of “I am gay and want to do things anyway,” gays are still trying to legally be in love, around the world, and state rights are still proving to be ineffective ways to govern the love lives of American gay people (ahem).

Photo via Window Seat on tumblr.

In California, marriage equality is still something people in suits are talking about. The state’s Supreme Court is now left to decide whether or not the sponsors of the one and only Prop 8 should be able to keep it alive in the courts. (State Officials refuse to defend the measure in court, but ballot proposition backers want to continue the fight.) The Supreme Court’s Chief Justice, Tani Cantil-Sakayue, said the court will decide sometime this week whether or not they will take a position. The 9th US Court of Appeals will not rule on the proposition’s constitutionality until the decision is made.

Shit has gone down in Iowa and Indiana recently, where lawmakers are pushing to ban gay marriage (which is legal in Iowa) and ban civil unions, respectively.

Photo via hongni-rainbows.tumblr.com

But if you think it sucks not being able to be married, think about how much it sucks to not be able to get divorced! It’s happening right now in Nebraska, where two lesbians who married in Vermont cannot obtain a divorce. Because their marriage is not recognized in Nebraska, there is nothing to divorce, according to the courts. A Constitutional Amendment was enacted in 2000 that banned same-sex marriage in Nebraska.

Maryland‘s state Senate is considering legislation that will repeal a provision defining marriage as being between only a man and a woman in the state. YAY! The chances for passage are high, and might reach the full body as early as next week. YAY! (The bill also make religious views on marriage irrelevant in the courts. IS THIS ANOTHER YAY?!)

Rhode Island‘s House Judiciary Committee is scheduled to hear testimony on a bill legalizing same-sex marriage today. And for the first time in a long time, the RI governor like gay marriage, too. But now, everyone’s best friend the National Organization for Marriage has released TV ads attacking the governor for his support of gay marriage.

In New York, Joan Rivers will be taking it a step up, as usual. (After all, where would New York or gay people be without Joan Rivers?) She has recorded a video on behalf of the HRC that will play in taxicabs talking about how great gay marriage, and New York, really are:

Meanwhile, outside of the U.S., gay marriage still makes people act weird. France’s Constitutional Court recently upheld the country’s ban on same-sex marriage. Their reasoning was that gay and straight couples are in “different situations,” and therefore need different treatment under family law. The court shrugged the problem off to Parliament for now, and mentioned that if they decide to legalize same-sex marriage, that would be okay, too. (The only reason I can assume it is okay is recent poll data showing widespread and large support for marriage equality in the region.)

And things are even weirder in Bahrain: gay people have been arrested partying and watching their friends get married this week. The Huffington Post reported on Monday that a late-night noise complaint wreaked havoc on what was allegedly (GASP) a gay wedding. When police reported to the scene, they arrested 127 wedding attendees. Homosexuality – not just same-sex marriage – is banned in Bahrain. Gay NZ described the scene:

“According to police sources some of the men were allegedly drunk, and others were described as wearing women’s clothing and make up. The police are now said to be checking if any have a history of debauchery or sodomy.”

In Spain, a gay marriage joke on a late-night television show led to its discontinuation. Spain legalized same-sex marriage in 2005, so Cuca Garcia de Vinuesa badmouthing gay marriage on her show led to her pink slip. “This kid is saying it’s a marriage and he’s going to get married. I suspect they believe that’s a marriage,” she said on air, following a call from a man who was getting married – to his boyfriend – and wanted Garcia de Vinuesa to play a song for him. She denies she offended anyone.

At the end of the day, it is hard for gay people to be in love, still. But the good news remains the same:

Photo originally via modellesbians.tumblr.com/

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Carmen spent six years at Autostraddle, ultimately serving as Straddleverse Director, Feminism Editor and Social Media Co-Director. She is now the Consulting Digital Editor at Ms. and writes regularly for DAME, the Women’s Media Center, the National Women’s History Museum and other prominent feminist platforms; her work has also been published in print and online by outlets like BuzzFeed, Bitch, Bust, CityLab, ElixHER, Feministing, Feminist Formations, GirlBoss, GrokNation, MEL, Mic and SIGNS, and she is a co-founder of Argot Magazine. You can find Carmen on Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr or in the drive-thru line at the nearest In-N-Out.

Carmen has written 919 articles for us.


  1. I feel very informed now. Such an excellent feeling. Maybe this is how Hermione Granger always feels.

  2. Onward to full marriage equality rights now.

    Cheers, Joe Mustich, Officiant,
    Red Studio Farm, Washington Green, CT USA

  3. Yeah Spain! One of the best things that came out of Mr. Franco is that pretty much everyone remembers what it feels like to be oppressed and so now they’re all “you want to be gay? THAT’S GREAT!” You’re a woman? “HOLLA!” and so on.

  4. Okay, serious comment to come after I get out of work.. But can i just say, last picture? FUCK YES, ME TOO!

  5. what’s interesting to me is that we spend so much time fighting for the right to marry that i forget that people might want to divorce too. food for thought.

  6. Anyone know where the first picture was taken? I want to walk down that rainbow road and forget things for a while.

  7. “France’s Constitutional Court recently upheld the country’s ban on same-sex marriage.”

    I’m French, I watch political talk-shows/regular news programs/newsflashs on two differents H24 info channels/read newspapers/info websites in all possible combinations nearly every day, and I just learned this here on Autostraddle.
    On the bright side it’s awesome how AS is well-informed and all, but it makes me effing ashamed of my country. Not. a. word. in the medias.

    Oh well, at least the Spain thing and that last picture and Joan Rivers’ video cheered me up!

  8. Marriage isn’t about love, it’s about responsibility. I feel like that’s an important thing to know for anyone in love. Marriage doesn’t make love stronger. What it does is make you legally and financially responsible for another person. Not so romantic is it?

    I’ve been with my girlfriend for 13 years without marriage. And I can’t help but feel just a little insulted that people think our love is any less because we aren’t married.

    I dare say, being put in the position of having to proactively and voluntarily accept, no, insist on being responsible for each other in good times and bad times has had the effect of strengthening our commitment. In financially difficult times when one of us has been unemployed or underemployed, the other was always free to just leave without any legal obligation. But neither of us did because we love each other, we’re in it together and we don’t want to see the other suffer.

    Actually, when two people who have shared many years of life together fall out of love, not having been married leaves open the potential for one to totally screw over the other. That happened to my girlfriend before she met me because her ex left her with a bunch of credit card debt due to a gambling habit.

    When not being married comes into play for us, it’s sometimes just due to other people’s perceptions or lack of understanding what our relationship technically means. A perfect example of this happened just a few weeks ago when I suddenly and without warning became ill. I had to go to the ER, and I was so ill I couldn’t answer many questions or fill out paperwork.

    While the doctors and nurses understood that we were gay partners and honestly they were cool about it, there was some communication issue. I wasn’t aware of it at the time because I wasn’t aware of anything. But I just got the bill and apparently since they couldn’t ask me questions they ran tests for the answers. We were there for 9 hours and she was with me the entire time. These were questions that my girlfriend could’ve easily answer if asked.

    People think two unmarried people living together is same thing as being roommates. We’re not roommates. My girlfriend knows my total health history of the last 13 years. She knows my diet, my activities, my moods, how often I drink alcohol and if I’m taking vitamins. She knows if I’ve been getting up in the middle of the night to pee. For godsake she knows when my last period was and if my periods have been bad. And it’s not like we go around keeping diaries of minute details, we just live in awareness of each other unlike people who are just sharing the same space.

    I know married people don’t necessarily know all these details about their spouse, but had she been my husband they would’ve at least thought to try to get the information from her instead of wasting time and money on tests.

    It’s these tiny rarely thought of hypothetical things that blow up into something really important when it’s a reality. Even when people have no issue with us loving each other, the technical definition of our relationship can be fuzzy.

    • I was having a similar conversation with a coworker of mine recently, about how long-term, non-legally-bound relationships have no good vocabulary or respect. I’m gay and married, so I can say “wife” when talking about my wife. My coworker is straight and unmarried, so he can only say “girlfriend” when talking about his partner, even though the two of them have been together longer than my wife and I have. It’s an interesting quandary…

      I’ve had some misgivings, as well, about the fact that some places got rid of their domestic partner coverage when gay marriage became legal in their states. Basically, they only had domestic partner coverage because of the lack of gay marriage, but what about folks, gay or straight, who remain legally unmarried but want the benefits they used to get from their employer?

      As someone who did choose to get married, and who is very happy with that decision, I am fascinated by the couples around me who have made the opposite choice. I work with at least 3 people who are in very long term, very committed relationships that have no intention of marrying. For me, it was just an obvious next step. Apparently I’m old-fashioned like that. At the moment, it would actually be financially easier for me if I wasn’t married – my income is so much lower than my wife’s I would be eligible for various social services were I legally single. But for us, there was no choice. We needed and wanted that legal and social bind. And the right to use the word wife.

      • “At the moment, it would actually be financially easier for me if I wasn’t married – my income is so much lower than my wife’s I would be eligible for various social services were I legally single.”

        Not necessarily. I’m currently applying for financial assistance for my medical bills, which are currently at $15,000, and I’m having to identify my girlfriend as a “provider” who pays my bills (rent, utilities, food, clothes). They’re not asking for her income, they’re just deducting what she pays for from my need.

        If we were counted as a family our joint income would qualify us both for county insurance…and I wouldn’t be sitting here trying to figure out the value of contribution each of us makes to the household individually.

        Awhile ago my girlfriend also applied for social services (another state) and she had to state all the people in her household, whether legally related or not, incomes and contributions to the household. So, no, unmarried people living together can’t get around income limits for social services.

  9. I used to work with the chick in the last picture, she may actually be the nicest person i’ve ever met, i think she writes for MTV now. her name is carina.

  10. Hi I’m 33yrs old & I’m gay me & my woman is try 2 get married but where we live they don’t do gay marriage. Well I live in Jackson,Ms & she live in Macon,Ms & we need help gone about what we need 2 do 2 get married in,Iowa, we want 2 get married in Novermber 2014, so if there anyone out there can help us by telling us what we need 2 do please contact me thur my email address @ [email protected]~~ and I THANK U so much.

  11. U know u rite but it’s r rights if we want 2 divorced r not but I think it shouldn’t matter if u gay & u want 2 marry r get a divorced~ don’t nothing b said when u straight & u want 2 get married r divorced so y should it matter cuz I’m gay? But this world is so mess up with they laws & mess

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