Today the California Court of Appeal is hearing arguments on why its opposite-sex only rule for marriage is unconstitutional. Arguments are being proposed that it is discriminatory to limit the marriage rights of gay persons to the opposite sex. However, one compelling argument seems to me to be ignored.

Anti-gay activists sometimes smugly claim that gay people can marry, they just have to pick someone from the opposite sex. This isn’t actually true. A marriage by a gay man to a woman is often considered legally to be fraud.

Author Terry McMillan in her recent divorce from Jonathan Plummer claimed that because Jonathan was gay that his marriage to her was fraudulent (this was the love story that became the basis for How Stella Got Her Groove Back). Jonathan countered by claiming that at age 20, living in Jamaica, he didn’t know he was gay. Ultimately, he got little-to-nothing from multi-millionairre McMillan in the divorce.

Or consider the likelihood of the immigration service accepting as valid the naturalization of a foreign born woman married to a gay man. Although it makes a great film (Ang Lee’s Wedding Banquet, for example), she would be deported and he would be arrested.

Even stepping outside of legal issues, generally society considers the spouse of a gay person to be a victim of fraud and deception. Also, (if my understanding is correct) marriage to a gay person is a legitimate reason for the granting of an annulment by the Catholic Church.

The laws restricting gay marriage is not an equally applied limitation to all people that they marry only the opposite sex, but rather it is an unequal rule that states that no gay person may marry anyone at all.

This is, no doubt, one of the reasons that the religious right has latched onto the ex-gay movement. As long as they can claim that gay people can become ex-gay and thus enter a valid marriage with the opposite sex, they can continue their campaign to deny gay rights while simultaneously claiming consistency.

(correction 11/10)

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