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Posted at 1:00 PM ET, 03/ 4/2011

Lunch Break

By Ezra Klein

Derence Kernek wants to marry his partner Ed Watson before Watson’s Alzheimer’s advances to the point that he can no longer participate in, and remember, the ceremony. But though it increasingly seems as though gay marriage is just around the corner, Kernek and Watson don’t have much time left: “There are more bad days than good ones,” Kernek says sadly. You’ll never see a better example of the fierce urgency of now:

I’m getting married this fall, and I want to be clear: I don’t view these men as a threat to my upcoming marriage. I view them as a model for it.

By Ezra Klein  | March 4, 2011; 1:00 PM ET
 
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Comments

OK, now I'm all teary-eyed.

Posted by: nolo93 | March 4, 2011 1:16 PM | Report abuse

Unfortunately, we live in a country where many people look at those nice old men and see terrorists.

Posted by: S1VA | March 4, 2011 1:51 PM | Report abuse

The absolute WORST way to make national policy is to wrap it around somebody who has a terminal illness.

I'm fine with letting them marry. It's the wave of the future. It's just terrible to believe that we have to do it today, because someone will die.

Suppose a drug company came out with a new treament that would for certain extend his life one year, but that cost between 1-2 million dollars per series of treatments.

Should we make the decision based on what a great person he may be or how significant that year will be to him personally?

This is how Medicare has gotten into the mess it's in the first place. We pay more attention public policy wise to the old and terminal than to the young who must carry on. This is how you get the oldest Congress in the history of the US.

It makes much more sense to buy them a plane ticket to somewhere they can marry than it does to change public policy because of their situation, even though I am in favor of their marriage.

Posted by: johnmarshall5446 | March 4, 2011 2:29 PM | Report abuse

The absolute WORST way to make national policy is to wrap it around somebody who has a terminal illness.

I'm fine with letting them marry. It's the wave of the future. It's just terrible to believe that we have to do it today, because someone will die.

Suppose a drug company came out with a new treament that would for certain extend his life one year, but that cost between 1-2 million dollars per series of treatments.

Should we make the decision based on what a great person he may be or how significant that year will be to him personally?

This is how Medicare has gotten into the mess it's in the first place. We pay more attention public policy wise to the old and terminal than to the young who must carry on. This is how you get the oldest Congress in the history of the US.

It makes much more sense to buy them a plane ticket to somewhere they can marry than it does to change public policy because of their situation, even though I am in favor of their marriage.

Posted by: johnmarshall5446 | March 4, 2011 2:40 PM | Report abuse

johnmarshall - I think you're misunderstanding the point.
Existing policy is deeply inhumane. And that every single day it remains in place has real human costs. Those two men don't demonstrate that gay marriage should be legal - the hundreds of thousand gay couples dedicated to each other show that. These two men show that dragging out its legalization is wrong. And changing that wrong wouldn't cost a million dollar. It wouldn't cost a cent.

Posted by: adamsmith5 | March 4, 2011 2:49 PM | Report abuse

sorry for the double, don't know what happened.

Posted by: johnmarshall5446 | March 4, 2011 3:00 PM | Report abuse

As it happens I'm also getting married this fall. I'm straight, but these guys seem like a model couple to me. Clearly I support the institution of marriage. How I square being straight and supporting gay marriage is by (1) realizing that I have nothing against gays, and (2) believing that an institution is strengthened when more people participate in it.

Posted by: Chris48 | March 4, 2011 3:02 PM | Report abuse

@adamsmith,

techincally you're wrong. There would be a cost to it. Now that doesn't mean it shouldn't happen because I believe it should. If two people are committed to each other then who cares what gender they are. It also doesn't help to degrade those who don't believe the same way as it usually on makes them strengthen their beliefs. Personally I think this example is the best way to move the populace to believing that it should happen.

getting back to the costs there are technically costs to it such as the cost for SS benefits when one passes away and every other benefit straight married couples get (ie tax deductions etc).

Not to mention the most important fact as you say that its the right and humane thing to do.


It would also help the argument to put up statistics of heterosexual couples and their incidence of divorce vs homosexual couples and i'm sure they're much less (although since civil unions where they're allowed are more new the statistics probably are slanted a bit).

Posted by: visionbrkr | March 4, 2011 3:32 PM | Report abuse

adam smith:

I accept your point as being valid. My point was an alternate one. Every time public policy is discussed the underdog trots out the most heart-wrenching story they can find, and the media eats it up for human interest. It's great copy, but a terrible, terrible way to run a government.

For instance you may have already seen the current PBS ads where they show the classrooms full of children whose lives will be terrible when they can't get their Sesame Street. That really has absolutely nothing to do with PUBLIC funding as a concept. It's just trying to keep the decision on an emotional and illogical level.

Posted by: johnmarshall5446 | March 4, 2011 3:44 PM | Report abuse

These two men seem very nice and committed to each other, so why do they need the Government to validate their relationship? Would having a marriage license changed anything about their lives over the last 40 years?

The problem with changing the definition of marriage is that it dilutes its significance. As soon as you let gays marry, then polygamists will be lining up right behind them. Then, whats to prevent a guy from marrying his sister so that she can capitalize on his medical or social security benefits? He loves her, she loves him, and their getting married does not threaten Ezra's upcoming marriage, so lets let everyone in on this marriage thing.

Posted by: cummije5 | March 4, 2011 4:12 PM | Report abuse

Why can't people just be satisfied with shacking up? Marriage is such a crock! Who wants to drag the state into their affairs (heh) more than it already is?

Posted by: rjewett | March 4, 2011 4:17 PM | Report abuse

I agree with rjewett.

Why is the states recognition of your union so important? I don't have anything against gay marriage but I don't get why someone would care so much what the state's opinon is.

Posted by: Mazzi455 | March 4, 2011 5:33 PM | Report abuse

"Why is the states recognition of your union so important? I don't have anything against gay marriage but I don't get why someone would care so much what the state's opinon is."

Honestly?

You don't really understand the many additional rights that civil marriage confers upon a couple in the United States of America? Or that being denied the possibility of marriage status is an expression of social condemnation of the relationship? Really?

You would actually wonder why (for example) an inter-racial couple would desire an equal civil marriage status with a white couple?

Gay marriage is a simple equal rights question. If you do not support gay marriage, you are opposed to extending equal rights in our society.

Posted by: Patrick_M | March 4, 2011 6:09 PM | Report abuse

Do you realize that gay couples have been separated at death, one partner dying alone in the hospital because they are not married? It happens all the time. Not to mention shared property, tax advantages, insurance, Social Security and the over 1000 other civil rights granted if you can marry? Its easy to take for granted and dismiss civil rights if you already have them.

Posted by: kmlisle | March 5, 2011 10:43 AM | Report abuse

There is nothing to stop them from getting married. Since when does a piece of paper stamped by some stranger in the clerk of courts prove our love for one another?

This impulse to seek approval from a hateful nation is... sad.

Posted by: Neal3 | March 5, 2011 4:43 PM | Report abuse

Headline from the Onion, 2/25: "Marauding Gay Hordes Drag Thousands Of Helpless Citizens From Marriages After Obama Drops Defense Of Marriage Act".

Pretty much says it all, IMOP.

Posted by: BernieO | March 6, 2011 8:16 AM | Report abuse

"Why is the states recognition of your union so important?"

Try getting the US to approve a K-3 visa for your foreign-born "husband" or "wife" without such state recognition.

http://travel.state.gov/visa/immigrants/types/types_2993.html#2

Posted by: Nylund154 | March 6, 2011 3:01 PM | Report abuse

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