You no playa da game, you no maka da rules

by CynthiaYockey on March 20, 2009

Charles Winecoff at Big Hollywood has lots of thoughts on the lesbian and gay community and gay marriage tonight. He asks, “When did the gay community get so mean?”

Charles, I came out in 1972 and I have a question for you: “When was the gay and lesbian community EVER nice?” Because I can’t think of a time.

The point Winecoff eventually arrives at has to do with gay marriage vs. civil unions.

On that, something Winecoff wrote needs clarification. He quotes another blogger as saying that civil unions in France, which are available to both straights and gays, provide the same rights to lesbians and gays as marriage. This is not correct. The Washington Post had a Valentine’s Day story on French civil unions, known by their acronym “PACS,” which stated:

… PACS unions are also seen as more appealing than marriage because they can be dissolved without costly divorce procedures. If one or both of the partners declares in writing to the court that he or she wants out, the PACS is ended, with neither partner having claim to the other’s property or to alimony.

… government statistics show, one-sixth of PACSed couples that end their unions do so because they want to get married.

Separate. Not equal.

Winecoff also points out that the global jihad hates gays and lesbians as much as it hates Jews and that our community is oblivious to this threat. On this point, I agree.

Anyway, he says we need allies come the jihad, so we should be nice now and drop our demands:

Instead of stirring up resentment trying to snatch a piece of a stale pie we don’t really need — and setting back our cause in the process — we need to keep moving forward, not “separate but equal,” but different and equal.

It’s time to reprioritize, show some gratitude for how far we’ve come, and try some magnanimity for a change. Let the so-called “bigots” keep their rituals. We have our own way of doing things.

Charles, Charles, Charles. Where do I start? Here: have you ever had a love of your life and stayed committed to one another for 10 years or more? I have — over 20 years, in fact. Have you had to fight for your life partner’s life? I have. Arrange for your life partner’s funeral? I have. We need the rights to do those things. A lesbian attorney wrote my life partner’s will but was unaware that a will is not the instrument that gives a surviving life partner the right to make funeral arrangements. I’m a planner, so we found out in time — but just barely.

Winecoff’s essay does not mention any profound loves or longterm relationships. That is why it sounds to me like Winecoff doesn’t know what marriage is, at all. So his assertion, “Let the so-called ‘bigots’ keep their rituals,” isn’t principle, it’s sour grapes.

On the issue of gay marriage, if you really have no idea what the spiritual, emotional and life content of a marriage are like, work on that first, because that is what is informing the efforts of those of us who do want full marriage rights for lesbians and gays.

Moving along, dear GayPatriotWest, aka Daniel Blatt, picked up on Winecoff’s post here. We have exchanged some pleasant e-mails and it pains me to disagree with him, but disagree I must. He writes:

I do know some gay people who do want marriage, but it seems the most vocal advocates see gay marriage more as, to quote my friend Dale Carpenter, a “trophy in the cultural wars” than anything else.

No, no, no, no, NO!

We need fully equal marriage for the following reasons:

  1. Marriage is about enlightenment and God consciousness. I will explain that in another post on enlightenment and higher states of consciousness. To deny lesbians and gays the right to marriages that are fully equal to straight ones cuts us off from God. How is that not evil?
  2. Marriage creates a structure for uniting two lives into a couple and provides the foundation for building one life together. Civil unions degrade that reality by defining marriage as a collection of legal rights and duties. Therefore, to create a second class marriage with civil unions will inevitably degrade the concept of marriage, even though marriage is the “more equal” option.
  3. Marriage gives you rights to do things for one another from managing your affairs together, to managing your spouse’s healthcare when he or she is no longer able to make decisions, to control of your spouse’s remains and funeral arrangements after death, to inheritance rights. It is not plausible that civil unions ever would be able to keep up if every equal right has to pass a legislature and be signed by a governor or president, or that they would be recognized in every other country, as legal marriages are.

I just don’t get the feeling from Winecoff and Dan that they ever have been in a longterm committed relationship with someone that was/is the love of their lives. If they haven’t — and I don’t know — that is why they are able to be so reasonable, so negotiable,  so “peace in our time.” If they have not had the emotional and spiritual bond with another person that underlies true marriages, whether or not they are legal, then it’s impossible for them to understand the passion and urgency of those of us who have.

People who are ambivalent about marriage, whether straight or gay — will never, ever expend the effort and political capital to make gay marriage legal. I do not believe the Democrats will ever deliver on gay marriage for their lesbian and gay worker bees/cash cows — they’ll string us along forever.

But religious people/conservatives who love and understand marriage are EXACTLY the people who will ultimately be our best allies in legalizing gay marriage — because they understand the passion to be married and build a life together.

For new readers:

The brief story of my own marriage with my late life partner of over 20 years is here.

And my observation that we’ll never get liberals to support gay marriage because they aren’t all that solid about straight marriage so they can’t understand why we want it is here.

For my foreign readers:

There’s an old joke in the U.S. about an Italian immigrant woman who was being lectured by her priest on the subject of birth control. She replied to him, “You no playa da game, you no maka da rules.”

Update: I e-mailed Dan about this post to give him a heads-up that I linked him and that we disagree. I could not do the same for Winecoff because I could not find his e-mail address at Big Hollywood. I have an e-mail from Dan this morning saying that he is not in a committed relationship, but Winecoff is. Dan says that he does understand the passion and urgency for marriage to be legalized for lesbians and gays. I hope he will comment and explain in his own words. Winecoff also is welcome to comment here.

Correction: I should have consulted a reference before using the “peace in our time” quote. Wikipedia says that British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain’s actual words were “peace for our time” when he announced on September 30, 1938, that he had sold out Czechoslovakia — “a far away country of which we know little,” as my father quotes him, from being alive at the time — to Hitler’s demand for “living space” for Germany in the Munich Agreement. Chamberlain had ceded to Hitler territory over which he had no legal control, Czechoslovakia’s Sudetenland, which Hitler invaded the very next day. Chamberlain’s appeasement policy, however, did not secure peace for very long and World War II began a year later when Hitler invaded Poland.

Since I am obviously giving Dan and Winecoff a dig about appeasement, I should say that the way we will obtain our right to marry is to be out in every aspect of our lives while being the best people we know how to be and making the best marriages — I feel it’s degrading to use the more correct term of “committed relationships” because it does not capture the dimensions of spirituality and devotion — we can now. I will explain in more detail in future posts. We are a quite a large minority when  our families and friends and colleagues know we are lesbian or gay and give us their support. The love and respect we earn among people who know we are gay or lesbian is what will soften the hearts of those now opposed to gay marriage and will let them feel comfortable about admitting us to full membership in the club. Anyway, love, respect and openness is how I’m going about it.

Update: Protein Wisdom also has a post about Winecoff’s column.

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Charlie (Colorado) March 20, 2009 at 10:08 am

I came out in 1972 and I have a question for you: “When was the gay and lesbian community EVER nice?”



Dan Collins March 20, 2009 at 10:45 am

I’ve mentioned my feeling about this before, Cynthia, namely that government should be out of the marriage business entirely, and recognize all domestic partnerships as domestic partnerships, with the same rights and responsibilities. And although as a native Vermonter I disagree almost always with Patrick Leahy, I do think that he’s right to insist that immigration laws should be identical for same-sex partners.

Religious denominations can designate whatever they like as “marriage,” AFAIC. I just think it’s wrong for the state to wrench a term that is sacramental and traditional to many religious out of its contexts and then bring in the inevitable inquisitional apparatus of PC enforcement on our heads. I want you to be married, if that is what you wish, in a denomination that will support your view of marriage. I just don’t want the legislatures and judiciaries seizing the term and, as Charles puts it, ramming it down our throats.

Is this acceptable to you?

Cynthia Yockey March 20, 2009 at 12:35 pm


Thank you for your comment and support for legal equality for the domestic partnerships of lesbians and gays. I have to say I am having a hard time understanding why some straight people have a hard time letting us call use the traditional nomenclature: marriage, wife, husband. Calling it “marriage” feels right and equal; calling it “domestic partnership” feels degrading and less than. I believe when more people get used to the idea, there will be more acceptance for our using the term “marriage.” It’s just going to take some time for people to adapt and get decent images about it into their heads.

Lesbians and gays really do not grasp the horrible blunder they made in supporting Obama. I saw as soon as I started paying attention to Obama last spring that his strongest, permanent alliances were to groups that hate gays and want us dead (to say nothing of believing that women are property): illegal immigrants, Muslims and Black Liberation Theology churches. No amount of lip service makes up for his alliances with these groups.

So, instead of spending the next decade, as we had hoped, getting people used to the idea of gay marriage, I believe we are on the brink of fighting for our lives. This is a point that Winecoff also made with respect to Muslims and gays.


Robert Stacy McCain March 20, 2009 at 11:05 am

As I have explained at my own blog, Ms. Yockey, I’m strictly neutral in the pink-on-lavender intellectual Jello-wrestling match between you, Charles and Gay Patriot. However, I will gladly stand at the tent of the carnival sideshow and sell tickets. There is no such thing as bad publicity, as P.T. Barnum said.

Jackson Laurence March 20, 2009 at 11:20 am

As usual, I’m just here to enjoy the civility and literacy of the essay and comments. Thank you all.

Gary from Jersey March 20, 2009 at 12:55 pm

This is a very well written piece and should be required reading by sanctimonious moralists who think they have the right to dictate the terms of a very personal decision. Good job.

Now. Marriage as it stands is not a right. It’s licensed. The state has taken for itself the power to dictate who can hitch with whom, and while it rarely enforces that power, politicians have jumped on gay marriage to score cheap points with people (in Jersey at least) who have no connection to the issue but feel important when asked about it.
Solution? End licensing requirements. Get the state out of your bedroom and into your wallet where it belongs.

SDN March 20, 2009 at 1:04 pm


First, a purely technical detail: the link back to Protein Wisdom has apparently been set up with a uri instead of url, which Firefox 3 isn’t happy with.

Second, what Dan says.

Dan Collins March 20, 2009 at 1:06 pm

Cynthia, I’m willing to honor your partnership with the name “marriage,” if that makes you happy. I can understand, though, why people would see this as a kind of anti-religious state doctrine. If you don’t think that the state is aggressively encroaching on the compass of faith, then please read this.

C. Hagins March 20, 2009 at 2:06 pm

You have my deepest sympathies.

Point three is compelling. Points one and two, not so much.
If a person believes in spiritual marriage, that marriage is sacred, as you apparently do, then giving gov’t any power over marriage degrades it.

People act as if the purpose of “no law respecting religion” is to protect gov’t from those eeevil churchgoers. The real purpose is, and always was, to protect religion from the gov’t, to keep the sacred out of bureaucratic purview.

If you believe in sacred marriage, then it’s a matter between you, your partner, and your God, and it shouldn’t matter one whit what the county clerk has to say.

Point three is still compelling though. Render unto Caesar, et cetera.

Steve Poling March 21, 2009 at 6:11 am

Some Christian traditions regard marriage as a sacrament. Now, if you don’t agree with that church, don’t join it. The government ought not be mucking about with any sacrament of any church.

Conversely, religious freedom means you can’t edit the commandments of my church that you don’t like. If my church starts sanctioning gay marriages, I think it’s essential character would change into something other than what it is now. You have to give people the right to their convictions and consciences.

You made an overtly religious assertion: “Marriage is about enlightenment and God consciousness.” You’ve every right to that opinion. I do not happen to agree, but you don’t have to satisfy me, but the deity to which your assertion refers.

I had hoped that civil unions would suffice. The missing component must be religious. I think that’s the rub. You need a gay-marriage-sponsoring religion. Starting a religion to meet market demand isn’t the business of government activism. There are things we can change, and there are things we accommodate ourselves to. I don’t think either of us will change deity.

Cynthia Yockey March 21, 2009 at 8:39 am


My statement that “Marriage is about enlightenment and God consciousness” is fact-based. It has nothing to do with any religion. When I use the terms “enlightenment” and “God consciousness,” in both cases I mean a physiological state that can be measured in various ways and which has correlated emotional and psychological experiences.

I am not a fan of religion or dogma. Religion and dogma are not God. However, when people conflate their religion or dogma with God, I always make the effort to see and honor their spiritual aspirations and spiritual development.


Steve Poling March 25, 2009 at 4:42 pm


I’ve no argument that your assertion is fact-based. But it is a religious proposition, in contrast to one of physics, math or history, because it has to do with what mankind does about deity. Our disagreement at this point is semantic, but it defines the terrain of discussion.

I agree that religion is not God; religion is what one does about God. Theology is the study of that being that is God. This distinction is without a difference if God doesn’t disclose himself beyond human agency.

Though I am a fan of religion, I have every confidence that my religion errs at some point. A bit of self-distrust is a Good Thing in any context, particularly, religion. The 2nd commandment forbids idol making, which I think we do by conflating our opinion of deity with the God that Is.

You buttressed your assertion with citations of psychological states that are measured in various ways. I endorse this practice. I think the only way humans avoid breaking that 2nd commandment is to look outside ourselves, to science or scripture, and seek confirmation/refutation of our opinions about deity.



Cynthia Yockey March 25, 2009 at 8:33 pm

Hey, Steve!

When I say God is fact-based I’m talking about the ability of human physiology to perceive God — who is not dogma; not a religion; not a scripture; not an old, white-bearded man in white robes — at all times when it has been sufficiently cultured to do so. And I’m talking about a state with specific physiological correlates. It’s going to be awhile before I can write an essay explaining this in detail. In the meantime, look in my Blogroll for, which is maintained by Dr. David Orme-Johnson, the foremost researcher alive on the technology and research in this field.

What you are going to find is that the answers are based in both experience AND theory — looking within and without — but both very fact-based. Since I am obviously directing you to a site about the Transcendental Meditation technique, which I have practiced for over 35 years, I will add that this is why doing this technique does not require any faith or belief and therefore is NOT a religion and does not conflict with any religion. Dr. Orme-Johnson has letters from practictioners of various religions at his site that explain this more.

I always appreciate your thoughtful comments.

Best regards,


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