Here is our new and improved map of states that grant same-sex marriage compared to states that allow first cousins to marry. This map came on the heels of a map, which I knew was inaccurate, that made the media/web rounds last summer. I knew it was inaccurate because it had Texas (my home state which does have it faults…but this wasn’t one of them) filled in as allowing first cousins to marry. Thanks to the Fall undergrad research assistants and the awesome mapping skills of Ms. Ali, we were able to compile and create this one here which also includes dates. We opted to leave Washington off for the time being since same-sex couples will not be allowed to marry until June…so you can expect a revised one closer to then.
As of today, same-sex marriage is only allowed in six states (Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, New Hampshire, New York) and in Washington, D.C. Meanwhile, 18 states have yet to ban marriage between cousins. I am going to take a moment here to make a special note that just because it is not banned does not mean that states condone marriage between first cousins. More likely, its not an issue that has been problematic enough to require or inspire legislation. This does, however, speak volumes as to what is considered to be a concern or enough of a “problem” to inspire specific regulation banning marriages between two people. Or another place I like to take it–threatening enough to use our energy, time, and money to actually spell out that two people should not have access to this revered institution that most take for granted as a typical way of American life.
This also reminds me of something I once read or heard (I wish I had the cite…if you do please send it my way) regarding amalgamation through marriage. The idea is that you know a group has what I will deem “practical equality” compared to other groups when we don’t have to preface or discuss who the bride(s) and groom(s) are, related to their various group status characteristics–such as Race, Ethnicity, Nationality, Class, Religion, Disability, Age, Sexual Orientation, etc. For example, interracial marriage is legal yet we still inform our plus ones, co-workers, etc. that our black friend is marrying a “white woman” [whispered of course]. Practical equality comes in when we do not have to give our mothers, co-workers, plus ones, or whoever we talk to additional information preparing them for the experience or story we are about share so they can see the “right” picture or that the wedding they are about to attend in a way that is reminiscent forecasting bad news or foreshadowing any awkwardness. No, “just so you know”s…or adjectives describing the wedding: “It’s a gay wedding” with a little too much emphasis on the gay.
Think about it for a second. We rarely hear a qualifier that is not associated with a disadvantaged group unless it is at the micro level and speaking directly to our own tastes and preferences (when we joke in good fun–not in bad fun or judgment). We don’t hear, “He’s of Scottish decent and she’s some Anglo European mix.” And when we do, it is probably because there is something especially salient about those facts in relation to who we are or who they are…like “be prepared for bag pipes” or “he will be in kilt.” (I could argue a macro level gender point related to the kilt actually). I’m trying to be a bit tongue-in-cheek here and I do not mean to pick on kilts or bag pipes–for many, these may be big pros. It is really about the context of the statement or the situation, AND the fact that it even has to be pointed out. Bag pipes and kilts are not generally associate with disadvantaged groups here in America.