This was posted on November 3, 2008 to the Queer Studies email list, responding to a debate about whether marriage equality should be a focus of the GLBT movement.
Pro-Choice on Marriage
One can make a number of persuasive arguments both for and against marriage. As an institution it certainly has a problematic history. But I also believe that decoupling 🙂 marriage from gender profoundly transforms the institution of marriage into something new.
I have been reading and speaking on issues facing LGBT people as we age, and it is frighteningly clear to me that the absence of legal recognition of our relationships both at the state and federal level can have tragic effects upon those of us who are partnered, and at the very least puts us at a sharp economic disadvantage compared to our heterosexually married counterparts. Marriage provides very real economic protections to those in couples. It’s not just a theoretical concept (though of course it is that as well).
Like many others, I am sometimes made very uncomfortable by some of the oversimplistic rhetoric employed by some of my colleagues in the marriage equality movement (e.g. “But of course, EVERYONE wants to get married,” or the normalizing rhetoric that sometimes leaves out our queerer members). I refuse to engage in this type of rhetoric. But the reality is that SOME of us want to partner for life. That doesn’t make us better – or worse – than anyone else.
I believe that each LGBT person should have the right to accept – or decline – any protection or institution offered to others. It is my intention to fight hard to extend this right to same-sex couples everywhere. And it is my intention as well to fight hard to transform our culture.
My position on marriage is simple: I’m pro-choice.