my thoughts on the whole gay marriage issue

ok. since i essentially get my only advertising from friends’ posts on facebook, i’m a little out of touch with election-mania.  but i’m finally starting to get a taste of just some of the insane prop 8 propaganda that’s out there.

this morning i received an email asking to donate to the no on 8 campaign because the yes on 8 campaign is trying to raise $2 million to pass the proposition because they think that armageddon will actually arrive if 8 gets defeated and gays are [still] allowed to marry (in CA). apparently some people on the right are actually calling the prop 8 campaign more important than the presidential election.  i might be inclined to agree with them, but only because i don’t think the presidential election is all that important.

at any rate, hearing such things (“armageddon”, etc.) inspired me to actually poke around a bit and check out some of the propaganda on both sides of this proposition.  ok i didn’t go too far – mostly just to facebook posts;)  there were plenty there already.

one of the crazy things that caught my eye was this scary yes on prop 8 video using kids to sing about how confused they would become if prop 8 passes:

how does allowing queers to marry suddenly turn these kids’ dad into a woman, and their mom into a man?!

so my opinion on the gay marriage issue has evolved a bit over time.  on marriage in general, i was always opposed from a pretty young age – always saying i would never get married (making my parents think that i would become a nun at one point), that i didn’t need a piece of paper from the state to sanctify any of my relationships.

then in college in oregon, when portland passed what became only a temporary right for gay marriage, i as the leader of the gay-straight alliance at a pretty conservative small-town private liberal arts college, suddenly felt compelled to advocate for marriage rights as a way to promote gay rights and call out homophobia on campus.  i was even a bride in a mock wedding we produced in a fraternity basement, marrying my [straight] best friend.

i admit my politics on marriage issues got thrown for a loop when the whole gay marriage issue hit the front page.

but then moving to the bay area in 2004, within my first two weeks here, i was introduced to gay shame’s end marriage campaign which was probably the most radical thing i had ever seen in my life, and made me quit advocating for gay marriage in any small way (it’s not like i was lobbying or anything).

for awhile i was adamantly opposed to gay marriage (and all marriage).  and it’s another one of those debates i’ve been in with progressives where they tend to find me totally callous and think i’m preventing “progress”.

since then i feel like my thoughts have become a little more flexible on the issue.  unlike some of the radical arguments against gay marriage, i don’t fully buy into the assimilationist argument – ie all queers should fundamentally be non-conformist and stand against all that heterosexual monogamy stands for.

i do absolutely oppose the origins of property co-optation that marriage is founded on, and believe that marriage is inherently discriminatory – why should only monogamous “couples” have the kind of legal rights that marriage allows?  what about non-monagamous relationships and people who choose to remain single?

i believe that legal rights like tax breaks and property rights for married couples are essentially capitalist financial incentives made to encourage individuals to couple, marry, and produce children – more workers to exploit.

and it’s this issue of money around the marriage issue – both the discriminatory financial incentives, and the gross consumerism of the wedding industry – that makes me remain opposed to all marriage.  lisa jervis captured some of my thoughts on the sickening consumer market for gay weddings in her “assorted thoughts on pride weddings and capitalism” article.  it’s been ridiculous to see just how much money there is in the wedding industry, and now that the market for wedding clientele is growing to include gay and lesbian couples, it’s raking in even more profit.

in spite of all this, i do acknowledge the private/public ritual aspect of commitment that some people choose to make through marriage.  i don’t deny non-monogamous relationship’s validity, but i do recognize that for many people, some form of a formal commitment can be a very beautiful step in their relationship and in their lives as an individual.  i have absolutely nothing against this.  and i admittedly tend to enjoy weddings.

so let me make myself clear:  even though i’ve been using the word “oppose” throughout this post, i do NOT wish to deny anyone the right to marry if they so choose.  i will vote NO ON PROP 8, to be sure.  but i do think that the issue of fighting for gay marriage has taken up tremendous amounts of resources in our political climate, when there are so many other injustices with much more dire consequences (war, environmental racism, economic exploitation, to name a few) that should be getting much more attention.

so, i’m not going to spend my money or time on fighting for gay marriage, but i will certainly do nothing to deny anyone equal rights under the law.  and i will happily continue to attend friends’ and family’s weddings when given the opportunity, and support the people in my life to live happy and healthy relationships, no matter what state of “commitment” or state-recognition.  but ultimately, i will continue to work towards a just and sustainable community where state-sanctioned marriage is irrelevant.

6 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    sulochanosho said,

    Gay marriage is the biggest scam and shame on the face of the humanity.

    It’s true now more and more countries and governments are legalizing the gay sex. They have their own reasons and compulsions. Scientists say they (gays) are genetically inclined to do so.

    The bigger and primary question is our right perspective about this natural biological act of ‘sex’, certainly there is no theology in it. The humanity has been pushed into all kinds of perversions, pollutions and dry sermons thanks to establishments of vested religions, vested interests of our political system, and theology of suppression and sin.

    Todya the mankind is literally chained. There’s no much hope or way out. Gay sex is one of the ill consequences of our rotten and suppressing system.

    Sex is being played out quite out of proportion; sex being a simple reproductive act.

  2. 2

    Tiffany said,

    Very articulate and well put.

  3. 3

    Kasha said,

    great post, megan.
    i tend to agree with you that folding queer relationships into the marriage paradigm is perpetuating a pretty messed up economic system that’s generally keeping us all down. but i’ve been surprised over the years to find how emotionally impacted i am about the gay marriage issue. i’ve coincidentally lived in most of the states that have or are considering gay marriage: massachusetts, connecticut, californina, vermont almost has marriage and i kinda lived there for a while, and of course hawai’i thought about it back in the day. anyway, living in those states at the time they were considering gay marriage, i found myself frequently publicly crying. now i think you know this about me, i’m not a big weeper and i Hate crying in front of people, and considering that i feel sort of ambivalent about legal marriage to begin with i don’t know where those tears come from.
    i guess probably my ambivalence over legal marriage is superseded by my shock at the vitriolic hate speech that comes from the other side (that video is appalling, by the way), and the injustice and inhumanity of separating people out for persecution. i spent a good part of my life growing up in a little town in idaho (maybe if the trend continues idaho will be next to get marriage rights…haha), which was notorious for being home to the aryan nations headquarters, so i think i have a sort of visceral reaction to hate and persecution that rises up sometimes in a way i can’t really control or explain.
    also, my father is a wedding minister (in hawai’i) and i grew up experiencing his beautiful ceremonies and witnessing the love and connection between people in their moment of certainty and commitment. and i think this gave me a real appreciation for the ceremonial aspect of marriage. in fact, i performed my first marriage (a gay one, at that) as a deputy marriage councilor this summer for two of my closest friends. and i have to say, it’s a beautiful thing. i maybe even cried a little.

  4. 4

    [...] 8, 2008 · Filed under Uncategorized in an ironic twist of fate after my last post, i ended up on an action team to protest the passage of prop 8 last night in san francisco.  there [...]

  5. 5

    Thad said,

    This fight for gay marriage is purely about money. With equality and civil rights simply being tools used to accomplish this goal.

    It’s too bad that almost everyone alive gets it wrong about marriage. What gay advocates are doing is trying to change gay marriage for their own selfish benefits.

    First off I want to say I’m not against gay couples getting into a relationship that has been democratically approved by a majority decision that has all the same rights as marriage.

    What I am against is how gay marriage advocates are saying they are being treated unfairly being denied “marriage rights” when they are absolutely not being denied such rights. They are trying to change something so fundamentally easy to understand for their own monetary benefit in the name of love. Which I think is a pretty dishonorable thing to try to do.

    Marriage is, and always has been a union between a “man and a woman”. And any man or women human being can get married to each other. This is the “right to marry”. It is not the right to marry who you “Love”. It never was. In the past marriages where arranged, not necessarily to the one you loved, even in todays world some marriages are arranged.

    The only reason that any government would want to recognize and support a marriage of a man and a woman in any society is because of children. Children are the future of all of our societies, and supporting relationships that produces the future of that society monetarily makes sense. You’d be pretty stupid not too. Governments don’t give financial support because you “love” someone, or because you stayed together and had sex with someone for years. Why would I want my tax dollars going to people merely having sex with each other for their own personal gain?

    How does our country benefit from a couple who produces no children, and therefore none of our countries future leaders?

    The answer is our country does not. So why should we financially support such a union?

  6. 6

    That is a good tip particularly to those fresh to the blogosphere.
    Short but very precise information… Many thanks for sharing this one.

    A must read post!


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