Further Beyond Marriage

On the Sunday before the election, I volunteered to stop Prop 8. I spent 3 hours making calls, most of them remained unanswered and many of the people who had volunteered to raise awareness on election day backed out because they had other things to do. I am heterosexual. I could marry if I wanted to. I left with a bit of a sour taste in my mouth, partly because there were absolutely no thank yous for my volunteer efforts but mostly because I felt that the LGBT community wasn’t taking this seriously enough. Prop 8 passed. I was very disappointed but not surprised. This country is full of religious bigots – they brought us W in 2004 after all.

Now many are organizing. I guess November 4th provided them with a wake up call. I love the energy! Yet, I am concerned that all this energy is devoted toward the wrong goal.

The Join The Impact website – created after Prop Hate passed – is full of statements like this:

We live in America TOO! We deserve legal protections from our government and marriage provides 10,000+ legal protections that are not awarded to our families!

and this

Full equality for ALL. […] At JoinTheImpact, we are all inclusive.

I guess, they don’t realize that they are leaving out families with their narrow focus on marriage. Families like:

  • Single parent households
  • Senior citizens living together and serving as each other’s caregivers (think Golden Girls)
  • Blended and extended families
  • Children being raised in multiple households or by unmarried parents
  • Adult children living with and caring for their parents
  • Senior citizens who are the primary caregivers to their grandchildren or other relatives
  • Close friends or siblings living in non-conjugal relationships and serving as each other’s primary support and caregivers
  • Households in which there is more than one conjugal partner
  • Care-giving relationships that provide support to those living with extended illness such as HIV/AIDS.

That’s a lot of people to leave out from a movement that purports to be all inclusive.

Don’t get me wrong. I think that the passage of Prop 8 is despicable. So are the various flavors of Defense of Marriage Acts. All they are defending is discrimination. But that discrimination goes beyond the LGBT community. They discriminate against any other form of family other than the wife-husband-children family of yesteryear.

It is time to abolish those 10,000+ rights automatically bestowed upon marriage instead of expanding the pool of people those rights are conferred upon. We need to look at the needs and find ways of meeting those needs that value all families, no matter what shape or form they take or how many people are in the family. Only a movement that looks at all options, that moves beyond marriage and fights for alternatives, can claim to be truly inclusive.

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Further Beyond Marriage — 3 Comments

  1. Thanks, Onely, for the tip on the book! I’ll check it out – it sounds interesting. You might be interested in Nancy Polikoff’s book “Beyond (Straight and Gay) Marriage”. She approaches the whole beyond marriage question from a legal perspective and points out that we often fail to address the real issues by thinking that marriage can solve XYZ. And she argues, rightfully so imo, that even if gay marriage becomes completely legal, a lot of folks in the LGBT community will be left out – including singles and people who don’t want to be “normal,” as defined by the religious wrong…

  2. Rachel: On our blog we talked a little bit about Michael Warner’s book “The Trouble With Normal,” which I honestly haven’t read yet, but which I understand talks about how the pro-gay-marriage movement works to normalize gays into our current matrimaniac, couple-centric culture, instead of expanding the kinds of sanctioned commitment available to all sorts of nontraditional family units. When you think about it, the whole idea of man-woman marriage with concurrent legal rights. . . is really quite random. Funny how we take it for granted as the “norm”. . . Well, thanks for the great post. –CC

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