I have left a comment urging CFI not to simply jump onto the marriage bandwagon. The current institution excludes same-sex couples, which clearly is discriminatory. Yet, we need to go beyond questioning that type of discrimination and look at the broader discrimination inherent in the benefits by asking whether marriage/civil unions should get automatic rights. I would second Michael LaSala’s call for a “critical view of the privileges of marriage.” (Michael C. LaSala. Too Many Eggs in the Wrong Basket: A Queer Critique of the Same-Sex Marriage Movement. SocialWork. Volume 52, Number 2. April 2007.). He calls on us to “advocate for freedom of sexual expression as well as economic and legal equity for all, regardless of marital status, relationship style, or sexual orientation.” It would be great if CFI were to heed that call.
I was saddened to see that the Center for Inquiry’s Office of Public Policy is jumping onto the marriage-for-all bandwagon without questioning the institution itself. While they acknowledge that marriage automatically comes with a large set of “legal, social, and economic benefits,” CFI stops short at asking if that is discrimination we want to perpetuate. Bestowing these benefits on people simply because they’ve “tied the knot” – whether as part of a civil union or a marriage – is part of the historical baggage that comes with marriage that might be appropriate to leave behind. There are other relationships, such as those with close friends or among siblings, that might warrant equal standing for the rights to those benefits, as, for example, Kay Trimberger and Bella DePaulo have pointed out in their work on singles.