Instead, I was busy reading, and sometimes commenting on, some of the blog posts that turned up – and, to my excitement – were rather critical of this whole marriage-focus as well. Bella DePaulo chimed in, pointing out that the case actually argues for the expansion of rights to everyone, not just married couples, though that’s missed by most. And, she asks, why do we even need to be coupled to benefit. Nancy Polikoff explained why using children’s welfare as an argument for marriage is a strange choice (and actually illogical, I might add). Through her blog, I discovered Scot Nakagawa‘s article, which eloquently points out that the work toward marriage expansion to same-sex couples contains some troubling elements, including leaving out those of us who don’t want to get married, thus creating more injustice (or simply maintaining it). He elaborates on this in a well-worth watching Democracy Now interview.
The theme of exclusion was picked up by the Feminist Philosophers’ blog, which also reminded us of the strained relation between the Human Rights Campaign and the trans* community. Exploring that further, I read some accounts of pervasive transphobia, which might also explain HRC’s single-minded focus on marriage equality.
Overall, I’ve been reminded of why I find this focus on marriage problematic: It plays on the normative pressures of our culture that are highly discriminatory. By including some more folks into the married pool, we continue to exclude others. If we claim that marriage is all about love, that seems to be especially unloving!
Because of all this and after seeing way too many red equal signs on Facebook, I created this graphic. It’s inspired by a mug I have from the Alternatives to Marriage Project (now Unmarried Equality). Feel free to use it!
I know there was lots more coverage, including critical thoughts, so feel free to share more resources in the comments. There are quite a few skeptics who doubt that marriage should be a ticket to privilege (and that list is a few years old now…)!