Thursday, May 15, 2008

Why I'm Not Getting Gay Married

Cody and I have been together for 14 years. We live in the state of California, which has apparently just today made it possible to get hitched. I think that's swell. Really, I do. I think that gay people should have the same rights as everybody else.

But, as far as I'm concerned, state-sanctioned marriage is a dysfunctional institution and an unnecessary throwback of an idea. Look at the divorce rates in this country, the amount of money spent on divorce lawyers and divorce courts, and the whole insane way our government manages every family matter from custody to child support to adoption. Look at the patchwork of pre-nups and wills that even straights must attach to make use of this pathetic old jalopy of a process. Since I can't credibly hope for its obsolescence while participating fully in its benefits, I'm going to have to pass.

Don't get me wrong: I still hope that Cody and I can one day have a lovely ceremony where we invite all our friends to celebrate and share in our love, and maybe even publicly state our commitment to one another as partners in life. I'd really love an event like that. Maybe for our 20th Anniversary?

But why in the world would I actively seek the State of California's endorsement of that union? Why would anyone?

I know. There are lots of very good reasons. But are they worth what you give up? Not to me.

When I first came out, I was very clear to anyone who would listen that I could love (or fuck) whomever I wanted and that society's approval was entirely incidental to the process. That was the standard Gay Liberation line in the 80's, from what I could tell.

When did we go from "we don't need your approval" to "we demand your sanction"? Did I miss a meeting? Did we get so eager to prove that we have "Family Values" that we forgot about some other values, like self-determination and non-conformity?

Again: I celebrate the decision. And I understand that there are a lot of practical reasons that Marriage is better than Civil Unions. So, by all means, take whatever you can get.

Personally, I'd rather see Marriage become a religious and social construct and have the State do something else.

I've always liked the "one person rule", whereby everyone gets to pick a person that's their default contractual partner, automatic beneficiary, etc. But then why even make it only one person? Shouldn't gays and straights alike be able to enter into whatever sorts of civil partnerships they want and have them recognized fully by the state?

Marriage is, by anyone's admission, a kind of nonsensical mishmash of tradition, government, and church dictates. This whole Gay Marriage debate would have been a good excuse to sort it all out and have it make more sense for everyone.

Gays used to lead the way in changing paradigms (See: Healthcare and AIDS). Now we just demand to be included. And that's fine, but leave me out of it.

 

 

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