Tuesday, July 1, 2008

does gay marriage debate hurt people?

I am super excited that gay people can marry in California. I think they should marry everywhere. I can't imagine anyone caring who gets married, who fucks whom, what any consenting adults do with themselves in private. Blah blah blah.

But my problem is this: the argument for gay marriage has focused, by necessity, on upholding the life-long monogomous couple ideal that is so limiting and deficient for so many people -- gay, straight, bi, trans, whatever. By emphasizing that gay couples, too, can sustain loving, life-long, monogomous relationships, the debate for marriage rests on a standard that straight people have failed to uphold and that is not the ideal for so many. What's missing is the "alternative lifestyle" argument, which allows for couples, singles, trios, whatever, in any arrangement, for people of any persuasion. Straight people need more models beyond the nuclear family, trans and bi people need any model. Gay people deserve equal rights, whether they choose to couple up and adopt kids and drive a Volvo, or whether they live in perpetual debauchery. It's interesting that a polygamy debate is going on at the same time. The problem with polygamy as practiced in this country is not that there is more than one spouse -- it's that the wives are often coerced and underage so that it is not truly consentual. But if 3 or 7 or 50 consenting adults want to mary each other, who cares??? I don't expect the super-sanitized, squeeky-clean gay rights movement to come out as pro-polygamy, because it would be political suicide at a tenuous time of shaky victories, but I hope that they do at some point, because the larger idea is that it's nobody's business who consenting adults marry.

I am really excited by the progress of gay marriage rights. And I wish that legislation would sweep all 50 states in a heartbeat so we can move on to a larger discussion about people having choices. Not "Will and Grace" snarky stereotypical kind of choices, but messy, challenging, re-inventing family or intimacy or companionship kind of choices.

On another point, I have been joking that if I were to run for political office, it would be on economic policy alone --- legalization of gay marriage, polygamy, marijuana, and prostitution. Taxes, regulation, cost-savings for law enforcement. Fiscal responsibility and smaller government. Sound familiar?

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