Some thoughts on “Marriage Equality” on the eve of a ruling to repeal a Michican, USA ban on “Gay Marriage”.
“Equality”? – give us, justice, health care & treatment, equal pay for equal work, less racism, no more more “pink washing”, less gentrification, access to basic services, less privatization, an alternative to the Western war-economy, less reliance on the military in Western foreign policy rather than more queers in the military, an end to the artificial state of emergency with which we justify the hollowing out of our right to privacy, and our democratic institutions, an end to general suspicion and surveillance, and a return to due process. The list of unattended to injustices that affect LGBTI people, as well as untold numbers of other people is mind boggling.
“Gay Marriage” (the phrase itself is a bastardization of both concepts) primarily affects upper middle class, conservative gay-mens’ tax and private insurance status, and is as contrived as it is irrelevant. Not only does it reinforces the reactionary right nuclear family model, but it in no way address the realities and necessities that affect contemporary cohabitation, child raising, and intimacy frameworks:
Single parenting, childcare, care for the sick and elderly, ongoing, structured, universal HIV treatment, workers rights and safety, migration issues, issues of ethnic and social justice, gender discrimination, wage issues, affordable housing, high quality, universally available primary, secondary, and higher education to name just a few. These, and many more are the real issues facing LGBTI people, not whether the few who can afford health insurance in the US can insure their lover at a reduced rate, or whether middle class (primarily) gay men may pay less tax by filing joint tax returns. The irrelevance of this issue might be negligible, if it were not that the prominence, and economic clout of this one particular issue obliterates the attention to what to my mind are more vital issues. I find this focus on the interests of a privileged few disturbingly in keeping with the present zeitgeist.
I never wanted to be “equal” to heterosexuals. In fact i suspect many straight-identified brothers and sisters could benefit from “queer” life designs more than is inversely the case. Divorce, domestic violence, child abuse rates, among other things do not bode well for the model character of the bourgeois “family”. I personally reject marriage, as i do most of the other bourgeois trappings people seem so intent on perpetuating at the moment. I do not question individuals right to get “married”. However, there is very little historical or theological basis for “marriage” between two people of the same sex, which suggest to me that we are called upon to devise a new concept rather than distend an old one and risk a Pyrrhic victory for LGBTI people, and perhaps for society in general. What deeply troubles me is the radically conservative world view implicit in extending the sacrament of marriage, and its political institutionalization to same sex couple whilst vital issues of basic survival and well-being not only for LGBTI people are being largely ignored.
And, as a bit of a footnote, i find it very telling that the second most prominent LGBTI issue of the day after “gay marriage” is “gays’” “right” to server in the US military. Honi soit qui mal y pense.
And before i have any neo-cons out there rubbing their erroneous little hands thinking, i might vote against “marriage equality”. Not a chance. This is an internal debate. United we stand.