Petra Quince (petra_quince) wrote,
Petra Quince

why bigots fear marriage

It's very late at night and I got caught up in an editorial dpolicar linked to about gay marriage. As Dave said, it leaves you gobsmacked. I just wrote what is pretty much a line-by-line rebuttal because that is how intensely wrong it is. Please be advised that there will be much cursing.

Here's the original article.

The Worst Thing About Gay Marriage
It isn't going to work.
by Sam Schulman
06/01/2009, Volume 014, Issue 35

There is a new consensus on gay marriage: not on whether it should be legalized but about the motives of those of us who oppose it. All agree that any and all opposition to gay marriage is explained either by biblical literalism or anti-homosexual bigotry. This consensus is brilliantly constructed to be so unflattering to those of us who will vote against gay marriage--if we are allowed to do so--that even biblical literalists and bigots are scrambling out of the trenches and throwing down their weapons.

Hmmm, I don't see how being called biblical literalists has actually been so unflattering to any biblical literalist that they have given up the anti-marriage crusade. And interesting interpretation on the second part - apparently, calling a bigot a bigot for holding a stance the author considers not bigoted will shame them enough to stop? Since when do bigots actually operate like that?

But I think that the fundamental objection to gay marriage among most who oppose it has very little to do with one's feelings about the nature of homosexuality or what the Bible has to say about sodomy. And of course, they have little to do with the unconscious biases that may be absorbed from growing up in a homophobic and religiously intolerant society...opponents to gay marriage are totally immune to that sort of thing.

The obstacle to wanting gay marriage is instead how we use and depend on marriage itself--and how little marriage, understood completely, affects or is relevant to gay people in love.The best person, of course, to determine what affects gay people in love, is naturally, a straight person. Gay marriage is not so much wrong as unnecessary.Oh, so there are no longer laws or policies affecting married people regarding medical visitation, insurance, taxes, inheritance, or a dozen other vital things? good to know!But if it comes about,you must have left out the qualifier "universally," or you could surely prove the social harm it's caused in those regions where it has come about, right? will not be gay marriage that causes the harm I fear, as what will succeed its inevitable failure.

The embrace of homosexuality in Western culture has come about with unbelievable speed--far more rapidly than the feminist revolution or racial equality. Less than 50 years ago same-sex sexual intercourse was criminal. Now we are arguing about the term used to describe a committed relationship. Is the right to marry merely lagging behind the pace with which gays have attained the right to hold jobs--even as teachers and members of the clergy; to become elected officials, secret agents, and adoptive parents; and to live together in public, long-term relationships? Bingo! And nice celebration of the rapid gains in civil rights progress gay people have made! You were celebrating that, right? 'Cause you're not a bigot or anything.And is the public, having accepted so rapidly all these rights that have made gays not just "free" but our neighbors, simply withholding this final right thanks to a stubborn residue of bigotry? Hey...he gets it!I don't think so.Of course.

When a gay man becomes a professor or a gay woman becomes a police officer, he or she performs the same job as a heterosexual. But there is a difference between a married couple and a same-sex couple in a long-term relationship. The difference is not in the nature of their relationship, not in the fact that lovemaking between men and women is, as the Catholics say, open to life. Though we'll mention it anyway, because many future statements will be made that depend on the idea of straight marriage as necessarily child-producing, and arguments will be used that could be made against allowing old or medically infertile individuals, or couples who don't intend to have kids, the right to marry. The difference is between the duties that marriage imposes on married people--not rights, but rather onerous obligations--which do not apply to same-sex love.

The relationship between a same-sex couple, though it involves the enviable joy of living forever with one's soulmate, loyalty, fidelity, warmth, a happy home, shopping, and parenting, is not the same as marriage between a man and a woman, though they enjoy exactly the same cozy virtues. These qualities are awfully nice, but they are emphatically not what marriage fosters,I'm beginning to understand why this guy has been divorced so many times, and, even when they do exist, are only a small part of why marriage evolved and what it does.We will deliberately trivialize what it has evolved into now and the functions that it serves for many, many straight couples for maximum!

The entity known as "gay marriage" only aspires to replicate a very limited, very modern, and very culture-bound version of marriage. Gay advocates have chosen wisely in this. They are replicating what we might call the "romantic marriage," a kind of marriage that is chosen, determined, and defined by the couple that enters into it. Romantic marriage is now dominant in the West and is becoming slightly more frequent in other parts of the world. But it is a luxury if you call hard-won legal rights luxeries and even here has only existed (except among a few elites) for a couple of centuries--and in only a few countries. The fact is that marriage is part of a much larger institution, which defines the particular shape and character of marriage: the kinship system.

The role that marriage plays in kinship encompasses far more than arranging a happy home in which two hearts may beat as onedespite the fact that that is one of the dominant cultural tropes of the last couple centuries--in fact marriage is actually pretty indifferent to that particular aim. Nor has marriage historically concerned itself with compelling the particular male and female who have created a child to live together and care for that child. It is not the "right to marry" that creates an enduring relationship between heterosexual lovers or a stable home for a child, but the more far-reaching kinship system that assigns every one of the vast array of marriage rules a set of duties and obligations to enforce. These duties and obligations impinge even on romantic marriage, and not always to its advantage. The obligations of kinship imposed on traditional marriage have nothing to do with the romantic ideals expressed in gay marriage.

Consider four of the most profound effects of marriage within the kinship system.

The first is the most important: It is that marriage is concerned above all with female sexuality.This would be abundantly correct if not for the present tense. The very existence of kinship depends on the protection of females from rape, degradation, and concubinage.I'm going to quote siderea's entire comment from Dave's journal here because it is so perfectly on target:

"That's what all that business about virginity and "protection" is about. It has nothing to do with protecting the persons of women from rape, it has to do with guarding their uteruses from other men's use.

"When men of goodwill, such as yourself,
[this is directed to Dave]are schnoockered by arguments from cultcons like this one, about "protecting women", they are enlisted in an antiwomen project under the guise of doing something reasonable and kind for women. Most liberal guys -- heck, these days, most liberal women -- have no idea what the other side is really on about.

"It is worth reminding oneself what the reaction is to a rape victim is in the societies that follow the model he espouses, because it is so very telling: the victim is at fault, and she will be stoned to death (Sharia), set on fire (India) imprisioned (Irish Catholicism), forced into prostitution (various), or otherwise viciously punished. As uncountable sermons through the last 2 millennia in the West have extolled: a woman's job is to protect the security of the uterus she has custody (but never ownership) of, and she who "fails to protect her honor" (chastity/virginity) is a failed (at best) or treasonous (at worst) guard of her master's property. No, traditional marriage is not a system that protects women. It protects men's interest in women's bodies. And it makes women enemies of their own bodies, owned by men."

Yes, a thousand times yes.

This is why marriage between men and women has been necessary in virtually every society ever known. Marriage, whatever its particular manifestation in a particular culture or epoch, is essentially about who may and who may not have sexual access to a woman when she becomes an adult, and is also about how her adulthood--and sexual accessibility--is defined. Again, until quite recently, the woman herself had
little or nothing to say about this, while her parents and the community to which they answered had total control. The guardians of a female child or young woman had a duty to protect her virginity until the time came when marriage was permitted or, more frequently, insisted upon. Wow, this is actually amazingly accurate and to the point. It's almost as though this guy has a semblance of understanding of the wretched state of women's rights before the first wave. This may seem a grim thing for the young woman--if you think of how the teenaged Natalie Wood was not permitted to go too far with Warren Beatty in Splendor in the Grass.Nice flippant dismissal there. How about looking at the last paragraph of siderea's example above? But the duty of virginity can seem like a privilege, even a luxury, if you contrast it with the fate of child-prostitutes in brothels around the world.MADONNA or WHORE. These are your only choices, you lucky would-be slut.No wonder that weddings tend to be regarded as religious ceremonies in almost every culture: They celebrate the completion of a difficult task for the community as a whole.Yep, all modern wedding toasts are really celebrating the protection of another female cooter from penetration by more than one dude.

This most profound aspect of marriage--protecting and controlling the sexuality of the child-bearing sex--is its only true reason for being, and it has no equivalent in same-sex marriage. The author willfully ignores the strides women have made in overcoming institutionalized patriarchy, and how that has profoundly changed the purpose of marriage for most couples in the Western world. Newsflash: men controlling womens' bodies is not actually obligatory or desirable! </b>Virginity until marriage, also not obligatory or desirable for all,arranged marriages,ditto the special status of the sexuality of one partner but not the otheryou mean how both partners are supposed to be virgins but there's a double standard so it's ok for men to dog around? ALSO NOT OBLIGATORY OR DESIRABLE. (and her protection from the other sex)which, as we covered before, is specious. Also, ignores the facts of marital rape, domestic violence, and most importantly that a wedding ring is not a magical force-field, nor is a husband legally obliged or free to dish out vigilante justice, as all of this "protection" talk implies--these motivating forces for marriage do not apply to same-sex

Second, kinship modifies marriage by imposing a set of rules that determines not only whom one may marry (someone from the right clan or family this type of constraint is hardly universal, and if you think it's desirable clearly you need to brush up your Shakespeare, of the right ageit's not just straight couples with big age differences that raise eyebrows. This is one of the many, many ways that the author works off of stereotypes and applies them to all gays and lesbians everywhere. And bisexuals are simply erased., with proper abilities, wealth, or an adjoining vineyardlife is not a regency romance for most straight couples these days, and thank heavens), but, more important, whom one may not marry. Incest prohibition and other kinship rules that dictate one's few permissible and many impermissible sweethearts are part of traditional marriage. This incest bushwah is one of the ugliest canards in this piece.Gay marriage is blissfully free of these constraints. There is no particular reason to ban sexual intercourse between brothers,WTF!? These relationships are already hugely taboo and banned under current law! The word "blissfully" is hugely telling about the author's bigoted, twisted ideas about gay desire, as though gays have been chomping at the bit now to legally marry their siblings or parents. They fucking have not. a father and a son of consenting age, or mother and daughter.Ditto fucking cubed. There may be some technical legal loophole now for these type of marriages but I am dead certain they have never been and will never be challenged, never mind successful.</b> There are no questions of ritual pollution: Will a hip Rabbi refuse to marry a Jewish man--even a Cohen--to a Gentile man?Um, that would unquestionably depend on that same rabbi's position about straight Jews marrying non-Jews. Many would object because of the kids, and there very well may be kids for the gay couple. Do Irish women avoid Italian women?Again, WTF? Is this meant as a joke? A same-sex marriage fails utterly to create forbidden relationships.Not only is the author is working from a stereotype of gays as so liscentious, nothing is taboo, he fails to acknowledge that not all sanctions are obligatory or desirable for straights. Oh no! An Irish and Italian might hook up! That would be terrible. We must maintain our prejudices at all costs. If Tommy marries Bill, and they divorce, and Bill later marries a woman and has a daughter, no incest prohibition prevents Bill's daughter from marrying Tommy. Let me fucking get this straight. You are worried that a child might marry their parent's ex-husband? First of all, that's not incest. It's gross, but it's not incest, and I'm pretty sure a staright version of that same scenario would be about as legal or as likely. Say Tammy marries Bill, and they divorce, and Bill later marries a woman and has a son, does the incest prohibition prevent the son from marrying Tammy? Yes? No? Who cares? How fucking likely is this scenario in anyone's case?? Laws preventing the latter case, if they exist, can easily be amended to apply to gay folks if necessary. The author raises the possibility of these scenarios, not because incest is part of the "gay agenda" but because it is revolting and frightening to most people. This kind of scaremongering fans the flames of prejudice, and yes, bigotry. The relationship between Bill and Tommy is a romantic fact, but it can't be fitted into the kinship system. Sure it can, at least those aspects of the system that are still relevant and beneficial.

Third, marriage changes the nature of sexual relations between a man and a woman. Sexual intercourse between a married couple is licit; sexual intercourse before marriage, or adulterous sex during marriage, is not.In that antiquated patriarchal version of the rulebook that you would like to impose on everyone, sure. You and religious literalists are on the same page here. Illicit sex is not necessarily a crime, but licit sexual intercourse enjoys a sanction in the moral universe,ahh, the moral universe, which is defined by patriarchal values and unchanging rules which everyone, absolutely everyone agrees to. By the way, what we saying up above, about the different special sexual statuses of a man and a woman? Where I presumed you meant virginity? If you meant to be consistent, you forgot to clarify here that sex between the unmarried couple is illicit, but sex the unmarried straight dude has with a whore (as opposed to the Madonna he's gonna marry) is just fine. however we understand it,No. However you understand it, from which premarital and extramarital copulation is excluded. More important, the illicit or licit nature of heterosexual copulation is transmitted to the child, who is deemed legitimate or illegitimate based on the metaphysical category of its parents' coition. Right! What would happen if we couldn't call a child a bastard and treat hir as inferior? The moral universe would fall apart. We can't have that.

Now to live in such a system, in which sexual intercourse can be illicit, is a great nuisance. Many of us feel that licit sexuality loses, moreover, a bit of its oomph. Gay lovers live merrily free of this system. Oh, those jolly gays! Dancin' and laughin' all the day away, without a care in the world! Asshole. The author presumes that no gay couples, even the married ones, have any sexual boundaries. There are no monogamous gay couples. There has never been cheating; no violations of trust. While many poly couples might be out there, and many that do not define themselves that way, most people, even the poly crowd, have some kind of limits, be it strict monogamy to not dating exes to always using protection. By pretending that gays have no boundaries, the author continues to forward the stereotype of gays as licentious and vapid. Can we imagine Frank's family and friends warning him that "If Joe were serious, he would put a ring on your finger"?a. I am sure versions of this conversation have already taken place and more and more such conversations will, especially as marriage rights expand and b. This conversation sucks, gay or straight, and is very much not Miss-Manners approved. Do we ask Vera to stop stringing Sally along? See above. Gay sexual practice is not sortable into these categories--licit-if-married but illicit-if-not no, not by ignorant straight dudes it's not (children adopted by a gay man or hygienically conceived by a lesbian mom can never be regarded as illegitimate).Well, at least he doesn't want to label these kids bastards? He seems less than thrilled, though. Neither does gay copulation become in any way more permissible, more noble after marriage.You know what? Fuck you. Noble? Seriously? Others may disagree with me, but in my book, sex may be fun, sublime, delicious, etc, but it is not a fucking noble activity. You think you were somehow exalted when you and wife one, two, or three were banging because you had rings on your fingers, you're off your gourd. Maybe you're a generous lover and spend hours downtown. Maybe you were a horny 17 year old who made a supreme effort not to get his dick wet until he met his blushing bride on your wedding night. That's nice. But the fucking, when it finally happens, it's probably awkward. It's probably uncomfortable or even painful and it's definitely going to be underwhelming. But one thing it is not and never will be is bloody noble. It is a scandal that homosexual intercourse should ever have been illegal, but having become legal, there remains no extra sanction--the kind which fathers with shotguns enforce upon heterosexual lovers.With no womb police, what's the point? Also, ignore the fact that social mores about fidelity exist and vary in gay social circles, because that would hurt my argument. I am not aware of any gay marriage activist who suggests that gay men and women should create a new category of disapproval for their own sexual relationships, after so recently having been freed from the onerous and bigoted legal blight on homosexual acts.Um, maybe because the"category of disapproval" was there all along? That homos get the same training in monogamy as straights do, and adhere to it or not at their discretion, just as straights do? That adultery laws are naturally going to apply to all marriages anyway? But without social disapproval of unmarried sex--what kind of madman would seek marriage?The kind that want legal protections to ensure they can visit loved ones in the hospital, keep their kids if their partner dies or splits, to inherit properly, to declare their love for their partner before their friends, loved ones, and entire community, to enjoy the thousand and one large and tiny civil liberties of marriage that are available to every straight citizen, I guess. Ooops, sorry, I meant freewheeling libertines who just don't know how good they have it. You fuckwit.

Fourth, marriage defines the end of childhood, sets a boundary between generations within the same family and between families, and establishes the rules in any given society for crossing those boundaries. Marriage usually takes place at the beginning of adulthood; it changes the status of bride and groom from child in the birth family to adult in a new family. In many societies, such as village India and Jewish Chicagoland, a new bride becomes no more than an unpaid servant to her mother- and sisters-in-law.Well that's just delightful, isn't it? That unpaid servant bit? Gay folk can't really appreciate the richness of marriage if one partner isn't exploited, and the would-be exploiters are just going to get hit up for shower presents with no submissive handmaidens thrown in to make it worth something. Even in modern romantic marriages, a groom becomes the hunting or business partner of his father-in-law and a member of his clubsoh,inevitably; never known a straight groom to pass on riding to hounds or joining the Drones. That would be unheard-of; a bride becomes an ally of her mother-in-law in controlling her husbandmaybe this guy could write a marriage manual! That would be awesome! say it with me: this behavior is neither common, obligatory nor desirable for straight couples. Why are you holding it up as the model gays will never live up to? Right, you're a bigot. There can, of course, be warm relations between families and their children's same-sex partners, but these come about because of liking, sympathy, and the inherent kindness of many people.ohh, the inherant kindness. hat a delightful code for saying some parents of gays are soo generous for tolerating that gay stuff what they would be totally excused for disinheriting the lot and never speaking to them again. Cookies for them. A wedding between same-sex lovers does not create the fact (or even the feeling) of kinship between a man and his husband's family; a woman and her wife's kin. Wow, way to project your homophobia all over every parent of a gay married couple there, ace. PFLAG will be so grateful that you've taken it upon yourself to be their spokesperson, despite not having any gay kids, married or not, yourself. It will be nothing like the new kinship structure that a marriage imposes willy-nilly on two families who would otherwise loathe each Don't you remember just above how you were saying marriages always need to be congruent with the needs of the family unit? You can't have your patriarchy cake and not eat the illogical frosting. What's with "willy-nilly?"

Marriage is also an initiation rite. Before World War II, high school graduation was accompanied by a burst of engagements; nowadays college graduation begins a season of weddings that go on every weekend for some years. In contrast, gay weddings are rather middle-aged affairs. My impression is borne out by the one available statistic, from the province of British Columbia, showing that the participants in first-time same-sex weddings are 13 years older, on average, then first-time brides-and-grooms. Committing to a partnership for life with a partner, especially one you have never slept with or cohabited with, should ideally be done before either of you are fully mature or know yourself or your partner very well. That's a sure recipe for success. Also, as Dave pointed out, there are many, many gay couples who would have married 15 years ago if they had the fucking right to at the time. Statistics? A little skewed. This feels about right. After all, declaring gay marriage legal will not produce the habit of saving oneself for marriage oh, you mean the virtue that is fully embraced now only by the group you made a point of distinguishing yourself from at the very beginning, religious folks? or create a culture which places a value on virginity or chastity (concepts that are frequently mocked in gay culture precisely because they are so irrelevant to gay romantic life).Gee, wouldn't it be funny if virginity and chastity were ever mocked in straight culture, or were irrelevant to many straights? But that would be ridiculous. Insert a link to ALL OF CULTURE FOR AS LONG AS HUMANS HAVE BEEN MAKING VOWS AND GETTING LAID. Aristophanes made fun of marriage and chastity, you illiterate fuckwad. (He made gay jokes too, actually. And fart jokes.) But virginity and chastity before marriage, license after--these are the burdens of real marriage, honored in spirit if not in letter,our sacred, honorable hypocricy, creating for women (women as modern as BeyoncéOoh, edgy pop-culture reference! he really "gets" it. No, seriously, she says "put a ring on it," I don't think she qualified that with, "unless yr a homo.") the right to demand a tangible sacrifice from the men who would adore them.Fuck you, you smug twerp. Gays can give each other rings, they just don't want or need dowries and that's ok.

These four aspects of marriage are not rights, but obligations. They are marriage's "a priori" because marriage is a part of the kinship system, and kinship depends on the protection, organization, and often the exploitation of female sexuality vis-à-vis males.You're just going to leave that hanging there, huh? No definitely saying you're for or against the exploitation of female sexuality, just it is what it is, amiright? None of these facts apply at all to love between people of the same sex, however solemn and profound that love may be. But if this state of affairs doesn't apply to gay folk, it's a priori awesome.In gay marriage there are no virgins you know, there may be. You simply do not know everything about everyone's sex lives, and believe it or not, that's none of your business. (actual or honorary)I love this. What does it mean? I think by "actual" he's saying gay people always no exceptions always have sex before marriage, but by "honorary," that's where it gets interesting. Because if two straight people get married after five years cohabitation and the bride wears a white dress there may be sniggering from the gossipy aunts but it's the thought that there's a virgin female that counts and if two dudes or ladies get married it means there's no chance a male is going to mark territory on a female body he's never marked before...there will be no defloweringno incest,fuck you and your toxic, homophobic bullshit no illicit or licit sex,ditto and see above, no merging of families,again, parents of gays thank you for all the good work you do speaking for them, no creation of a new lineage.Remember way back when I said that he was going to pretend his objections had nothing to do with being "open to life?" Oh, look, there it is, dressed up increasingly irrelevant clothing.There's just my honey and me, and (in a rapidly increasing number of U.S. states) baby makes three."New lineages" are obviously only valid when both parents' genetic material are included! Guess what straight parents who adopt or get IVF? By this logic, your babies are like gay peoples' babies! They totally don't count!

What's wrong with this? In one sense, nothing at all. Gays who marry can be congratulated or regarded as foolish based on their individual choices, just as I might covet or lament the women my straight friends espouse. In fact, gay couples who marry enter into a relationship that married people might envy. I encourage you to think of this like reverse racism...when someone with less privilege wins a right you have, they totally have things better than you! Gay marriage may reside outside the kinship system, except for all their, y'know, family but it has all the wedding-planning, nest-building fun of marriage but none of its rules or obligations (except the duties that all lovers have toward one another). Gay spouses have none of ourwatch that word very carefully, you homophobic dipshit guilt about sex-before-marriage. They have no tedious obligations towards in-laws,except the same obligations towards the parents of their spouses that straight people might have, minus most of the patriarchal crap. need never worry about Oedipus or Electra,yeah, they don't need to worry because because they are not any more or less inclined to incest than the rest of the population, you hateful piece of shit won't have to face a menacing set of brothers or aunts should they betray their spouse.nice job with three flawed ideas in one, that is: a. that gays never care about fidelity that b. families of gay couples can't incorporate their child's spouse into the family and c.there is something commendable about relatives "menacing" those who step out sexually. But without these obligations--why marry? Gay marriage is as good as no marriage at all.Oh you merry gay scamps! Lemme tousel your hair and tell you all about how you're so much better off without rights since you're not good enough for them and are just going to break them anyhow.

Sooner rather than later, the substantial differences between marriage and gay marriage will cause gay marriage, as a meaningful and popular institution, to fail on its own terms. Wait, I thought you said it was just going to be all perks and no drawbacks, remember? Why would any institution so unambiguously advantageous ever fall out of favor? Since gay relationships exist perfectly well outside the kinship system,again, you need a straight guy's perspective to really understand how good gays have it to assume the burdens of marriage--the legal formalities, the duty of fidelity (which is no easier for gays than it is for straights),woah, woah, hold on there, you just spent paragraphs upon paragraphs insisting that not only do gay married folk not have these same responsibilities, sorry, "burdens," as straights, but that it is impossible for them to take them on. What changed?the slavishly imitative wedding ritualgawd, gays are so conventional--will come to seem a nuisance.Ahh, right, it's going to get in the way of the orgies and things. That'll be a drag. People in gay marriages will discover that mimicking the cozy bits of romantic heterosexual marriage does not make relationships stronger; romantic partners more loving, faithful, or sexy; domestic life more serene or exciting. "Mimicking," nice word choice there, doesn't reveal any bias or undermine all your sensitive talk of "the enviable joy of living forever with one's soulmate, loyalty, fidelity, warmth, a happy home, shopping, and parenting" that you earlier admitted gay married couples enjoy" at all.They will discover that it is not the wedding vow that maintains marriages, but the force of the kinship system. Kinship imposes duties, penalties, and retribution that champagne toasts, self-designed wedding rings, and thousands of dollars worth of flowers are powerless to effect.Mmm, duties, penalties and retribution: making loving marriages loving-er since day one.

Few men would ever bother to enter into a romantic heterosexual marriage--much less three, as I have done--were it not for the iron grip of necessity that falls upon us when we are unwise enough to fall in love with a woman other than our mom.Don't you want him to be a marriage counselor? I could hire him once I trap a man! Also, what about the lesbians? There would be very few flowerings of domestic ecstasy were it not for the granite underpinnings of marriage.I guess promising to spend a lifetime together in sickness and in health just doesn't cut it in the underpinnings department. Gay couples who marry are bound to be disappointed in marriage's impotence without these ghosts of past authority.Do you want to take a poll of married gay people and see if any of them actually agree with you? Or is it more fun just speaking for them? Marriage has a lineage more ancient than any divine revelation,yeah! it's awesome because it's old! and before any system of law existed, kinship crushed our ancestors with complex and pitiless rules about incest, family, tribe, and totem.And we must follow the most restrictive, reactionary interpretations of that system unquestioningly! Because I say so! Gay marriage, which can be creatednot created, upheld by any passel of state supreme court justices with degrees from middling law schools,oohhh, burn! lacking the authority and majesty of the kinship system,like always-majestic straight marriage, which may be sanctified in 24-hour a day chapels and dissolved a week later will be a letdown.

When, in spite of current enthusiasm, gay marriage turns out to disappoint or bore because you know gays, especially those oldsters; always seeking out novelty like "right to hospital visits" and "child custody" for novelty's sake. the couples now so eager for its creation, its failure will be utterly irrelevant for gay people. The happiness of gay relationships up to now has had nothing to do with being married or unmarried; nor will they in the future. Again, just ask a straight person, always the authority on gay happiness. I suspect that the gay marriage movement will be remembered as a faintly humorous, even embarrassing stage in the liberation saga of the gay minority. The archetypal gay wedding portrait--a pair of middle-aged women or paunchy men looking uncomfortable in rented outfits worn at the wrong time of day--is destined to be hung in the same gallery of dated images of social progress alongside snapshots of flappers defiantly puffing cigarettes and Kodachromes of African Americans wearing dashikis.Wow. The freedom of gays to live openly as they please will easily survive the death of gay marriage.Hey, straight dude. Let's let someone actually invested in the survival of their marriage make that kind of claim.

So if the failure of gay marriage will not affect gay people, who will it hurt? Only everybody else.Oh, but you are invested? So sorry, I didn't realize you stood so much to lose. Oh no...would it confuse a kindergarten student? That would be horrible.

As kinship fails to be relevant to gays, well, your version of it, which frankly is not relevant to the mainstream, gay or straight, at all, it will become fashionable to discredit it for everyone.Newsflash: it already is fashionable! But guess what? Correlation does not equal causation. The irrelevance of marriage to gay people will create a series of perfectly reasonable, perfectly unanswerable questions: If gays can aim at marriage, yet do without it equally well, who are we to demand it of one another? Umm, wasn't the question of "if you don't have to, why bother" already raised when women began to support themselves and again when cohabitation became ok? This is not a new question for straight people, it's an old question with "gays aiming at marriage" replacing "fish without bicycles" or "cohabitating couples." Who are women to demand it of men?This is going to sound crazy, but marriage isn't something anyone should demand of anyone! Who are parents to demand it of their children's lovers um, nobody, because unless you come from a tradition of arranged marriages (where even then, the potential spouses should always have the final say) parents are really meant to butt out of their adult children's love lives--or to prohibit their children from taking lovers until parents decide arbitrarily they are "mature" or "ready"WTF does issue that effects parents of pubescent kids who are moving fast, have to do with gay marriage? Let me explai has fuckall to do with it. By what right can government demand that citizens obey arbitrary and culturally specific kinship rules--rules about incest and the age of consent, rules that limit marriage to twosomes?fucking marshmallow pogo sticks. We covered the incest thing, the "problem" is in your own dirty mind. You just brought up age of consent, and it has absolutely nothing to do with the issue at hand, except to leave a bad taste in the minds of anyone on the fence about the issue, because all their lives they have been fed lives about how gay men want to be with little boys, and this may make a subconscious connection there. As for the last bit, well, this is the only part I agree with you about, insofar as any victory for civil rights leaves the door open a bit wider to progressive thinking, and I think America may be in a position to consider letting poly people have marriage structures that accord with their relationship structures. However, I'm fine with this. Mediocre lawyers can create a fiction called gay marriage,way to dismiss reality, that's a winning tactic but their idealism can't compel gay lovers to find it useful.Yep, gay folks were really fine with the status quo until them big city lawyers from up East got them all riled and uppity. Used to be they knew their place. But talented lawyers will be very efficient at challenging the complicated, incoherent, culturally relative survival from our most primitive social organization we call kinship.You say tomahto, I say gay people have been advocating for their civil rights and some courageous lawyers saw fit to help them. The whole set of fundamental, irrational assumptions that make marriage such a burden and such a civilizing force can easily be undone.Really, these assumptions, your word, not mine, can be "easily" challenged and overcome? Yeah, I don't buy that. But I still think it's worth doing!

There is no doubt that women and children have suffered throughout human history from being over-protected and controlled.No. Fucking. Shit. The consequences of under-protection and indifference will be immeasurably worse.This level of misogynistic delusion is both terrifying and...hilarious. Fist, the idea that gay marriage is going to be single-handedly responsible for breaking down all the patriarchal values the author associates with kinship, and then to fear-monger that women and children will suffer for it. In a world without kinship, women will lose their hard-earned status as sexual beings with personal autonomy and physical security.Black is white. 2+2=5. We have always been at war with Eastasia. As long as women are confined to a system that enforces chastity, they'll have control over their sexuality. My head: officially exploded. Children will lose their status as nonsexual beings.wtfwtfwtfwtfwtfwtf you fear-mongering piece of shit. You soooo eager to spread the idea of gays preying on children, but you can't come out and say it, because mean people would call you a bigot, and that would hurt your feelings, and maybe even your reputation. It would be impossible for you to do anything bigoted, even if you link two completely different subjects, child molestation and gay marriage together, in an effort to make people come to associate the two together, even though they have FUCKALL to do with one another! Great job at that non-bigot stuff!

Kinship creates these protections by adding the dimension of time, space, and thought to our sense of ourselves as food-eating, sex-having, child-rearing creatures.Whatever. That's purple even for me. It makes us conscious not only of our parents and siblings but of their parents and siblings--our ancestors and our group identity. The family relations kinship creates--parents, godparents, uncles and sisters-in-law, cousins, clan, tribe, kingdom, nation--expand our sense of where we live and how we live. You know, if you replace the author's loaded fetish word "kinship" here with the word "family" I'd buy it. In our thought, kinship forces us to move beyond thoughtless obedience to instinct: It gives us a morality based on custom,which is never thoughtlessly obeyed "always adaptable and susceptible to the nuance of the situation."Um, whatever. It makes past experience relevant to current behavior (I quote Michael Oakeshott and paraphrase Peter Winch) and gives us the ability to choose one way of conduct rather than another--the ability which Oakeshott says brings the moral life into being. The commonality of incest prohibitionsseriously. How many times can you drag incest into a conversation where it has nothing to do with anything? and marriage rules from one community to another is a sign that we have moved from unselfconscious instinct-obedience (which works well enough to avoid parent-child incest in other speciesUm, the animal kingdom is brimming with incest, chucklehead) to the elaboration of human kinship relationships in all their mutations and varieties--all of which have the same core (the organization of female sexuality,Oh, I like the weasel word "organization" here, where you able to use the honest word "control" before. Whatever, "organization" is still totally sexist, as though female sexuality was so messy and in need of control that only a big strong patriarchy could put it to rights. the avoidance of incestthere it is again! ten points!) but exist in glorious variety. Ok, so let me see if I've really absorbed that last statement. Since many culture have some similar rules and taboos means we have moved away from nature, which actually already has mechanisms in place to achieve the same ends(although it really doesn't) but really all of which come down to controlling women in many totally awesome ways. Not only are you an absolutely crap anthropologist, your vision of marriage is one of the bleakest, most joyless things I've ever encountered. Bravo. Like the other great human determinant, language, kinship is infinitely variable in form but exists in some form everywhere.This means nothing but sounds good and has big words.

Can gay men and women be as generous as we straight men are?The fucking. Gall. Will you consider usyou are not speaking for all straight men here, you homophobic bigot as men who love, just as you do, and not merely as homophobes or Baptists? Why think mean thoughts about the people who want to take your rights away. Oh, and conflating homophobes with Baptists, that's hilarious and shows not an ounce of religious bigotry! Every day thousands of ordinary heterosexual men surrender the dream of gratifying our immediate erotic desires.Except the ones that have gratified them many times either with their new bride or some other woman. Instead, heroically, resignedly, we march up the aisle with our new brides, starting out upon what that cad poet Shelley called the longest journey, attired in the chains of the kinship system--a system from which you have been spared.Fucking hell. I don't even have the words. Heroic straight men with noble blue balls are falling on knives, people, putting on chains, knowing that from now on, they have a vagina to be in charge of, and they can never, ever rest easy again. Where are the medals. Where are the parades. This, this right here, is sacrifice. And gays? Gays don't have to worry about family, or responsibility, or most importantly, vagina monitoring, which is by god the toughest, most noble job there is. Imitate our self-surrender. If gay men and women could see the price that humanity--particularly the women and children among us--will pay, simply in order that a gay person can say of someone she already loves with perfect competence, "Hey, meet the missus!"--no doubt they will think again. If not, we're about to see how well humanity will do without something as basic to our existence as gravity. I can't fucking wait.

Sam Schulman, a writer in Virginia, was publishing director of the American and publisher of  Wigwag. petra_quince, a bookstore drone living in Brighton, Massachusetts, wants all her friends and loved ones to enjoy civil rights.
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