Iowa & Vermont Bring About End of Days

Listen closely to this Valentine’s Day message from Suze Orman that aired on her show this year. After listening to this I had an epiphany: Gay Marriage is great for the singles rights movement. It is a crucial step in having all relationships valued equally. We could not ask for anything better. I will explain why…

I read the Iowa Supreme Court decision striking down the ban on gay marriage very closely this week. The county of Polk in Iowa, in defense of the ban, gave several justifications for the law. Among them were:

  • Same-sex couples cannot procreate naturally, therefore they    are not similarly situated with heterosexual couples and are not entitled to equal protection.

In their publication, “Marriage and the Law: A Statement of Principles”, the Institute for American Values and the Institute for Marriage and Family say the following:

  • Equality, intimacy, and benefits for adults are all important. But these adult needs cannot displace marriage’s central role in creating children who are connected to and loved by the mother and father who made them.
  • Family, as a social institution, is in a basic sense profoundly “about” (though not limited to ) children.
  • The custodians of marriage and family law cannot lose sight of the one crucial and irreplaceable social function of marriage and family: encouraging men and women to come together to give themselves to the next generation. (emphasis mine)

So as you see, folks, it’s all about the kids.

My partner and I were at his apartment one day about two years ago getting ready for dinner. We were having a conversation about gay marriage where I posed the question: What’s the big deal? Why does the Christian Right (and surprisingly so many others) have their collective panties in a bunch over this? We reasoned that the answer was privilege. When you are straight, married and have kids, you are in the Catbird Seat. You are made to feel as though you are doing the Lord’s work by raising the next generation of Americans. Since the beginning of time, this has been the justification for granting certain privileges to married couples exclusively. The State reasons that they need the economic and social privileges to make it as easy as possible for them to raise upstanding and productive members of society.

If gay marriage is allowed, the justification for the marital privilege is severely weakened. Look at the language in many of the court decisions speaking of marriage as a partnership between two people to share a life together and continually dismissing the importance of the “straight-marriage-is-the-optimal-environment-for-children” argument. The fact that heterosexual sex often times produces children is what has allowed married couples to keep riding the gravy train of benefits. If same-sex couples can get in on the game, it obliterates the essential argument of the Family Values crowd that justifies the special status of marriage: children. If marriage is about the adults and not the children, who cares who gets to do it? Also, marriage is a very gendered institution. The elimination of the idea that you have to divide labor according to gender is something else that religious conservatives are very uncomfortable with. Maybe without all the labor and decision-making divided according to who has a penis and who has a vagina, marriage will finally become what it should be: a true equal partnership.

So the Pro-Marriage Movement is absolutely correct: Gay Marriage does undermine straight marriage, but it does so in the best possible way! It also undermines “the family”, if your definition of family is so narrow that it only includes straight, married couples with children.

Talk amongst yourselves…

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4 responses to “Iowa & Vermont Bring About End of Days

  1. This is interesting–Bella DePaulo made a similar point in one of her recent posts, saying like you do that moral superiority is at the crux of the anti-gay-marriage movement: http://blogs.psychologytoday.com/blog/living-single/200904/marriage-wars-the-real-fight-is-over-moral-superiority

    I like how you went a step further and tied the court’s decision to the pro-singles movement though–saying that in this case, expanding the marriage blanket isn’t necessarily bad for singles–because by expanding marriage, we may actually be “devaluing” it, distracting it from its original heteronormative biases-and that’s good for singles in the long run.

    I can’t usually form a coherent thought before 9 am, so basically I just wanted to say–very interesting post, thanks.

    Christina

  2. Thanks, Christina! Always nice to hear from the ladies over at Onely…

  3. Pingback: Some Like It Single: The Unmarried Estate « Onely: Single and Happy

  4. Very interesting take- I hadn’t thought of it this way.

    I have to ask though, why children are used as justification to begin with. First of all there plenty of straight couples who get married with no intention of having kids, and plenty more who just can’t physically. No one questions them receiving the same privileges as a couple who has 10 kids.

    Also, why do people deserve extra benefits for having kids, especially from the public? Kids are little walking externalities- the more you have the more costs you are imposing on everyone else. And what about all the opportunity costs to society of being a parent? I find it completely nonsensical that say, a successful female doctor should be praised for quitting her job to raise children. Are the children expected to be more successful than she is? Why would it make sense, from a social standpoint, to place more importance on the next generation than your own?

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