I never wanted to walk down the aisle in a white dress. I never fantasized about what my wedding would look like or where my honeymoon would be. Perhaps I wasn’t a “normal” teenaged girl, or maybe because I am gay, I thought it would never be possible for me. Either way marriage wasn’t something that I cared about or that occupied any of my mental energy.
I articulate my thoughts regarding marriage as historically supporting a sexist society in which the marriage institution ensures the biological lineage of property distribution along patriarchal lines of the upper classes, while relegating women and children to the role of chattel. The fact is that traditional views of marriage perpetuate not only strict gender roles that are disempowering to both sexes, but also solidified wealth disparities and the class/caste system. While modern visions of marriage in the United States have destroyed the extended family and further isolated people from support systems and family assistance which places a myriad of stresses on the insular family unit.
I am not a fan of the “traditional” single family unit myth that is perpetuated in the US media and entertainment lexicon. But then I am not a big fan of monogamy or other social norms that are perpetuated as the “only way”.
However, I support gay marriage.
I seriously doubt I will ever have a state recognized marriage. I support those people who want to have that recognition and who happen to love same gendered individuals, but really that isn’t my true reason for supporting marriage equality.
This is about civil rights.
I am not delusional enough to believe this society will ever jettison marriage as the basis of the family unit. I hope we can modify the definitions and allow people the freedom to love and form acknowledged units they way they see fit, but really what marriage equality is about for me is gaining equal civil rights status for LGBT peoples.
Now I am going to get all geeky lawyer on you. In the United States our supreme law of the land is the Constitution and the first ten amendments to that Constitution are called the Bill of Rights. (Remember civics class) Under the US Constitution marriage has been deemed as a fundamental human right, on a par with freedom of religion or freedom of speech. In 1967, the Supreme Court heard the case of Loving v. Virginia, 388 U.S. 1 (1967). The case was one of an interracial couple whose marriage wasn’t recognized in the state of Virginia, the court in a unanimous decision stated that marriage, as a fundamental human right, couldn’t be limited by the state’s discriminatory policy.
The court wrote:
“Marriage is one of the “basic civil rights of man,” fundamental to our very existence and survival…. To deny this fundamental freedom on so unsupportable a basis as the racial classifications embodied in these statutes, classifications so directly subversive of the principle of equality at the heart of the Fourteenth Amendment, is surely to deprive all the State’s citizens of liberty without due process of law. The Fourteenth Amendment requires that the freedom of choice to marry not be restricted by invidious racial discrimination. Under our Constitution, the freedom to marry, or not marry, a person of another race resides with the individual and cannot be infringed by the State.”
Marriage equality is a very good legal strategy to seek equal rights under the Constitution for the LGBT community. It doesn’t really matter if you believe in marriage or not, this is about acknowledgement of rights held by the majority extended to a minority. That is the first step on a path of equality.
Therefore I, the marriage nonbeliever, support marriage equality. So, even if you think gay marriage doesn’t affect you; support marriage equality for the same reason I do.
Everyone deserves acknowledgement of his or her basic human rights.