03 April 2005

We Should Promote Same-Sex Marriage

I would like to direct your attention to Galois, a New York-based mathematician who blogs about same-sex marriage. In particular, his most recent post, titled Encourage, Not Just Permit, Same-Sex Marriage raises some good points. I think, however, that it is not radical enough. Gabriel continues to focus more on individual health than on broad trends in gender and sexuality in society, and in my response to his post I outline a much more radical argument as to why encouraging same-sex marriage is so important.

I will certainly have future posts in this space on the same topic. For my records, as much as your laziness, I will reprint all but the first two paragraphs of my response here (the first two paragraphs are directly addressed to Gabriel, and the third paragraph could be a first). I encourage your comments; they will help me develop this into a full essay.

Conservatives worry that SSM will threaten the institution of marriage, and they're right. Same-sex marriage does threaten the institution: specifically, it threatens the patriarchal, oppressive regime that is traditional heteronormative marriage. By legitimizing female-female and male-male romantic and sexual couples as the same as married female-male couples, SSM suggests that traditional marriages, with well-defined gender roles in which the women are regularly subordinate, are unneeded. A world with gender-neutral marriage is a world with gender-liberated and empowered marriages, in which women need not stay in their place and men can behave in manors traditionally feminine (and hence inferior). Many arch-conservatives are smart, and they know exactly what's going to happen. They're simply wrong about whether it's a good thing or a bad thing.

I support marriage equality primarily because it helps women. Perhaps, as an added benefit, it will discourage gay men from the kind of unsafe sex that continues to spread STDs even fifteen years after the AIDS epidemic became big news. There are many positive things about queer subcultures that should be adopted into mainstream culture and many things (like male promiscuity) that should not.

There has always been, in every culture, some form(s) of homosexuality, and most of them were/are tolerated, since they don't particularly threaten the patriarchy (e.g. Classical Greek and modern Catholic Bishop male-male pedophilia). Women and men have always been intimate with people of the same and different genders. The culture wars now center on a new, pernicious homosexuality that purports to establish gender as irrelevant.

That's the radical gay agenda, and that, not some concern over whether an individual homosexual has the best and healthiest family life, is why we should support same sex marriage.

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