Yes, my friends, mawwiage is what bwings us togethuh today. Mawwiage – that pwecious event, that dweam within a dweam…More specifically, same-sex marriage (gasp!). As the current Hot Topic, civil rights-wise, this issue has gotten a lot of coverage. I think it’s fairly obvious that this question serves as a proxy for people to advertise their views on LGBT rights in general. I haven’t seen any primary literature on the subject, but I imagine that there are very few people, if any, whose feelings on the specific issue of same-sex marriage differ greatly from their feelings on other queer rights-related issues, such as adoption or right to hold religious office. Marriage, in and of itself, is not the issue here. Intolerance is. But, since the prevailing struggle in this country is, presently, marriage, we will talk about marriage.
I just want to reiterate, for anyone who might not have gotten it the first time, that marriage is not the be-all and end-all issue for queer acceptance in this country. It is not an isolated question, it is not some unique arbitrary matter that everyone suddenly cares about for no good reason. It is the current battleground on which Bigotry is fighting against Acceptance. It is not the only battleground, or even (perhaps) the most important one. But, whichever side gains some ground finds their ultimate goal (societal shunning of those who are ‘different’ vs. the right to live one’s life undisturbed) that much easier to obtain. So, even though I personally feel that marriage is in some ways a flawed institution, and there are many reasons for everybody (queer or not) to take a good long look at its history and how it might affect your current life, the right to get married is a very important stepping stone in the journey to some kind of absolute acceptance (in addition to being a major goal in and of itself, for many people). So it is a worthy topic to spend a minute or 100 on.
The argument against same-sex marriage is frequently couched in terms calculated to not connote oppression of any particular group, but merely defending against some enemy or onslaught: “protection of marriage”, “defense of marriage”, “preservation of marriage”. And this word “marriage” is frequently modified by the moniker “traditional” – “preservation of TRADITIONAL marriage”, and so on. I could (and will, at some point) write a whole post about what is actually connoted by “traditional marriage” and how a lot of people don’t think about what means or doesn’t mean, and how arbitrary it is, but right now, for brevity and clarity’s sake, I will focus merely on the institution of marriage in the present-day United States.