While it has not been my habit to use this forum for political rants, my excitement over what is going on in the public sphere with same-sex marriage right now inclines me to do something new. But where do I begin?
Hopefully you are aware of the recent decision by a trial level federal judge in California finding that not allowing two people two marry based on the sole fact that they are of the same gender denies both the Due Process and Equal Protection clauses of the 14th Amendment to the United State’s Constitution. And that, therefore, the stakes are currently high on this issue for the entire country as the appeal makes its way up the court system.
The most important message I want to use my little soapbox to push is that it is so vital for straight people to get really passionate about marriage equality. And yes, as much as I hate to admit it, I am more or less straight, at best heteroflexible. In fact, mine is the male fantasy of female sexual orientation: I’m generally only attracted to girls when I’m having a three-or-more-some with a guy involved. If anything proves to me that you don’t choose your sexuality it’s how much I wish I was more bi! There would be a ridiculous amount of hot girl-sex available to me if I were… Anyway, the following is targeted towards people, particularly Americans, who don’t themselves expect to every want to marry someone of the same sex.
I’m not trying to convince people who are opposed to change their minds, so much as I want people who have casual positive or neutral feelings to get all riled up. Not because you should go out of your way to get involved with something that doesn’t affect you, but because you understand that it really does. Quietly participating in the benefits of heterosexuality is, at this point, fairly comparable to eating at a segregated lunch counter 40 years ago.
If you are okay with homosexual relationships, if you don’t think that it hurts anyone for everyone to get to pick a long term life partner of the gender they prefer, then your opinion acknowledges that your government is depriving a minority of an important right based on an unimportant reason. This should piss you the fuck off!!! So maybe for a long time now it’s been a depressing thing to get up in arms about, perhaps hopelessness has kept many of us quieter than we could have been. But now is a time when deciding that it’s safe to hope for change makes it possible to reach out and add your push to the momentum already in place.
I don’t believe that it takes a lot, and I myself am focusing on two simple things. First, I want to include the conversation in as many of my interactions with other people as possible, as I’m doing here. I think that the more often straight people are willing to make clear statements in support of same-sex marriage the faster discrimination towards GLBT people will dissolve. Even if the Supreme Court takes up the case and makes the broadest ruling upholding the decision possible, it isn’t enough, just as judicially forced integration did not finish dealing with the problem of racism. It simply removed the weight of the law from behind the traditional ignorance, fear, and hatred of that moment in history.
The second commitment I have made to myself is to boycott legal marriage until such time as marriage equality has been established at the federal level. I actually came to this decision many years ago, while in law school, and it has become even more important to me recently. The National Marriage Boycott does an excellent job advocating for this position, and have even designed a ring to signify the decision. (Which I have, it’s great!)
In addition to my patriotic commitment to not discriminating against groups without a really good reason (i.e. child molesters can’t adopt, stuff like that) I am also deeply offended by the primary argument Prop 8 proponents make for what a “good reason” looks like to them. Specifically, that the State has no interest in homosexual relationships because they don’t naturally lead to procreation. As a woman I’m pretty irritated by anyone who wants to make the argument that 1) the only reason I should get married is to be a regulated baby factory and 2) if I’m going to have sex at all I should get married just in case I accidentally get pregnant. Let’s get something straight — If I ever have kids, I’m not going to let them become tyrants of my life. I’m certainly not going to let kids that exist only in possibility force me into a lifetime commitment!
If you want to “protect” marriage, don’t you think you should side with the people who believe that it’s about far more than babies alone? And, the thing is, the Prop 8 proponents could literally point out only one difference between hetero and same-sex couples: some of the first can have babies the old-fashioned way. And if we accept that that difference is important then the classic sci-fi trope of reproductive machines under government control comes one click closer.
But, much more importantly, right now there are people suffering the lack of fundamental rights in a legal limbo. And it’s time, for me at least, to become really clear about how not okay I am with that.