The queer argument against marriage

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Sharon
The queer argument against marriage

 

Sharon

quote:


Karen Andrews, known for her involvement in a case to get same-sex health benefits, is adamantly opposed to same-sex marriage. “It's as if the feminist critique of marriage doesn't exist. And you know feminism is near and dear to the hearts of lesbians. It's as if it's all been forgotten — and it's a very legitimate critique that marriage is an institution that is beyond rehabilitation.”

[url=http://www.rabble.ca/news_full_story.shtml?sh_itm=67a898ca99a96c54a0373b... Full story [/url]

audra trower wi...

Oh whatever. So if a lesbian feminist and her partner are delighted to hear the news about same sex marriage laws changing, and can't wait to get married, they're ... just plain wrong?

I'm not sure one feminist can decide what's a happy thing for all feminists. I didn't sign on for that.

This post is dedicated to the awesome Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon, who just got married in San Francisco, after spending over 50 years together:

[img]http://sfgate.com/chronicle/pictures/2004/02/13/ba_gaywed_01_lm.jpg[/img]

[ 13 February 2004: Message edited by: audra estrones ]

Whazzup?

quote:


Karen Andrews, known for her involvement in a case to get same-sex health benefits, is adamantly opposed to same-sex marriage.

Here a radical idea: THEN DON'T GET MARRIED!! Why is this such a hard idea for some people?

Are you a man opposed to homosexuality? Then don't have sex with men. A woman opposed to lesbianism? Then don't have sex with women. Anybody opposed to gay marriage? Then don't bloody well marry your gay partner.

Here's another radical idea. Next time you want to write an article about attitudes towards marriage, the family, and gay marriage in particular, go out and speak to real, live gay people -- not their prententious pseudo-representatives in academia.

Michelle

Is she saying that she wants to make the decision for all gays about whether they want to get married or not, or is she saying that in her opinion, marriage is such a fundamentally flawed institution that most gays won't bother?

I don't think she's trying to say that gays shouldn't be allowed to get married. I think she's wishing for a return to feminist critiques of marriage as an institution, which she feels are being overshadowed by this rush for everyone to get married. It's a perfectly legitimate viewpoint.

As for the anti-intellectual "pretentious academics" slur, give me a break. Her article was well-written, well-argued, interesting, and written with as little jargon as possible. Just because you don't agree with it doesn't make it some kind of elitist academic tripe.

Jimmy Brogan

quote:


elitist academic tripe

Thanks Michelle, I was searching for a pithy summary of Ms. Andrews' musings. [img]tongue.gif" border="0[/img]

[ 13 February 2004: Message edited by: JimmyBrogan ]

UTQueer

quote:


Here a radical idea: THEN DON'T GET MARRIED!! Why is this such a hard idea for some people?
...
Here's another radical idea. Next time you want to write an article about attitudes towards marriage, the family, and gay marriage in particular, go out and speak to real, live gay people -- not their prententious pseudo-representatives in academia.


Marriage is not value-neutral. It privileges certain kinds of relationships over others and thus affects all of us, whether or not we choose to get married. The issue demands a less superficial analysis than what you are presenting.

As for your radical idea, how about taking your own advice. Lots of real, live gay people over the years have spoken & written over the years with criticisms of marriage generally, and its impact on our communities specifically, but strangely, the only queers that some people (especially "straight allies" and the media) take the time to listen to and engage with are the ones who seek to mimic and validate hetero relationship models.

My post is dedicated to DR & GH who have been in a loving queer relationship for 20+ years and aren't getting married.

Newbie

I very much resent the implication that gays and lesbians who marry are mimicking heterosexuals -- and needless to say there are plenty of heterosexual relationships around that aren't based on old stereotypes either. I have a hard time picturing Audra or Michelle flitting about the kitchen in an apron and fetching hubby's slippers when he gets home! (Although if that actually is their thing, more power to 'em! [img]wink.gif" border="0[/img] )

Queers who marry are getting legal recognition for their relationship. Period. What that relationship is, is up to them, and none of the queer married couples I know have a relationship that looks at all like Ward and June Cleaver's.

As a friend of mine joked, at his wedding instead of having groom's side and bride's side for seating, they'll have "slept with the grooms" and "haven't slept with the grooms."

I think the world would be a lot better off if some people didn't take it upon themselves to let others know how they think they should live -- and I say this as someone who has no intention of marrying.

To me the feminist movement is about empowering women be who and what they want to be, and the same thing for the gay movement.

[ 13 February 2004: Message edited by: Newbie ]

Whazzup?

quote:


Originally posted by Newbie:
[b]I think the world would be a lot better off if some people didn't take it upon themselves to let others know how they think they should live.[/b]

You're a dreamer, Newbie -- an incorrigible dreamer.

I get so tired of hearing bigots say that allowing gays to marry will somehow devalue the institution of marriage. Now I get the same crap from the other side, which says that gays marrying will devalue queer culture. Why don't both sides just piss off snd let people be what they want to be?

Erstwhile Erstwhile's picture

quote:


Originally posted by UTQueer:
[b]

Marriage is not value-neutral. It privileges certain kinds of relationships over others and thus affects all of us, whether or not we choose to get married. The issue demands a less superficial analysis than what you are presenting.

[/b]


How is this an argument against marriage as such? There are plenty of legal relationships that grant rights and responsibilities not available to anyone outside of that relationship.

The problem is when only heterosexuals, for instance, are allowed to marry. Then that privilege is not available to everyone.

Seems to me that it actually [i]is[/i] a pretty simple analysis. You can get married, or if you don't want to get married, draft up a legal cohabitation agreement. (Or don't draft up an agreement...but then you run the risk of a court determining your rights and responsibilities when the relationship ends.)

I honestly don't see the big deal.

Actually I have more of a problem when the government or the courts dictate that people who [i]don't[/i] get married are treated as if they [i]did[/i] - for example, if you cohabit in Saskatchewan for more than two years, you are deemed to be spouses for the purposes of the Family Property Act and every other statute in the province. (Of course as with most such initiatives, I recognize there are good and valid reasons for this one...I just tend not to agree with it.)

swallow swallow's picture

One of the queer theory people calls gay marriage

quote:

this hegemonic bargain where legitimacy is offered at an afforded price

... which is an incredible insult to those who have fought for the right to be considered equal -- not "separate but equal", not "normal" but equal.

quote:

Noble's point is also that, while important, gay marriage is by no means the end of the struggle. “My concerns are that there is a perception amongst gay activists, or at least the ones who make the news clips, that somehow 'we' are now liberated.

Anyone who thinks gay marriage is the end of the struggle clearly hasn't been gay-bashed lately. But i have not met a single person who thinks that. None of the gay-marriage campaigners do. Not even, despite his opening words uttered in a well-deserved moment of celebration, Michael Leshner.

There is a great deal to be said for academics who do queer theory. There's a great deal to be said for deconstructing marriage. But this queerer-than-thou backlash is appalling, and it only serves the anti-gay-marraige crowd. (Or, to put it in their terms: their critique is not deployed in a value-neutral arena, but rather on contested terrain on which the hegemomic hetero-normative and heterosexist assumptions are still potent; thus a critique intended radically is employed by those who would question equality rights, resulting in a critique with the conservative effect of furnishing rhetorical ammunition to the defenders of the "traditional" family.)

The attack here seems to boil down to: let's not make gay marriage our only issue. Agreed. The critics here ought to spend more time campaigning on the other fronts then, and less on slagging the equal-marriage campaigners.

Newbie

A difference between marriage and queer-bashing, school bullying, etc., is that this is a "stroke of the pen" type of issue of legal equality. If only we could eliminate those things so easily, but I do believe that making it clear as strongly as possible that society values gays and gay relationships just as strongly as straight ones will go a long way to solving those problems.

There has been far too much tolerance of homophobia by allowing them to portray homosexuality as a moral issue -- which is as appalling as former Mormon beliefs that black people bore the mark of Cain and were damned.

Those worried about marriage would be best advised to devote their energies to issues like those, rather than trying to piss on people in love, young and old, some of whom, like Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon, have been waiting 50 and 60 years for this day.

People like Karen Andrews and Eleanor Brown should be sick to their stomachs at their cruelty, because that's what it really is. How fucking DARE they?

I think the biggest threat to queers has always been the closet and legalizing marriage is a huge blow to that institution.

I remember the same arguments about the armed forces, how somehow gay people shouldn't want to serve in the army. And in all honesty, I don't have any desire to serve in the army, but that has nothing to do with being gay.

I'm tired of anyone who thinks that being gay should necessarily mean anything more than being straight does. And that includes any notion that we are or should somehow be nobler or form our relationships based on theories, rather than real life.

As some of you may be aware, CBC News Sunday will be broadcasting a live, same-sex wedding tomorrow morning from 10 AM to noon local time (OK, so only live in the Atlantic provinces)

It was originally to include panelists from both sides of the issue, but at the last minute those opposed pulled out and accused the CBC of bias.

These are, of course, pretty much the same people who accused Belinda Stronach of cowardice for refusing to debate on Newsworld!

[url=http://tinyurl.com/2hpvy]http://tinyurl.com/2hpvy[/url] for the release.

jeff house

When the NAACP filed the lawsuit which ended Virginia laws against "miscegenation", many black militants said it was a diversion from more important struggles. In particular, they said that real black revolutionaries would never marry a white woman.

But thirty years after the case was successful, it is hard to argue that, as a matter of pure principle, it was extremely important.

I think that is the value of the gay marriage cases; even if no one wants to do it, it is important that they are allowed to.

Michelle

I agree. I wasn't saying that there is actually a valid argument against ALLOWING gays and lesbians to get married, and I doubt the author is saying that it should remain illegal. I think the author is saying there's a valid argument against participating in the institution of marriage and she outlines that argument. She's not holding a gun to anyone's head to agree with her.

I also liked what UTQueer had to say. Expressed much better than I did.

As for you, Newbie...

quote:

I have a hard time picturing Audra or Michelle flitting about the kitchen in an apron and fetching hubby's slippers when he gets home!

Hee hee. I can just about see that. Maybe as a roleplaying thing once in a while, but... [img]biggrin.gif" border="0[/img]

Seriously though, I don't think that's what people mean when they're talking about validating hetero relationship models. On the other hand, most gays and lesbians (and straights too) have grown up either within a hetero relationship model (nuclear family, two parents and kids) or at least in a society where that relationship model is the standard, so it's not surprising that people would feel most comfortable participating in some form of it.

But I also don't think it's a terrible thing for that relationship model to be questioned and challenged. Heck, I'm a straight person who questions the validity of the dominant relationship model - that relationships "progress" to the point where two people commit to spending the rest of their lives living together (whether with a marriage certificate or without it). Maybe it's something people think about more after they've either tried it and had it not work out (like me) or when they've been excluded from the recognized institution of it (like gays and lesbians).

In any case, criticism of the dominant hetero relationship model is not only an academic exercise. For some of us, it's a real, personal philosophical question that we struggle with, the answer to which affects our lives in real ways when it comes to deciding what kind of relationships we want to pursue.

Tommy_Paine

I'm given to understand that legal marriage, and I assume the inclusion of gay couples in common law marriage, will endow them with certain important rights they were previously denied.

It also includes responsibilities under the family law act, and I wonder if the author of the article is dressing up what is in fact cold feet.

I've often joked about how, speaking as a hetero divorced guy, just what a pyrrhic victory ssm will be.

Not so funny, perhaps, when the first lesbian feminist has to pay spousal support.

[ 14 February 2004: Message edited by: Tommy_Paine ]

Michelle

quote:


Originally posted by Tommy_Paine:
[b]Not so funny, perhaps, when the first lesbian feminist has to pay spousal support.[/b]

I feel kind of resentful about this comment, considering that I am a straight feminist who gladly pays child support now that I'm working because I want my son to have what he needs, and because I believe strongly in the feminist principle of child support (and spousal support in cases where one partner stayed at home raising a family, until that person has had reasonable time to get on their feet and support themselves - I don't believe in spousal support for life, and I consider myself a feminist).

I'm sure I'm not the only woman who pays support to an ex-spouse, whether child or spousal. And it wouldn't be surprising if some of us women who pay support to former spouses were feminist AND lesbian.

'lance

quote:


...former Mormon beliefs that black people bore the mark of Cain and were damned.

< drift >

Bad theology, that. Cain's mark -- so goes the story -- was a sign that he was under God's protection.

< /drift >

Tommy_Paine

Seeing that we see eye to eye on the subject of spousal support and other responsibilities I'm having difficulty understanding your resentment.

I bet there are, somewhere, "feminist lesbians" paying spousal support.

Н guess I'm just saying that with rights will come responsibilities, and when more gay people start to be exposed to the machinations of family law, perhaps their activism will find a new outlet.

John K

quote:


It's as if it's all been forgotten — and it's a very legitimate critique that marriage is an institution that is beyond rehabilitation.”

Why is it wrong for an "insult puppet" to tell a Francophone Quebecois to speak another language (and I agree it's wrong), but it's okay for this author to tell hundreds of millions of us who find love, support, joy, fulfilment, commitment and equality in marriage that we are involved in "an institution that is beyond rehabilitation?"

What gives this author the right to stand in judgment over others (gay or straight)?

[ 14 February 2004: Message edited by: John K ]

Rufus Polson

It seems to me that besides everything else, the arguments against marriage that are advanced in the article are very poor arguments--and poorer with respect to gay marriage than to straight marriage.

The article refers to marriage as "one of the success stories of capitalism.” It defends this idea by noting that "As Sandell also points out, there have been all kinds of extended families and kinship relationships throughout the historical period and the nuclear family has never necessarily been predominant."

The second statement is true enough. But it has nothing to do with marriage or capitalism. The fact is, marriage is *not* associated particularly with either capitalism or the nuclear family. Extended families and so forth have had marriage as an integral part of them under feudalism and before, in hunter-gatherer societies the world over--it is hard to find a society anywhere in the world, from India to pre-Columbian BC, in which marriage does not play a very prominent role. Heck, it could be plausibly argued that *not* marrying is something closely associated with the commoditization and fragmentation of late capitalism. The whole "marriage is capitalist" thing, which I've heard before, strikes me as self-conscious, precious theorizing which makes a bare pretence of historical grounding. Frankly, it seems to me like someone said "it's cool to be transgressive and deconstruct stuff, and I wanna be cool. So here's the bold transgressive conclusion I want to draw, and I'll throw together some patter that sounds like it justifies it." Which is, frankly, the kind of thing that gives academia a bad name.

Meanwhile, there is a mention of gay critique of marriage as essentially a continuation of feminist critiques of marriage. But that strikes me as problematic. First, because it's clearly not a critique that is universally agreed on among feminists; I've known plenty feminists get married. Second, because feminist critiques of marriage presumably are based on the idea that in this patriarchal institution the guy will tend to be dominating the woman. OK, so let's see--in a gay marriage, which same-sex partner is going to be prompted by the institution to dominate the other? If anything, the existence of gay marriage improves the institution as a whole, as an example of truly equal marriage which could help to inform assumptions about what marriage should be.

Michelle

All feminists do not have to embrace a critique in order for it to be a feminist critique, for the very reason you mention - because feminism isn't a monolith and there are many different feminist viewpoints.

Tommy, the reason I felt resentful was because you said something about "when the first lesbian feminist has to pay spousal support" which has three assumptions in it: 1. that no lesbian feminists have had to pay spousal support up to this point, 2. that all lesbian feminists agree on the issue of spousal support, and 3. that those lesbian feminists who do believe in spousal support but who haven't had to pay it would become hypocritical on the subject once they are on the receiving end of the spousal support order.

Maybe you didn't mean it that way, but I think that is what your comment implied.

Newbie

quote:


Originally posted by Michelle:
[b]I think the author is saying there's a valid argument against participating in the institution of marriage and she outlines that argument. [/b]

One can't argue against an institution (same-sex marriage) that has existed for less than a year using the same arguments one could use against opposite-sex marriage.

The fact of the matter is, she knows nothing about same-sex marriage or what it will be like -- but she's against it. That's not arguing, that's expressing her prejudices.

Rufus Polson

quote:


Originally posted by Michelle:
[b]All feminists do not have to embrace a critique in order for it to be a feminist critique, for the very reason you mention - because feminism isn't a monolith and there are many different feminist viewpoints.
[/b]

That's cool--but the thing is, part of the article's claim is that people should be avoiding (gay) marriage, not because of the merits of the critique of marriage, but because in abandoning this critique of marriage one is somehow abandoning feminism. For that to have any weight at all, the feminist critique of marriage they advance would have to be at least dominant in feminist circles. I don't see any sign that it is. Ergo, one can abandon their particular feminist critique of marriage without abandoning feminism.

For that matter, feminism has to be monolithic about *some* things, doesn't it? E.g. the proposition "men are not superior to women"? Even the idea that there is something you can call "patriarchy" which in some sense describes a system of more or less institutional oppression of women has to be pretty close to universal in feminist thought. Seems to me the article wants to give the "marriage is unsalvageable and specifically identified with capitalism" claim a breadth of feminist endorsement which I don't think it has.

rasmus

I'll read the posted article later, but basically I'm with UTQueer (why did you disable PMs?). If you have an analysis of patriarchy, property relations, and the regulation of sexuality, then it should be easy to see why a world without patriarchy would probably be a world without marriage. And if you have a political and historical argument against marriage, it's hard to see not having an argument against getting married. It doesn't mean stopping people from doing it if that's what they want to do, but it does mean thinking there's a valuable case against marriage to be made, and even a duty to make it.

Given that there is the institution of marriage, it should be available to all on an equal basis. I doubt anyone is arguing with that.

Anyhow I've had this argument in the past and it's been quite heated and I'm not interested in having it today so I guess I'll stop here.

jeff house

There can be a danger with a too-all-encompassing critique:

quote:

Marriage is not value-neutral. It privileges certain kinds of relationships over others and thus affects all of us, whether or not we choose to get married.

I think this argument plays into the hands of the gay-negative right. If married heteros are "affected" by alterations in its form, then maybe they have something to defend when gays claim the same right.

But if my decision not to marry comes within the sphere of my freedom, and affects no one other than my partner and immediate family, then I can simply ask others to stay out.

There is an abstract sense in which alterations of the institution of marriage affect everyone, just as this is so with respect to the Income Tax Act, or the disposition of testamentary goods.

So, we should be careful not to abandon the idea that toleration of others is important because their deeds may NOT affect us very directly.

Bureaucrat Gone Wild

This article reminds me of why I can't stand sociology. To a good sociologist, there is no point to obvious, and no generalization that is to sweeping. And yes, I appreciate that I just made a sweeping generalization, and to adopt the author's logic, I must therefore also be a sociologist (marriage exists in capitalist states therefore marriage must be a capitalist institution).

This article is an example of the truly mad depths that identity politics can sink to. And incidentally, the homophobic right loves to use this neo-trot analysis to bolster their campaign against equal rights, by stating that even the gay community isn't agreement as to whether or not there ought to be gay marriage.

Tommy_Paine

quote:


1. that no lesbian feminists have had to pay spousal support up to this point, 2. that all lesbian feminists agree on the issue of spousal support, and 3. that those lesbian feminists who do believe in spousal support but who haven't had to pay it would become hypocritical on the subject once they are on the receiving end of the spousal support order.


In case number one, I'm supposing that ssm is so new, there hasn't been time for this sticky wicket to have been played yet. In the second case, I suppose you are right, but we have to take that on assumption, and not base it on the howls of protest on the unfairness of spousal support coming from that demographic.

In the last case, of course I expect lesbian feminists to have about as many hypocrites as any other demographic.

The vast majority of people's political views, either left or right or specific interest are not usually more sophisticated than "whose ox is being gored".

Newbie

M v. H, the case that laid the foundation for the marriage cases, was indeed about a lesbian relationship where the business was in one name.

Karen Andrews was on the CBC broadcast yesterday. She sounded loonier by far than any of the religious right, no small accomplishment that. She rambled and sputtered and I don't think anyone had a clue what she was talking about. She reminds me of those idiots who insisted that all pornography, even gay male pornography, oppresses women.

The only one who came across as a bigger nutbar was that McGill "ethicist" who insists that children have a right to a mother and father and that legalizing gay marriage destroys that right.

Michelle

quote:


Originally posted by Tommy_Paine:
In case number one, I'm supposing that ssm is so new, there hasn't been time for this sticky wicket to have been played yet.

Well, I think you're probably supposing wrong. Because I'm sure there are lots of lesbians who used to be in straight marriages that have produced children. And I'm sure there must be at least a few who pay support to the custodial parent, or even in a marriage without children, spousal support to a dependent spouse. I can think of one person off the top of my head right now, who had no kids, and ended up having to pay spousal support to her ex-husband (who was abusive!) because she was supporting him during the marriage, until he got through law school. I don't know whether she's a lesbian or not.

quote:

In the second case, I suppose you are right, but we have to take that on assumption, and not base it on the howls of protest on the unfairness of spousal support coming from that demographic.

Well, frankly, I don't hear "howls" coming from that demographic in the first place one way or the other. And unless you've talked to every lesbian about how they feel about spousal support, then any blanket statement you make about the "lesbian feminist" viewpoint on it is an assumption.

quote:

In the last case, of course I expect lesbian feminists to have about as many hypocrites as any other demographic.

Sure there will. But that wasn't what your original statement sounded like to me, which is why I called you on it. It was a blanket statement full of assumptions.

quote:

The vast majority of people's political views, either left or right or specific interest are not usually more sophisticated than "whose ox is being gored".

Perhaps.

In any case, since you conceded my point in your next message by saying that you're sure there probably are lesbian feminists paying child support somewhere, this is moot. [img]wink.gif" border="0[/img] I was just answering your post to explain why I was originally struck by it.

[ 16 February 2004: Message edited by: Michelle ]

girlpublisher

I watched the CBC thing, and it struck me that there is a tension between those that think that marriage is essentially a private decision to celebrate a love between two people -- something which should therefore belong to an individual's freedom of choice, and those who consider it a bond between those two people and society as a whole -- leading to the idea that there are larger issues to be considered (the whole marriage is the building-block of families thing).

I would like to see more debate about the meaning and purpose of marriage for everyone. I think straight folks enter marriage for the wrong reasons (I think I'm in the second camp described above, although I think marriage is not the only sort of family-creating institution) and bail too easily because they view marriage as a means to personal satisfaction, and they are undermining what's good about the institution far more than gay marriage ever could, because the damage is not who is getting married, but why they are getting married.

can anyone else comment on these ill-formed thoughts? I would like some help thinking this through.

Coyote

Any theorist who would like to explain to my feminist mother that her marriage to the man she loves is a tool of oppression are welcome to try. She'll nod, smile, tell them they're full of shit and show them the door.

Socialists should embrace marriage, and celebrate the institution. Not enforce it, not look down on those who make other choices, or anything like that. But marriage between equal partners within a community setting and raising children on the values of respect and equality can be nothing but a positive.

Michelle

quote:


Originally posted by Coyote:
Any theorist who would like to explain to my feminist mother that her marriage to the man she loves is a tool of oppression are welcome to try. She'll nod, smile, tell them they're full of shit and show them the door.

And any feminist married woman who would like to explain to those who believe that marriage is a tool of oppression that it really isn't, would probably be shown the door as well. So what?

quote:

Socialists should embrace marriage, and celebrate the institution.

Why should they? Because you and your feminist mother think it's great?

quote:

Not enforce it, not look down on those who make other choices, or anything like that.

Critiquing marriage as an institution is not "looking down" on those who make other choices. I have just as much right to critique marriage as an institution as you and your feminist mother have to celebrate it.

quote:

But marriage between equal partners within a community setting and raising children on the values of respect and equality can be nothing but a positive.

Says you. Obviously some people have different opinions.

[Edited to remove Coyote's original screen name]

[ 06 September 2007: Message edited by: Michelle ]

Coyote

Michelle:


quote:

Originally posted by Coyote:
Any theorist who would like to explain to my feminist mother that her marriage to the man she loves is a tool of oppression are welcome to try. She'll nod, smile, tell them they're full of shit and show them the door.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

And any feminist married woman who would like to explain to those who believe that marriage is a tool of oppression that it really isn't, would probably be shown the door as well. So what?


Not the same thing. If my mother told them that their "non-married" status was a tool of oppression, that would be the equivalent. I certainly hope no feminists would show each other the door for their disagreements, but then again I realize that it is I who framed this discussion by making the issue my mother's marriage. Mea culpa.

quote:

Socialists should embrace marriage, and celebrate the institution.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Why should they? Because you and your feminist mother think it's great?


Yup!!!

Seriously, I think that families and family life are very important. I think that life-long relationships are important. I think that the values we learn in our infancy have a habit of staying with us, and that sharing space and resources within a family model can be a way of learning cooperation, sacrifice, and the importance of viewing oneself as a part of something larger rather than an island unto oneself.

quote:

Not enforce it, not look down on those who make other choices, or anything like that.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Critiquing marriage as an institution is not "looking down" on those who make other choices. I have just as much right to critique marriage as an institution as you and your feminist mother have to celebrate it.


Absolutely. Where was I suggesting you didn't have that right? Go to, critisize away. I even have a great deal of sympathy for many of the critiques. But my lived reality shows that marriage can be a relationship between equals that stands the test of time . . .and I recognize that no, it is not always that way.

quote:

But marriage between equal partners within a community setting and raising children on the values of respect and equality can be nothing but a positive.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Says you. Obviously some people have different opinions.


Obviously. [img]biggrin.gif" border="0[/img]

[ 06 September 2007: Message edited by: Michelle ]

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

quote:


Well, I think you're probably supposing wrong. Because I'm sure there are lots of lesbians who used to be in straight marriages that have produced children.

When my parents split up (I was 15) my mother paid $60 a month directly to me (I used it for school lunches). She didn't pay my father anything since he didn't ask. And yes, she was lesbian.

Gaia_Child

(Personal aside: The next time I hear a queer-radical say he/she opposes gay marriage, I am going to pour a drink over their head.)

I do not see why a world without patriarchy would be a world without marriage.

If patriarchy is the ordering of the world based on male, heterosexual supremacy and female subservience, then an equal marriage of man and woman is therefore not patriarchal. Likewise with a same-sex relationship, where the patriarchal man-above-woman-below relationship is, in many ways, irrelevant.

True, marriage has been used many times in history to regulate women in order to maintain male control, but this is not innate in marriage itself.

Also, "Regulation of sexuality" is not necessarily a bad or patriarchal or repressive thing. Every society needs to regulate sex; the goal is to regulate sex in a just and life-enhancing way. The same concerns "property relations". I think property relations exist in any society. Marriage is a useful contract for managing property relations.

I think I agree with the thinker (was it Chomsky?) who said that the goal of social change
is not destroy all forms of authority and structure and organization, but rather to hold those forms to account, and alter and eliminate those structures as needed to meet our personal goals and values.

I think the important thing is freedom of choice and information. So, if a woman freely (and with education of the alternatives) chooses to stay at home, and bring her husband a beer during the Big Game, I support that 100%, provided it makes her happy. I don't even consider such an arrangement patriarchal, as long as our social values allow a potential husband to fit exactly the same role.

And as far as gays imitating straights? I don't think "imitating" str8s has to be "oppressive" or "destructive" at all. Hey, if gay men enjoy playing football and being monogamous, go ahead! And if they wanna sleep around and wear drag, that's good too.

[ 16 February 2004: Message edited by: Gaia_Child ]

Newbie

Gaia_Child I'll say I oppose it if you'll pour a drink down my throat.

Thank you for expressing it so clearly.

This is all so silly, really. You can no more convince society to abandon marriage than you could convince it to abandon sexuality and reproduce in vitro.

Throughout history humans have paired up and I don't see that stopping. What's marriage? Nothing more than the term that is used when people form that pair, according to the laws and customs of the society they live in.

It's easy to come up with a description of the legal framework, but even there the Canadian version is not the American, nor the British, nor the French, let alone countries whose legal systems bear little resemblance to ours.

To throw out marriage because of its history is as absurd as throwing out the legal system because of its past oppression of women.

Society needs more choices, not fewer.

quote:

Hey, if gay men enjoy playing football and being monogamous, go ahead! And if they wanna sleep around and wear drag, that's good too.

And lots of guys who like to sleep around and wear drag want to marry as well. Those who think we're imitating straights merely because we're legalizing our relationships are just being silly.

Michelle

quote:


Originally posted by Mr. Magoo:
[b]When my parents split up (I was 15) my mother paid $60 a month directly to me (I used it for school lunches). She didn't pay my father anything since he didn't ask. And yes, she was lesbian.[/b]

My mother didn't have to pay child support, because she traded off her right to half my father's pension during the time she stayed home for the child support she would have had to pay (and she wouldn't have had to pay it for long since they split up when I was a teenager - I was 15 too - so I think he might have gotten a bargain there, but I'm not sure because I don't know the value of the pension).

But I believe she still paid for my piano lessons if I remember correctly (which are quite expensive) and gave me spending money here and there. I'm pretty sure she would have happily paid child support had it been owing. As it was, she contributed financially in other ways, for stuff that came up (e.g. driving lessons, extracurricular activities, etc.)

Also, my father is proud and old-fashioned and probably wouldn't have wanted monetary support from her. In fact, he is pretty scornful of the fact that I'm paying support to my ex, even though I feel it is important. He's not scornful of me for doing it (although he thinks I'm crazy for doing it without a court order), but scornful of my ex for accepting it. I told him that if our positions were reversed, he'd expect my ex to pay support to me. He feels that's different though. Needless to say, we don't agree on the subject. [img]biggrin.gif" border="0[/img]

[ 16 February 2004: Message edited by: Michelle ]

weakling willy

I believe that this article was first in Canadian Dimension. Readers would do well to read it in conjunction with Dennis Pilon's thoughtful article on the same topic in that issue.

i don't get the part about not marrying helping to undermine capitalism by making it harder to reproduce the labour force. If that was the case, the rapid rise in divorce rates should have shaken the foundations of the capitalist system. That's not my take on how things have gone recently.

swallow swallow's picture

That's a great article WW, balances the other nicely. From Dennis Pilon's article:

quote:

Let me be clear: Marriage is not for everyone, gay or straight. I applaud and defend the rights of sex radicals to live and love however they want, free from the coercion of the state or the tyranny of public opinion. But the "gay culture" side should also recognize that they do not exhaust the many ways to be gay. For a lot of gay people, marriage is not about aping straights or having a bad attitude about being gay, it's about participating in a larger set of cultural institutions while maintaining your own uniqueness. In other words, it can be about community, bringing together all sorts of people, gay and straight, to recognize something important to them.

Nicely put.

[url=http://www.canadiandimension.mb.ca/frame.htm]Canadian Dimension[/url]