Marriage, any type of commitment, and being truly, terrifyingly, unabashedly, emotionally intimate is for grown ups. This is the reason we now have this insane obsession with marriage.
Although I have never really had the desire to marry, I am keenly aware of what it signifies and why it is significant. It is my belief that we have a hunger to grow up.
In this culture, the union between two people is one major way of stating that we are adults.
Is this the only way of taking on full adulthood? In this quest to be seen as a well-adjusted (normal) members of society have we truly taken a look at what this may cost us?
I recently heard someone state that who we are and what we do be considered “normal.” I was bothered by this for a couple of reasons.
Placating people’s fears and judgments only leads to more of the same. Rather than try to prove how much we are like the masses, why not say “Screw it, this is who I am and I am so busy living my life I really don’t have time to worry or concern myself with your insecurities or lack of acceptance.”
Before anyone decides to label me the arbiter of gloom and doom, let me explain. When I was a great deal younger, I hungered for three things: a life of the mind, a promising career in the arts, and men.
My immediate and always helpful family did not support the first two desires and are still waiting for me to outgrow the third.
We (as a community) have an insatiable need to be seen and accepted. This is a longing so prevalent and so virile that we will accept anything that remotely looks like inclusion.
But is marriage the answer?
Do we need full, basic, no question about it rights? Most definitely.
Given that more than 50% of heterosexual marriages end in divorce, is this a system we should buy into unexamined and unquestionably? Considering the percentages of failures among the folks that dreamed up this institution, is this the best star on which to hitch our wagons?
We most definitely need full access to all the rights, privileges, and rewards that our straight allies accept as birthright. What is very fascinating to me is how we are assigned certain roles that keep us confused and infantile.
As a group, we are the only ones defined by what we do in bed and with whom. Making this legal means not only does the world at large have to respect us it also provides the world at large with an unabashed look at relationships and unions.
In other words, having full rights makes everybody fully responsible for reexamining their prejudices and thinking.
Do we want equality or marriage? Are they one and the same? Must we limit our thinking to an either or limited view of what people need? Where do gay folks go who long for heart in the throat, life changing, soul shaking love and commitment and don’t want to enter into marriage? I have yet to hear any discussion about that.
What are the action plans once this glorious day arrives? So much energy is going into gaining this right that there seems to be very little planning regarding what will occur once this goal is achieved.
This, my friends, is a recipe for disaster.
Many movements have been egregiously derailed because there was no plan of attack once the “big bad” was defeated and the goal achieved.
I would strongly encourage the folks who have the most to gain by this and who are adamantly pushing for this social change to find and or cultivate some progressive, forward allies who have more experience in this arena. Do you know a great loving couple who has some coupledom years under their belt?
Start dialing now.
The change will be here before we all realize it.
Your post asks an important question about whether marriage and equality really, shall we say, equate. It reminded me of this article, which I think addresses this very same question very well: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/derrick-clifton/human-rights-campaign-same-sex-marriage_b_2973131.html