Wednesday, June 19, 2013

And the winner of the gay marriage debate??? Heterosexuals!

I'm sorry to say it, but there is already a clear winner in the gay marriage debate: heterosexuals. In the 1970's we absolutely and flatly rejected marriage as oppressive, not to mention the ultimate definition of "square".
We tried every possible alternative. Vigorously.
And yet, we came crawling back, hat in hand, saying we want in too. A major defeat for gay liberation, a major coup for normative heterosexuality.

But, while we were out sowing our wild oats, we learned a few things - you could say we picked up a few tricks. We do marriage differently, and if straight people have any sense, they'll be paying attention. I'm not the first to say it, but in many ways, gay marriage has saved straight marriage from passing into obsolescence.

A lot of heterosexuals are paying attention. A couple weeks ago, Slate's Double X Gabfest had a good discussion about what straight people can learn from gay marriage. They dove deep into all the stuff about gender roles, and differentiation of tasks within couples, and how "gay" marriage shows that those two ideas can be de-coupled, re-arranged, and yet there are often strengths to being different, even unequal, in a relationship. But I was surprised that the Slate commentators didn't want to touch monogamy - or rather the ability to discuss its alternatives - the biggest and best innovation we've brought into the marriage covenant.

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