I firmly believe most opposition to gay marriage stems from the desire to maintain institutional male dominance over women. Same-sex unions demonstrate that marriages need not be based on gender-based power differentials. “Who is the man and who is the woman?” homobigots ask, because they cannot–and do not want to–envision egalitarian partnerships. If gay marriage exists under the marriage umbrella, then marriage needn’t mean male headship over a woman.
Patriarchy defenders are understandably terrified in the wake of Judge Vaughn Walker’s decision to overturn California’s Proposition 8. Ross Douthat cloaks his bigotry in a transparent sheet of pseudo-intellectual blather. He concedes that so-called “traditional marriage” is not traditional, nor is lifelong heterosexual monogamy natural. But, it is a Western, Judeo-Christian ideal, and should remain the ideal, according to Douthat.
[L]ifelong heterosexual monogamy at its best can offer something distinctive and remarkable — a microcosm of civilization, and an organic connection between human generations — that makes it worthy of distinctive recognition and support.
If you say so.
Douthat concludes that gay marriage threatens to shake “traditional marriage” off its pedestal, and that’s a bad thing because “traditional marriage” deserves its pedestal, because [return to the beginning and continue 'round and 'round].
But brace yourselves! Because Douthat’s column is nothing compared to Sam Schulman’s opinion in the Christian Science Monitor.
If the purpose of marriage was for the exclusive benefit of couples in love, who wanted to share a life and a household, it would be a clear affront to justice to keep this state benefit from other couples who happen to possess a different kind of sexuality from the majority.
But providing benefits to couples is not the whole purpose of marriage. It’s not even its primary purpose. And that’s what’s wrong with Mr. Walker’s ruling, and the arguments on both sides of Perry vs. Schwarzenegger. They’ve been arguing over marriage’s benefits. Instead, we need to be thinking about marriage’s role in sustaining the existence of the human species.
Oh, fuck the human species. The human species is not in danger of extinction and if it is, we’ll be destroyed by our disregard for the planet, not by gay marriage. People have been procreating out of wedlock since people came into existence.
Marriage is a necessary defense of a woman’s sexuality and her human liberty from determined assault by men who would turn her into a slave, a concubine – something less than fully human. Human communities need to give women some additional degree of protection – through law, custom, religious decree, or sacrament – generally some combination of all three, neatly summarized by the plaintiffs, who demanded the sacred and the eternal from the state of California. Of course, marriage’s power to protect women is far from perfect, but no human institution is. Parents, too, sometimes do awful things to their children.
I see what you did there, Schulman. Protect a
child woman from all men by binding her to one specific man. He goes on to argue that homosexual relationships are not inferior to heterosexual relationships; instead:
Heterosexual relationships need marriage because of inferiority: the physical inferiority of sexual defenders to sexual attackers and the moral inferiority of male sexual attackers.
How Victorian. But feminists hate men, amirite? How are male sexual attackers identified? Are we to presume they are not entering into marriages that allegedly protect the female partners? Or is a lifetime of abuse from one’s husband preferable to the abuse from boogeymen? So many questions.
When a woman’s sexuality is involved, human communities must deal with a malign force that an individual woman and her family cannot control or protect.
What is this I don’t even.
Modern marriage is only the least worst version of marriage that has emerged from all this – but it is still necessary for women. What protects women, ultimately, is that marriage laws and customs confer upon her independence something extra – dignity, protection, sacredness – that others must respect. And if this quality can be bestowed upon anyone, even those not in intersexual relationships – it reduces, even dissolves its force.
Gay marriage is wrong because it leaves women in same-sex partnerships vulnerable to male sexual predators? Because marriages between men distract those men from their woman-protecting duties? Gay marriage is Kryptonite to hetero superheros? If Schulman’s claims are true, it would make more sense to advocate forcing all people into hetero marriages at a certain age, not denying equal marriage rights to homosexuals.
If marriage becomes a legislative courtesy available to everyone, like a key to the city, it will be women who will lose.
The insincere concern-trolling is repulsive. Nowhere does he explain how, exactly, the human species will die out as a result of gay marriage. He barely even mentions gay people. He’s shitting his pants because he rightly believes gay marriage will further push open the door to different understandings of what marriage can be. More specifically, he thinks women need to be controlled by men. For our own good, of course.