Monday, July 21, 2008

Recent Reading

I love google reader. One of my favorites on my google reader that I think should be on yours is the website Today this lovely story about rethinking marriage popped up and I thought I'd share.

Here's a little quote, then the link to the rest of the article is at the bottom. Happy Monday!

I've spent more time than I'd like to remember in the past three or four years explaining to family, friends, and perfect strangers why I'm not dying to walk down the aisle (note: he has spent at least half as much time doing so, an incredibly irritating discrepancy). Usually my answer goes something like this: 1) I don't want to participate in an institution that's been historically sexist and currently discriminates against my gay friends, especially considering that my partner and I couldn't have been married in some states just 40 years ago (we're miscegenators), and 2) I'm uncomfortable with the "till death do us part" rhetoric that seems to suggest that two people parting ways is an inherent failure, rather than, as is so often the case, a necessary moment of growth and change.

For the latter explanation, I usually get a pitying look and an onslaught of romantic counter-argument, as if I am a princess in a fairy tale who has suddenly lost faith in the glass slipper. (Never mind the cold, hard fact that over half of marriages end in divorce.) For the former, I get little more than skeptical silence; people always suspect that the political argument is just a big cover up for my boyfriend's frozen feet.

Public reaction aside, I'm starting to doubt my own justifications. What am I to make of my commitment to not participate in a sexist, historically racist institution when my own gay friends are flocking to the coasts so they can join in the gift registry and the white-dress hoopla? Of course they deserve all the legal protections and economic benefits of a legalized marriage; according to the Gay & Lesbian Advocates and Defenders, there are over 1,400 state and federal rights guaranteed by marriage, while there are only 300 state benefits and no federal protection for civil unions. But do these rights really trump the woman-as-property history and discriminatory present (on a state by state basis, of course)? Why do so many of my gay friends have such faith that they can transform the institution when I'm still so unsure?

Click here to read the whole article