For how much i think and talk about the issues surrounding gay marriage in my personal life, I did discover some interesting and surprising arguments in today's readings. Ellen Willis surprised me with her vision of gay marriage rights continuing a tradition of discrimination against those who chose not to marry at all. Also Martha Fineman says that “Publicly and symbolicly, it is reconfigured into the mantle of morality.(18)” Together these two statements point out that apart from the discriminatory civil rights issue at stake over the issue of gay marriage is the idea that marriage itself is a discriminatory practice no matter who is included or excluded because the choice not to marry indicateds to society the fact that one does not live a life that is moral. If gay couples do not marry when it is legal they are chosing a lifestyle that is lacking some morality.Sharon Learner discussed Bush’s program to encourage marriages to last and encouraged unmarried heterosexuals to marry. What does it mean when the government enforces these opinions?
Judith Stacey uses the term “de facto” families which I thought was an interesting contrast to the couple. I think this is an example of many of the feminist debates we have engaged in this semester where the media and popular culture define it as a binary two-sided debate, but really there are so many factors, issues, and repercussions, that the whole issue is far more complex than can be adequately summed up in any one-sided statement.
As always, Judith Butler has something provokotive to say on the subject of gay marriage. She elevates the discussion to a new plane far above my reach, but she did have an interesting quote I want to discuss. On p. 244 of our course packet she says “If you’re not real, it can be hard to sustain yourselves over time; the sense of delegitimation can make it harder to sustain a bond, a bond that is not real anyway, a bond that does not “exist,” that never had a chance to exist, that was never meant to exist. Here is where the absence of state legitimation can emerge within the psyche as a pervasive, if not fatal, sense of self doubt.” Other authors we read for this week wondered what it was about the opportunity to marry their same sex partner that had masses flocking to the courthouse the minute the marriage liscences were made available. According to Butler, the opportunity to exist more than the fantasy of the romantic ideal of wedding is what the right to a marriage liscense means.
So among the perspectives of the authors we can come to understand that the debate over gay marriage reaches far into pranches of psychology, religion, sociology, politics, economics, and law. No one speaker can really grasp the intracacies of this issue, so it make a great case for why we need to have debate and not single-sided opinions. Just one person representing either a pro or con stance could not address all the issues at stake here.