On marriage

Quaker blogger Liz Opp has started a new blog called Equality is coming. She writes the following on her About page:

This blog may be short-lived or it may last our lifetimes. It’s intended to be a place to gather ideas, link to online articles and videos, and share our own thoughts and activities as they relate to working for justice, be it marriage equality, economic justice, undoing White privilege, or some yet-to-be-named movement.

And it’s a reminder to those who want to hold onto their presumed privilege, sense of entitlement, or unspoken belief that they are better than their fellow human beings who happen to look different, believe different, think different, speak different, or love different.

Equality is coming, whether you like it or not.

I’ve always appreciated Liz’s The Good Raised Up, so I am glad to see her creating a new advocacy space. The post which just caught my attention is this one: Toolkit: Responding to common anti-equality remarks about marriage.

This post is intended to be part of your toolkit when it comes to standing up for marriage equality for all loving, committed couples, regardless of the gender of each spouse.

It’s for pro-equality folks who are confused or baffled by how to respond to anti-gay or anti-equality remarks.

Liz offers suggestions for responding to remarks about procreation, gender, imposed inclusion, accusations and misinformation.

I added the following comment, based on an essay I wrote in 2005 and a blog post I published in 2007:

Thanks very much for starting this blog and this work. I would add another category of tools to your toolkit: discussion of just what marriage is.

Marriage is not about sex but about kinship. Anybody can have sex without getting married. They can even have on-going affairs, lifelong relationships—even families—without being married.

However, if they want their chosen kinship to be acknowledged and affirmed publicly, if they want their families to be honored and protected by the government, they have to get married.

In a sane world, people would be glad to take a couple’s word for it when they said they intended to put up with all the hassles and grief of taking care of each other for years on end. People would rush to celebrate and support them, do everything possible to help them stay together.

I will add as a footnote that my helpmate Jim and I chose to become a couple in 1985, and we were married under the care of our Quaker Meeting in 1994. Just last month, while visiting my brother in Massachusetts, we finally had an opportunity to legalize our marriage.

Massachusetts has been registering same-sex marriages since 2004, so we enjoyed a curious paradox.

For us this was a long-awaited moment, and we sort of wanted fanfare. At the same time, we felt so welcomed and blessed by city hall staff and by the justice of the peace. They honored us with normality, precisely by treating us with the same friendliness and encouragement they give to any couple.

As Liz writes,

Equality is coming, whether you like it or not.

And so it is.

Blessèd be.

Note: Take a look at Lambda Legal: Status of Same-Sex Relationships Nationwide for more information this issue.

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