I have tried to state my case and come off rather poorly. I began to think, after some quiet time, that maybe I was what others were accusing: righteous, ignorant, careless, apathetic, anti-gay.
But then I read Bob Ostertag's wonderful op-ed on the Huffington Post.
In it he accomplishes (without trying I'm sure) what I've been laboring to do: explain why I think there are other, more important things than gay marriage.
"Gay marriage" turns the real issues of equal rights for sexual minorities upside down and paints us into a reactionary little corner of our own making. Yes, married people get special privileges denied to others. Denied not to just gays and lesbians, but to all others. Millions of straight people remain unmarried, and for a huge variety of reasons, from mothers whose support networks do not include their children's fathers, to hipsters who can't relate to religious institutions. We could be making common cause with them. We could be fighting for equal rights for everyone, not just gays and lesbians, but for all unmarried people. In the process we would leave religious institutions to define marriage however their members see fit.
That's how you win at politics, isn't it? You build principled coalitions that add up to a majority, and try not to hand potent mobilizing issues to your opposition in the process.
We have done the opposite. Instead of tearing down the walls of privilege enjoyed by the nuclear family, we are demanding our own place at the married couples' table (leaving all those other unmarried people out in the cold).
I know the idea of gay liberation is ancient by today's standards, but it wasn't so long ago that a lot of gay and lesbian activism began from the premise that the queer perspective was one that could offer a particular contribution to a more just society as a whole. My how times change.
Is this really where decades of struggle for sexual freedom ends? With the state granting its blessing to homosexual nuclear families emerging from City Hall, husband-and-husband or wife-and-wife, with the photographer and the rice and the whole bit, finally having become just like them?
Not for me. Not for my family, with its various men, each of whom I love in a different way, a child, and two moms. Not that my family is any sort of queer norm. But that's the beautiful thing about queer culture: there is no norm. We piece together our families, holding on to those relationships that work."
Often those who disagree with me (viciously or peacefully) tell me "it's about equal rights". Well - why can't we band together with all the others without equal rights and create a truly unified front for equal treatment? Why must we draw a line in the sand and say "NO! This is a GAY ISSUE. WE NEED OUR RIGHTS."
Truthfully, everyone needs their rights. And they need to speak up and fight for them. It's not about being invited to the hetero marriage table so we can pick out groom and groom cakes and take Sears family portraits.
It's about decency and the rights to live how we see fit. Also, the article is worth reading because it has some interesting info on Mr. Warren that I've not heard elsewhere.
Someone should forward this piece around to all those raising their second uproar in regards to Rick Warren. I'd love to see how that discussion goes.