Someone I used to know posted this link on Facebook (I know some people regularly cull their FB friend lists, but I actually do like the person in question, and anyway my friend count is already in the loser range). The argument, in brief, is that with so many more important things happening, we should not care about marriage equality, because the kind of gay people who want to get married are so bourgie that they don’t deserve to have their rights defended:
My first thought is that McKenzie has confused dangerous with crabby.. It may seem puzzling that someone who claims an intense interest in the rights of queer people should speak with such bitterness and contempt of “so-called marriage equality” (she pretends that she just thinks other issues are more important, but her tone tells a different story). Youu might be surprised, though, how often one hears similar attitudes; there is something about ‘gay marriage’ that bugs the hell out of some of the more radical types.
Of course some people disapprove of marriage, and I can understand not wanting to have your intimate relationships defined and circumscribed by the State. Well, so what? I disapprove of lots of things, comb-overs and Healthy Choice TV dinners and Frances Mayes, but it is, as they say, a free country. The real importance of marriage equality has less to do with marriage than with equality. Besides being the right thing to do, it brings home to mainstream Americans, the kind of people who, like GW Bush, tend to divide the world into “moms and dads” and “evil-doers,” that millions of gay people want basically the same things they do: to share a home, raise a family, live in security.
And that’s what scares the McKenzies of the world—if you’re heavily invested in being a dangerous Other, then what happens if people stop being scared of you? What happens when a once-reliable group identity , defining itself against the nasty hegemonic outside culture, begins to blur, when (some) lesbians start wanting to wear bridal gowns and probably do the two-step at their receptions?
It’s an age-old phenomenon: the greatest threat to the radical purist comes not from oppression but from progress. One thinks of George Orwell and his disillusionment when he found that the Communists during the Spanish Civil War were more concerned with crushing the rest of the Left than with fighting the Fascists. McKenzie is probably right that so-called marriage equality brings us no closer to our revolutionary transformation into a nation where there is no rape (though really, was anyone ever raped by people who were on their way to a gay wedding?), where the prisons are full of white people, and the transsexuals of Arizona can pee wherever they want. FWhile we wait for utopia, though, anything that reduces the ambient level of bigotry is reason enough for the rest of us to take a moment and dance a little happy dance.