Thursday, April 4, 2013

"I think it's a no-brainer that the institution of marriage should not exist"

Have you heard people engaged in the redefinition of marriage debate argue that redefinition will not change marriage or affect anyone other than the two people of the same gender who exchange wedding rings? It's a pretty common argument.

But what would a group of redefinition advocates say if it wasn't on national television? What about a response at a writer's festival workshop in Sydney, Australia in 2012, under the title, "Why get married when you could be happy?"
Here is some of what was said:

Masha Gessen: “It’s a no-brainer that we should have the right to marriage but equally I think that it is a no brainer that the institution of marriage should not exist.” (cheers from the audience)

“That causes my brain some trouble. Part of the reason that it causes me trouble is that fighting for gay marriage generally involves lying about what we are going to do with marriage when we get there.”

“Because we lie that the institution of marriage is not going to change. It’s going to change and it should change. And again it should not exist. I don’t like taking part in creating fictions about my life. That’s not what I had in mind when I came out thirty years ago. I have three kids who have five parents, more or less.  And I don't see why they shouldn't have five parents legally.”


Dennis Altman: I am fascinated by how reluctant the people who argue vehemently for same sex marriage are to talk about sex. The original concept of marriage in the western world of course was based heavily on the idea of monogamy really so that the man could be guaranteed that the children were his.

Now I am going to speak now as a gay man: one of the things about gay male culture is that it is not a monogamous culture. All the evidence we have suggests that monogamy is a myth. There are many longstanding gay relationships. There are virtually no longstanding monogamous gay relationships. I happen to think that this is a good thing. I happen to think that this puts sex in a much better perspective than the concept that we are being fed.

But I do get very anxious when I am told that people want to have a marriage that is exactly the same as the ones that their heterosexual sisters and brothers have. What their heterosexual sisters and brothers are signing up for – whatever they do in practice – is a belief in life-long monogamy.

There is a level of hypocrisy in that – that is built into the marriage ceremony. That, I do not want to see replicated.

Jeanette Winterson: Are you saying that the hypocrisy is built into the religious ceremony or in the concept of marriage altogether?

Altman: I would love to have the people who are out there arguing for same sex marriage say “lets be clear: marriage is about primary emotional commitment to another person and it doesn’t mean I won’t **** around.

You can read more here and listen to the panel here. These aren't isolated thoughts either. If you have the opportunity to listen to the logic of those advocating the redefinition of marriage when they are not in front of a television camera, the arguments can start to sound a bit different. Suddenly it's not all about "love" and "equality" and "fairness."  

That's not to say that all people who advocate redefinition are interested in ruining monogamy and praising five-parent families, but we are walking down a slippery slope that does not end with a simple Supreme Court proclamation.  The logic of same-sex "marriage" lends itself toward destroying these other areas of marriage too.

1 comment:

  1. I've read and heard a lot, but this is quite shocking to me.