Monday, October 19, 2009

A Deeply Personal Relationship

Melissa Harris Lacewell shares her Reflections on Marriage. The comments vary in quality/craziness, but Harris Lacewell's reflections echo some of my reticence to claim that gay marriage won't change anything; I hope it will, and for the better of all of us, but particularly women.

Typically advocates of marriage equality try to reassure the voting public the same-sex marriage will not change the institution itself. "Don't worry," we say, "allowing gay men and lesbians to marry will not threaten the established norms; it will simply assimilate new groups into old practices."

This is a pragmatic, political strategy, but I hope it is not true. I hope same-sex marriage changes marriage itself. I hope it changes marriage the way that no-fault divorce changed it. I hope it changes marriage the way that allowing women to own their own property and seek their own credit changed marriage. I hope it changes marriage the way laws against spousal abuse and child neglect changed marriage. I hope marriage equality results more equal marriages. I also hope it offers more opportunities for building meaningful adult lives outside of marriage.

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