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Gay People Against Same-Sex Marriage July 31, 2006

Posted by newsfittopost in lgbt Issues, marriage equality.

The lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender movement has been vigilant in its efforts to achieve marriage equality ever since the Massachusetts Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage in 2004. The state government’s recognition of the value in same-sex relationships was a watershed moment that led to an unprecedented amount of lawsuits aimed at overturning marriage equality bans state-by-state.

Over two years and several devastating setbacks later, same-sex marriage is still only legal in Massachusetts. Millions of dollars, hundreds of court battles and the overwhelming attention of LGBT groups have yet to make a significant impact in the fight for marriage equality, and some gays and lesbians are questioning the direction of the entire LGBT movement.

The New York Times talked with gay advocates who have never supported the fight for marriage and are disappointed with the movement for setting aside other issues in favor of a more one-track plan:

To these activists, the fight for gay marriage is the mirror image of the right-wing conservative Christian lobby for family values and feeds into the same drive for a homogeneous, orthodox American culture. The Stonewall confrontation and early gay rights movement, after all, was about the right to live an unconventional life, and to Mr. [Bill] Dobbs and others like him, marriage is the epitome of convention…

They say the gay marriage movement, backed by major well-funded organizations like Lambda Legal, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, has drained resources and psychic energy from other causes like AIDS research, universal health insurance and poverty among gay people.

Gay and lesbian advocates who do not support same-sex marriage usually fall into one of two camps, saying they do not support marriage because:

  • the institution is archaic and oppressive by nature, unfairly rewarding people who fit into traditional social molds; or
  • the LGBT movement’s scarce resources are spent on gay and lesbian people in a particular social institution instead of using those resources for all LGBT people, whether they have a partner or not

In numerous postings (including here and here), I have argued that the LGBT movement has concentrated too heavily on marriage while ignoring vital protections like non-discrimination laws. However, I do believe

The belief that marriage is an oppressive institution that homogenizes society ignores some basic facts. Although many who enter into marriage have relationships that could be considered oppressive, the institution itself does not create this phenomena. It is the players in the relationship who often times create this unbalanced authority, not the government document itself. Those who wish to prevent marriage equality are themselves attempting to homogenize the gay and lesbian community… believing that gay and lesbian people should be single or should not enter into the institution of marriage. Marriage is a choice, and the “live and let live” attitude of gays and lesbians who do not support marriage equality seems somewhat contradictory if they do not support same-sex couples who hope to get married.

The argument that much needed resources are taken away from important LGBT issues by focusing on marriage is a valid one. The LGBT movement has over-prioritized marriage while placing other important issues on the back-burner. But the fight for marriage equality is about all LGBT people, not just those who choose to get married.

Equal marriage rights should not be the only focus of the LGBT movement, but a lack of support for same-sex marriage implies gay and lesbian people are not able to live like other families. Whether you prefer the bar scene or your children’s soccer game, marriage equality should be an important step for all LGBT people who believe in fairness and tolerance.


1. Chad F. - August 15, 2006

Gays should not try to be unconventional anymore. They are a part of mainstream society. To allow gay marriage is to normalize gay relationships. This not only helps gays, but will prove to straight people who are unconvinced that homosexuals are just like anyone else. To say that marriage is conventional and therefore should be avoided by homosexuals is belittling to gay relationships, regardless of how marriage works in society.

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