Same-Sex Marriage As Inclusion And Exclusion
Amidst all of the celebration about New York State's gay marriage win last week, a key criticism of the institution has been lost: that marriage isn't always about equality.
That's what New York University sociology professor Judith Stacey says in a New York Times piece called "Unequal Opportunity."
From Stacey's piece:
Contrary to conservative fears, the gay struggle for the right to marry rebuffs rather than promotes radical feminist and gay family politics. A bid for inclusion, not upheaval, the campaign for marriage has already been nudging gay culture in a more conventional direction. Winning the right to marry exerts social pressure to do so. My research suggests that younger gays are less likely than their forebears to envision alternatives to marriage and nuclear family life.
Same-sex marriage enthusiasts are wrong to celebrate the democratizing effects of their victory in New York. To be sure, it removes an indefensible form of discrimination against lesbians and gay men. But the upshot of celebrating marriage is to exacerbate discrimination against the unmarried and their children — a rising proportion of our population, particularly among its poorer and darker members. Same-sex marriage, like its heterosexual model, is disproportionately accessible to members of the white middle class.
Marriage never has been or will be an equal-opportunity institution.
What are your thoughts, dear reader? Does Stacey have the right idea, or do the world's problems come from human inaction, rather than nuptials?