As we are in the midst of Supreme Court arguments concerning California’s Prop 8 and marriage equality, there is no better time to revisit this thoughtful piece by Samuel Huber for the Yale Herald. “Marriage, Disavowed” illustrates that even as our society takes tentative steps towards equality for homosexual couples, monogamous marriage is widely propagated as the norm.
As Samuel eloquently states, “I also worry that our affirmation of marriage not simply as one kind of acceptable and fulfilling relationship but as an inalienable right precludes too many queer children from imagining their own best futures.”
Accepting gay marriage is the first of many changes that must be made to mold our culture to accommodate the vastly differing goals and preferences of its residents. Imagine living a life or having a preference that is considered “atypical.” When monogamous marriage is the “default” and every contrary lifestyle choice is the “other” we are alienating our friends, family, and neighbors.
Equality is a slippery slope. Once it is advocated in one realm, it seems foolish and hypocritical to neglect to apply it in others. Limiting one’s conception of marriage (to a man and a woman) and relationships (to monogamous) is comparable to exclusively defining a woman’s “role” as that of the traditional housewife.
Regardless of how you feel about gay marriage, the message of “Marriage, Disavowed” is a simple one. Once equality is determined to be an integral element of society, it must actually be integrated so that it applies to everyone. Until that consistency is achieved, discrimination, feelings of inadequacy as well as alienation, and conflict will remain.