Tuesday, March 09, 2010

What Marriage Equality Does Not Do

Quoted on the Washington Post's blog was this statement, from a woman thrilled to be marrying her partner:

"We're whole now. We will actually be a true family just like everyone else."

No, sorry, you're not. Perhaps I should not argue the semantics of this statement, but rather take it in the spirit it was likely intended, but this is a dangerous line of thought.

While I firmly believe that the failure to permit same-sex couples to enjoy the legal rights and benefits bestowed upon opposite-sex couples is a form of legalized discrimination and oppression, in no way do I think that it legitimizes my relationship. My family is ALREADY true and whole, as much so as anyone's family is. The fact that it is not legally recognized does not change its authenticity, completeness, truth, or reality.

I do not seek the endorsement of the US government for my relationship; I seek the fulfillment of my rights as a citizen. If we are after the blessing of our society in this endeavor, then count me out. I don't need it or want it. I don't need other peoples' approval. What kind of violence does a statement like this woman's do to all the myriad types of relationships entered into by heterosexuals, homosexuals, bisexuals, trans people, or others?

We must realize our own truth; we must affirm our own unions. Some of us may seek the blessings of a Higher Power and I understand that. There are sanctuaries available for those who seek this. Legal recognition is not equivalent to a spiritual blessing. With our without a blessing, we must understand ourselves as already whole - as fully formed and already deserving of the recognition that heterosexual unions are entitled to. We seek legal status not as affirmation but because we have already affirmed our love and are waiting for the rest of the nation to get there with us.

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