Thursday, September 30, 2004

Invisible Couples

How have people in Massachusetts reacted to married same-sex couples? Johno observes that they do not really give a damn:
Massachusetts is a part-Catholic part post-Puritan, blue-collar state with a large population of recent Latino immigrants and a traditionalist streak a mile wide. In short, most of the state falls into the general category of "people who might really hate this gay marriage thing." And yet, it's here, they're queer, and from what I can see everyone is, in fact, used to it. Outside your fire 'n' brimstone pulpit parties where I'm sure the issue still surfaces any time a preacher needs some shorthand for "worldly depravity," nobody freaking cares. Non-issue. Whoopeedeedoo.

I agree completely. I live in near some of the largest populations of homosexuals, and I don't get the sense that their presence undermines the public's sense of what marriage means. In fact, there is nothing public about same-sex marriages. They are not obvious or distinct. A friend noted to me that many of the couples have embraced marriage in ways that aside from gender, could be described as traditional. These few married couples have a streak of traditionalism, affirming marital roles while expanding them to include themselves. Many of the couples no longer call each other partners and refer to each other as husbands and wives


At 12:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hmm, maybe that's why the Christian Right doesn't like gay marriage - you can't spot them as easily if they use traditional identifiers?

To give the "Midwest" perspective, you wouldn't even think that there were any states that allowed gay marriage by people's attitudes here - there is no talk of it whatsoever, even with a significant gay community here in Madison.


At 12:22 PM, Blogger Nathanael said...

The danger of defining marriage as some groups would do is that the abstraction would vacate all marriages of their meaning. Holding up the "union of a man and a woman" creates the perception that any such union is valid and ethical. Would the conditions within the marriage matter so long as it meets the foremost ethical criteria? Is an abusive marriage still better because it is a "union of a man and a woman" and not of two people of the same sex? In my opinion, the value of marriage rests in the specifics of each marriage, not in striving toward an abstract ideal thereof.

What I think people need to realize is that couples who are getting married are inspired by the tropes of heterosexual couples--I think that they realize that marriage cannot be understood without reference to heterosexual marriage. They just want a small part of that trope for themselves.

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