In the Spring of 2000 I wrote an opinion piece for Venus Magazine's ( no longer in existence ) Back Chat section titled "Until Death Do You Part?" about the LGBT fight for holy commitments and domestic partnerships.
In my piece I stated that "Quiet as it's kept, same-sex marriages are on the horizon." I knew then what I am very aware of nowthat when mainstream LGBT organizations jump on board, it is only a matter of time before "they" win. Don't get me wrong. I understand the importance of this issue; still I see it as a very classist ideology.
The marriage framework is a construct based on a financial premisearrangement and benefit. Who benefits? Better yet, what does love have to do with it? Beyond the "legal arrangement," my argument is based on the premise of loving, honoring and cherishing until death do you part … whether you had that piece of paper or not.
Does the ability to get married keep people together? Obviously, no. Still, many have said "it is cheaper to keep her/him" and so their efforts to maintain their relationship actually turns out to be a financial agreement. I am fine with that if we know that going in. However, many are falling in love and wanting to live happily ever after. Do we need a piece of paper for that?
What I find interesting and absolutely fascinating about the LGBT fight for marriage equality is that it was an agenda mostly orchestrated, fueled and funded by gay white males and the mainstream LGBT organizations. Yes, I understand that many people of color were on the frontlines of the fight but a majority of those individuals ( many I know ) are not poor, marginalized or disadvantaged. On the other hand, those individuals that are living on the margins of society have more important things to do than march for marriage equality. Yes I want my friends and family to marry if they choose. However, I also want my friends to have healthcare, a fair and livable wage, decent places for their families to live and the ability to walk the streets in love without being terrorized. Is that too much to ask?
I am disappointed with the mainstream LGBT movement focusing on marriage equality when so many in the community are suffering from daily injustices. My everyday conversations with my friends don't center on marriage or white picket fences. In fact we discuss the challenges they face in raising autistic children without any support; or why they can't find a decent affordable apartment in a safe and resourced neighborhood; or how they have to go miles to find healthy foods. A lack of employment or minimum wage are very valid concerns. Yet, the topic of conversation for the mainstream movement is the ability to get married.
My question is if my friends can get married will they find a job that pays them a livable wage? With her marriage certificate can she access a safe place to raise her children?
Despite all of this, I know and understand that we should have the choice to love, marry and make the type of family we want and desire. This is a reproductive justice issue. I fully support a person's choice to make their own decisions. However, I know that if I partnered with that special someone, a piece of paper is not going to keep me committed. Shout out to Kurt and Goldie! Like I ended my opinion piece 15 years ago, "Who needs society to validate our relationships? What's really the point? A ring on the finger or love in the heart?"