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Wednesday 08 October 2008


Proclamations of the Red Queen

4th October 2008

Canada: Same-Sex Marriage- I Do/I Don’t?

Posted by: Craig Young

After a brief flurry of tuxedo and lace fetishism, Canadian lesbians and gay men are sitting down and pondering whether or not they want to get hitched, now that they can, according to Jillian Deri in Xtra.

gay-wedding-cake.jpgI have to say that I’m still sceptical about the value and worth of the institution of marriage per se. For one thing, as I’ve said time and time again, my Mum and Dad recently celebrated their fiftieth wedding anniversary. They’re also the only ones in my dad’s generation who are still together, for that matter. As for my sister, the only worthwhile thing my no-good ex-brother in law left her was my five year old nephew, Jordan.

So yeah, when all’s said and done, I prefer civil unions. However, I also realise that other LGBT folk will make different choices. Some of the ‘radical queer’ or lesbian feminist persuasion believe that marriage is an assimilationist and male-dominated institution, and they don’t need the blessing of church, state or market to sanction their relationships. We have developed our own alternative models of relationships and families, and shouldn’t be in such a hurry to abandon them, or so this thought goes.

And given that heterosexual marriages often end in divorce (given my own family experience above), then isn’t it also a good idea to evaluate what will happen in the event of same-sex divorce before one rushes into marital fetishism? Or, for that matter in our own context, civil unions?

Of course, not all of us do think same-sex marriage is a bad idea. According to Craig Maynard of Canadians for Equal Marriage British Columbia, there are three aspects to the same-sex marriage debate-legal, cultural and personal. In Canada, the first two have been resolved, so what about the third? For one thing, we haven’t had relationship equality long enough to evaluate the effectiveness of same-sex marriage or civil unions. For another, won’t polyamory continue to co-exist alongside same-sex marriage anyway?

And here’s a surprise- even some religious LGBT folk don’t want to marry, primarily because any Canadian same-sex marriage would be a┬ácivil one, ┬ádevoid of any explicit sanction for their inclusion within their community of faith, which is of paramount importance to them.

Whatever one thinks, though, many of us would agree that marital status should not be an excuse to deny resources to alternative relationship models or family structures- solo parents, civilly united couples and others. We should be pro-families, as Judith Stacey, US progay and feminist family sociologist, has said.

It does raise an interesting question, though- what about transgender individuals who are married? How do they find things, given that they won relationship inclusion well before lesbians and gays did, at least in our context?

Recommended:

Jillian Deri: “Why most Canadian lesbians and gays are choosing not to marry” Xtra.ca: http://www.xtra.ca/public/Vancouver/Why_most_Canadian_gays_and_lesbians_are_choosing_not_to_marry-5549.aspx

Tags: Politics

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