13 July 2006

...Created Them Male And Female.


Common sense from Slate.com, of all places:

"...But what if these gay-marriage bans were not animated by anti-gay bigotry? What if they represent a deeper-seated anxiety about gender and gender roles? What if popular aversion to gay marriage has less to do with hating same-sex couples than with a deep psychological attachment to a powerful symbol of sex difference: the tulle-covered bride and the top-hat-and-tails groom?

No one clearly admits this, perhaps because most people aren't sufficiently self-aware to name their deep anxieties—if they were, psychotherapists would be out of work. But you can hear the longing for secure gender identity in some of the comments of same-sex-marriage opponents. After San Francisco's same-sex marriage experiment, one observer in a red county nearby complained: "God made marriage for Adam and Eve; not Adam and Steve." It's telling that this objection to same-sex marriage doesn't rely on moral condemnation of same-sex couples but instead on the most primordial account of natural sex difference.

Of course, some opponents of same-sex marriage are just anti-gay. But to dismiss all opposition to gay marriage as pure bigotry is to miss an important point. The key to evaluating the real stakes here is to think of gay rights in terms of two major categories: gay marriage and everything else. Because for gay rights other than marriage, the news isn't nearly so dire...

How to reconcile the growing support for equal rights for gay Americans with the seemingly hardening opposition to gay marriage? It certainly suggests that homophobia is only part of the explanation for the widespread resistance to same-sex marriage. A lot of the resistance is less about sexual orientation than about sex difference. In other words, it's not about the difference between gay and straight; it's about the difference between male and female. By this logic, conventional marriage doesn't exclude gay couples from a special status reserved for straights; it excludes women from a special status reserved for men—that of husband—and excludes men from a status reserved for women—that of wife.

Does this sound purely semantic? It's not..."


 

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