Why marriage matters and why we should fight for it

Someone in a comment far, far away was peeved that gay marriage proponents could consider their battle equivalent to the battle for abortion rights for women. How can the deaths of millions of women, she asked, be compared to a piece of paper? To inheritance benefits? How can that silly gay boy hold a sign that checks off Women’s Rights, African Americans’ Rights, and leaves Gay Rights conspicuously unchecked? 

How indeed. 

Marriage is so small. To straight people everywhere it’s just a piece of paper. It’s not universal health care, it’s not prison abolition, it’s not even increased unemployment insurance. So why fight for it?

1) The movement for marriage has a clear, concrete win. It galvanizes people from all communities (both pro and anti marriage equality) because of this clarity. It is one of the few fights today that exists solely in the legal sphere, so that a single law or ruling could actually achieve this victory. Compare this to fighting poverty or curing HIV/AIDS or implementing universal health care. Fighting for marriage is like starting to clean your house by picking up last night’s take out containers and throwing them away — you can do a deep clean later and reorganize your cd collection after you have a small and easily accomplished victory under your belt. 

2) Marriage protects our families. Marriage is a short-hand legal arrangement that produces a family. A marriage license costs about $100. Finding an attorney, compiling the probate, medical, and other contractual documents necessary to approximate marriage will run into the 4 figures and will still not create an equivalent bond that is necessary to protect and nurture a family. 

3) Marriage protects individuals in the case of separation. No one talks about this, because talking about divorce during a conversation about marriage is even ickier than gay sex, but divorce rights are as important as marriage rights. 

Thats all for now, but I really want to come back to this as time goes on. I just need to feel like one post doesn’t have to say everything.  

-Murphy

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