Reader Benoni sent me this article that argues that marriage equality is a conservative plot. According to its author, there has never been any progressive argument for the legalization of gay marriage:
There has never been a left case for gay marriage. Nothing that the left, progressives, or liberals have stated in support of gay marriage has ever been anything but a profoundly conservative argument. Gays and lesbians should be allowed to marry for healthcare? That simply shores up the power of the neoliberal state, compelling people to marry and take on the burden for their own care, instead of creating, for instance, a system that grants life-saving benefits to everyone, regardless of marital status. This is a matter of “simple equality?” How is a system that systematically denies those same benefits to single people ever anything but fundamentally unequal? Denying marriage to some is denying them their ability to love or to have their love affirmed? If your love depends upon the recognition of the state, your relationship is in greater trouble than you think. Poor people will somehow benefit from marriage by accessing healthcare through their partners? Poor people’s problems don’t arise from their inability to get married and in a country without universal healthcare, marriage only compounds your poverty. And, really, if you’re poor, neither you nor your partner is likely to have healthcare anyway; the last thing you want is to increase the burden on your household by increasing the number of people in it.
It is a well-known rhetorical trick when one ascribes really bizarre opinions to one’s opponents and then denounces them for holding such pig-headed beliefs. Every single person I know is in favor of marriage equality, including people who are passionately anti-marriage. These people are gay, straight, bisexual, asexual, pansexual, and they all support gay marriage for one simple reason: denying people rights on the basis of their sexual orientation is morally wrong.
So yes, I believe it’s a matter of simple equality and I’ve never heard of anybody denying single heterosexual people the right to get married. It was a matter of simple equality at the time when interracial marriage was made legal, it was a matter of simple equality when women won the right to vote, it was a matter of simple equality when slavery was abolished. And then, as now, there was a chorus of voices claiming that the world would end if this simple equality were achieved. Many of those voices pretended to be progressive and practiced the rhetorical strategy of “yes, but. . .” Just like this article says, “Yes, but wouldn’t it be much more fun to dehumanize gay people and rob them of their rights in order to spite the mean, bad capitalists?”
The idea that the absence of universal healthcare somehow justifies preventing a gay couple from doing what any straight couple can do very easily is bizarre. But what can we expect from a blogger who claims Jezebel is a feminist website?
By all means, let’s fight for universal healthcare and against the discrimination of unmarried couples. But first let’s make sure that nobody is denied the right to organize their personal life the way they wish simply because they are gay.