Eric Fritter Riley (fritterfae) wrote,
Eric Fritter Riley
fritterfae

Marriage =/= Monogamy

The last two days have been embroiled in the gay marriage debate both in the Supreme Court, on every news media outlet, and also across Facebook.  But I want to take a moment to talk about something that's been bubbling up across my friends list that I want to address.

Gay marriage does not spell the death of sexual liberation.

I have read two separate articles this morning lamenting the fact that if gay marriage becomes legal that it will be great for civil rights, but that it will force everyone to conform to heteronormative relationship dynamics.  See Megan McArdle's piece, and Scot Nakagawa's piece.

That is the biggest crock of shit I have ever heard.

Of all the gay married couples I know, and I know a good number of legal ones, there are plenty of non-monogamous, open relationship, polyamorous, and especially kinky people.  Being married hasn't changed their relationship dynamics, because it hasn't redefined who they were as a couple.

Marriage is a legal contract, presented by the state, and with that legal contract it confers upon that couple a host of rights via a legal shorthand that we have culturally defined.  But what marriage does not do is preclude you from defining your relationship structure.  There is no legal obligation from the state that requires you to be monogamous to your partner.  The state is not going to tell you that you can't be Mistress Mandy and use your riding crop on your five submissives because you're married.  The state is not going to tell you that you aren't allowed to fall in love with people outside your legally sanctioned marriage*.  The state is not going to tell you that you can't fuck half of Iowa and sell the video footage because you're married.  Marriage does not preclude you from being sexually liberated.  Marriage does not make you the property of your spouse.

There is no ball and chain.  You forged that when you bought into the idea of a ball and chain.

Marriage is only heteronormative if you allow it to be heteronormative.

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* The issue of polygamy, or plural marriage, is one that is always on the tip of people's tongues.  Usually from the conservative argument as a "slippery slope."  It tends to go something like "If gay people can get married, then what's going to stop polygamists?"  To them I say, Absolutely Nothing.  Polygamy is something that needs to be revisited and readdressed culturally, and the sexual liberation movement has done wonders to get us there.  The kinds of discrimination that polygamy faces is just as real and just as devastating to people who love and care for each other.  This will come up, and in the end poly people will win too.
Tags: commentary, news, politics, queer
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