Friday, August 1, 2008

Register Your Car With the Government, Not Your Intimate Relationships

In an article I read today on Alternet, Is Marriage Worth Fighting For?, a straight woman re-examines her objections to legal marriage in light of recent gains in the fight for same-sex marriage:

"Recent steps legalizing gay marriage have made me reevaluate my aversion to the institution. But I still have my doubts."

The author's objections to marriage have been based on a few key reasons:

1) I don't want to participate in an institution that's been historically sexist and currently discriminates against my gay friends, especially considering that my partner and I couldn't have been married in some states just 40 years ago (we're miscegenators), and 2) I'm uncomfortable with the "till death do us part" rhetoric that seems to suggest that two people parting ways is an inherent failure, rather than, as is so often the case, a necessary moment of growth and change.

She also noted the tendency for people to typically backslide into stereotyped gender roles once they'd gotten legally married, a phenomenon that is less common among those cohabiting.

My response is as follows:

Register Your Car With the Government, Not Your Intimate Relationships

The author mentions her commitment to not get married because it is sexist, heterosexist, and racist. She also mentions the nearly ubiquitous slide into stereotyped sex roles that often occurs after marriage.

These are all valid reasons, but for me, personally, it's the obligatory monogamy that makes marriage a bad fit for me. Even the author of the article does not question this sacred cow, as she writes about seeing the validity of her father's words: "There are as many kinds of marriages as there are married couples,".

Even more central to my objection to marriage -- and this applies to any relationship, gay, straight, single race, interracial, monogamous, nonmonogamous -- is that I think it's an inappropriate governmental intrusion into the private, personal relationships of consenting adults.

It shouldn't be up to the government to make personal relationships "real"; it shouldn't be their place to define, legislate, or promote any type of intimate relationship above all others.

The idea that people must get a license and register their intimate relationships with the government to make them "real" in the same way they get a license to drive and register their cars is really kind of offensive, if you take the time to sit down and think about it.

In the same way that a driver's license is the government's permission to drive, a marriage license is the government's permission to have sex with just one registered partner and to have "legitimate" children with said official sex partner. I don't know about you, but I'll be damned if I register my sex partners with the government, and I certainly don't need it to make my son "legitimate".

People can still have their private weddings and parties to celebrate their relationships with their friends and families, if they so choose. They just shouldn't have to inform the government about it.

1 comment:

Interracialmatch said...
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