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Last week the decision in Ohio broadening the scope of gay marriage put one more nail in the coffin of homophobic culture and was a win for equal rights-- or was it?  Don't get me wrong.  I am in full support of gay marriage and everyone having the same civil rights.  The trouble with fighting for a civil reform is that we are fighting for the right to be included in the existing system and that doesn't take into account the fact that we are basically fighting for the right to be as f**ked up as everybody else.

The movement for gay marriage came out of the gay movement which came out of the male gay culture. The agenda of this movement for  social change has always focused on reform demands for the same civil rights (i.e., gay marriage) that the heterosexual community already has.

Then along came  the lesbian feminist movement calling, not for the right to assimilate into traditional gender roles, but the elimination of those roles altogether; eliminating the assumptions that women should be submissive and challenging the basis of marriage entirely since it had originated as an institution in which men literally bought and owned women, their labor and their children.

Although the majority of states that have weighed in still ban gay marriage,  there are 17-19 states (depending on how you are counting) that have now legalized gay marriage. The most common way has been through the courts, though a couple of states have been through legislative votes and in recent years all the decisions and votes have been going in the right direction (for legalizing gay marriage).

The dominant liberal media has been strongly behind the LGBT community on this issue.  None of the problems or oppressive social structures that have been associated with the nuclear family seem to make it into the media as we watch the two little old ladies who have lived together for 50 years finally gain social respectability and generous tax breaks as they take their vows, or the two gorgeous young men who just put out $500,000 for a fabulous destination wedding. Most recently, the media has been touting "statistics" that show that gay marriages have less divorces than straight marriages.

In fact many young heterosexual people are waiting longer and longer periods to marry, if they choose to marry at all, and the number of divorces for heterosexual marriages hovers around 50%. And the data that is currently being aggressively promoted by the media to show that homosexual and lesbian marriages are more stable is laughable given the lack of statistics or very small samples over very small periods of time that are available.  


So why the rush by the media and the dominant culture to support gay marriage?  Even a few Republicans have gotten on board (which really makes me suspicious given how in every other area of my life the Republican platform's interests have been directly opposed to my interests)? Is it a sincere desire to accept gay folks for who we are or is it more about shoring up and reinforcing the failing institution of marriage? And why is marriage so important to them? Of all the policies issues we as a LGBT community could focus on, is Gay Marriage actually our first choice or is this the main LGBT policy issue because the dominant culture picked it for us?

I can hear the comments, even from anti-capitalists, now: It's another one of those picky humorless Lesbian Feminists who just won't give it a rest.  OK, it's only a reform, but it's hard out there in a capitalist world and why can't we just get a few tax breaks now with out this ridiculous harangue? Besides, I finally found my one true love and we want to proclaim it to the world like everyone else.  We'll get rid of the nuclear family after the socialist revolution.

Even I have occasionally drunk the Kool Aid. I remember when I was in graduate school writing whole treatises on the evils of the nuclear family, I went to a Bette Midler concert with my girlfriend where, with an entire concert hall of other lesbians, we held hands, and with tears in our eyes, loudly joined in the refrain:

"We're going to the chapel and we're going to married,
we're going to the chapel and going to get maaaried,
we're going to the chapel and we're going to get maaarried,
we're going to the chapel of love!"

(The repeats are necessary to get the full emotional effect)

What we do and don't get out of Gay Marriage on both the personal and policy level.

 On a personal level, the most important advantages of gay marriage to me
would be 1) the tax breaks (over 400) that I would get and the other legal conveniences such as hospital visiting rights, joint insurance, etc; 2)sharing the rent and utilities, the cleaning, etc.; being able to roll over and have an intimate relationship without having to go out and look for it. But all of these things could be available to me in a domestic partnership (if, in fact, the states gave all the same rights to domestic partnerships as marriages).  What I couldn't get is the social respectability that comes with two people signing up for a lifelong monogamous relationship that only comes with marriage sanctified by God and shows that I am an adult capable of a committed adult relationship -- otherwise why would there be two separate categories if one was not better than the other? Like marriage is like the black belt of relationships.  

I kind of resent this because, personally, when I was married, I tended to find the two by two Noah's Ark relationship kind of isolating. One of the things I enjoyed most about the Lesbian community was that the very fact that marriage was not available to us, led to the development of more alternative types of arrangements. While plenty of women did live in couples similar to heterosexual marriages, many lived in relationships which involved three or more people.  Also I found that many of us found our best friends and most committed relationships were with ex-lovers. Kind of like a community of sisters (think Sister Sledge and We Are Family).

I also find that in marriage, because of its origin in heterosexual marriages, there is a tendency to sometimes mimic the gender roles (who is the husband? Who is the wife?). Since the traditional marital relationship was also based on extreme inequality where the husband literally "owned" the wife, some of this power inequality also filters into gay marriages even though it not legally mandated in modern marriages.

Besides reinforcing the inequality between the two people in the relationship, marriage reinforces and magnifies other forms of inequality.  For one, single people (who constitute and increasing percentage of the population) do not get the tax breaks or other financial benefits society bestows on marriage. Also, if two men marry, since men in a patriarchal society still make more money and accumulate more wealth than women, are likely to end up in a more upscale lifestyle than if two women marry since our incomes are lower.  Moreover, if there are children (which is true in most cases) the women are more likely to be the custodial parents than the men and have to bear the labor and monetary costs this implies.

My personal policy solution would be to shore up civil unions that would in fact be equal to the advantages of marriage but would not 1)be based on sexual relations or required monogamy. In such cases, two single friends could apply, a grandma raising her nieces child could apply, several people in whatever kind of relationship (sexual or not) could apply.  

Such a legal structure would further, if there are children involved, provide a stipend to the "parents" for raising the children.  This would eliminate the blatantly unequal financial start children have in life, depending on what private nuclear family they were born into.

Speaking of focusing on private versus publicly funded solutions to our personal economic relationships,  I think it is important to understand that capitalism is intent on preserving private arrangements for reproducing the next generation of children (i.e., marriage) because it gets them off the hook for paying for the necessary public services (childcare, physical nurturing, etc) to reproduce the next generation and greatly increases capitalism's profits.

So let's get marriage out of the public domain and leave it to the religious sphere where it belongs and focus our energies on civil unions.

Originally posted to Anti-Capitalist Meetup on Sun Apr 20, 2014 at 03:00 PM PDT.

Also republished by Feminism, Pro-Feminism, Womanism: Feminist Issues, Ideas, & Activism and Sexism and Patriarchy.

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Comment Preferences

  •  agreed, since the institution when extended (5+ / 0-)

    completely to the LGBT community, is problematic still from an economic (in the last instance) POV. In fact discrimination and exploitation will still remain, despite assholes in photography parlors, bakeries, and florist shopd

    So let's get marriage out of the public domain and leave it to the religious sphere where it belongs and focus our energies on civil unions.  

    Warning - some snark may be above‽ (-9.50; -7.03)‽ eState4Column5©2013 "I’m not the strapping young Muslim socialist that I used to be" - Barack Obama 04/27/2013 (@eState4Column5).

    by annieli on Sun Apr 20, 2014 at 03:10:06 PM PDT

  •  Geminijen, has this been reposted (4+ / 0-)

    to other sites? If not, I will do it. Have shared on facebook in a number of places, but need to know asap about reposting.

    "Hegel noticed somewhere that all great world history facts and people so to speak twice occur. He forgot to add: the one time as tragedy, the other time as farce" Karl Marx, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte .

    by NY brit expat on Sun Apr 20, 2014 at 03:13:41 PM PDT

  •  Hetero-normative worldview AGAIN (10+ / 0-)
    So let's get marriage out of the public domain and leave it to the religious sphere where it belongs and focus our energies on civil unions.
    When the !@#$ are you going to STOP? The first time I presented in the problems of the initiative process after Proposition 8 as a married gay man in 2009, I was on a panel with someone who was saying exactly this. It annoyed me then and it annoys me now.

    Isn't it enough that lesbian feminism introduced the notion of "choice" to the LGBT proceedings, where it's done more damage than good? Right now, marriage equality is a slap in the face to the people who are insisting on a hetero-normative definition of marriage, the kind they call "traditional." But NoooooOOoo. That's not good enough, is it. I'm sorry if you think I'm being hopelessly anachronistic, but there it is.

    Seneca Falls, Selma, Stonewall

    by Dave in Northridge on Sun Apr 20, 2014 at 03:24:02 PM PDT

    •  I know this is a touchy issue but I don't think (4+ / 0-)

      just because we label it gay marriage that eliminates all the pitfalls of the institution of marriage. I am not saying you can't get married if you want.  I am just saying I shouldn't feel like I have to put myself in that box due to societal pressure and no other way to get my needs met. Besides, lesbians are women and sometimes even feminists and gay so my opinion is just as legitimate as yours in the community even if you disagree.

      •  You shouldn't (4+ / 0-)

        but you don't need to suggest nobody should be able to put him or herself in that box. I've published my initial take on these issues in a diary I just posted.

        I'm also not saying you shouldn't express your opinion, you just shouldn't be surprised if it gets challenged.

        Seneca Falls, Selma, Stonewall

        by Dave in Northridge on Sun Apr 20, 2014 at 04:02:07 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Marriage is a lot more flexible (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Geminijen, NY brit expat, MrJayTee

        than society would have people believe.

        I have friends that are married but both are involved in the polyamory movement -- I don't think I could handle that sort of social calendar but it works for them. Even within a "traditional marriage" you don't have to have the rigid gender roles; in my own marriage I do the cooking (because I'm better at it) but Mr. Scribe does the cleanup, I plan the menus but either he does the shopping or we do it together (he's got a good eye for sales), he's done the laundry since we got married (our first apartment had the laundry room down two very steep flights of stairs and he was worried about me falling with a heavy laundry basket), I clean the toilet and the sink in the bathroom and he takes care of the floor and the tub/shower, etc.

        You have the legal framework and protections of marriage -- but each couple is free to decide how to run their own marriage themselves. And that's something that's best resolved before you sign on the dotted line.

        There's only one rule that I know of, babies -- goddammit, you've got to be kind. -- Kurt Vonnegut

        by Cali Scribe on Sun Apr 20, 2014 at 06:13:40 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  We all have to try to live in the world we are (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          poco, NY brit expat

          dealt and it sounds like you have developed a pretty good working relationship.  Actually I think gay men do better having outside relationships than women because it kind of requires that you break the marriage code you have signed on to and men have been expected to break that monogamous code whereas women may break it but feel more guilty if we do (pardon the generalization).

          Also, wouldn't it be nice if in order to get the legal benefits and protections of marriage, you didn't have to be a hypocrite. Even though we often know and subtly agree to have an open relationship, the fact that it is done in what is supposed to be a traditionally monogamous situation often leads to some confusion and trust issues that wouldn't be there if we could be totally honest.  I think a redefined civil union that incorporates a number of these ideas would be better than chasing after this illusion of marriage that hasxn't existed much for straight or gay folks.

  •  Implementing Equality! (5+ / 0-)

    When, many years ago, the issue of gay marriage was first raised to me, I wondered "Why the hell would they want to do that?"  Then I read an article which detailed the many, many advantages a heterosexual couple has over a homosexual one.  The list was very long, convincing me that we either should abolish state controlled marriages altogether or give everyone the right to share in the benefits of marriage.

    Short of abolishing marriage for all, extending the right to everyone is the obvious solution and, thank the Goddess, that is happening in many parts of the U.S.  

    I see "civil unions" as a stopgap measure until fully legal equality is a reality for everyone throughout the U.S.   Once that is an accomplished fact, we can address the issue of abolishing marriage altogether.

    I suggest that abolition of marriage be accompanied by a licensing requirement for all those who want to raise children.  Raising a child is a hell of a lot harder and more complicated than driving a car, and there is no insurance to compensate for accidental injuries.

    Convict the War Criminals, Surveilers and Fraudsters. Support universal health care, unions, WikiLeaks, Manning and Snowden. On Occupy Wall Street! Time for a totally new, democratic economic system. Turn the corporations into worker cooperatives!

    by Justina on Sun Apr 20, 2014 at 03:35:25 PM PDT

    •  this alone would radically change the discipline (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      NY brit expat, Geminijen, Galtisalie

      called Social Work

      I suggest that abolition of marriage be accompanied by a licensing requirement for all those who want to raise children.  Raising a child is a hell of a lot harder and more complicated than driving a car, and there is no insurance to compensate for accidental injuries.

      Warning - some snark may be above‽ (-9.50; -7.03)‽ eState4Column5©2013 "I’m not the strapping young Muslim socialist that I used to be" - Barack Obama 04/27/2013 (@eState4Column5).

      by annieli on Sun Apr 20, 2014 at 03:44:20 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  this regulatory measure also applies to (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        NY brit expat, Geminijen, Galtisalie, poco

        firearms, needless to say. It to possible to claim: "Owning a firearm is a hell of a lot harder and more complicated than driving a car, and there is no insurance to compensate for accidental injuries."

        Warning - some snark may be above‽ (-9.50; -7.03)‽ eState4Column5©2013 "I’m not the strapping young Muslim socialist that I used to be" - Barack Obama 04/27/2013 (@eState4Column5).

        by annieli on Sun Apr 20, 2014 at 04:05:34 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •   I have no trouble regulating firearms (and I owne (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          NY brit expat, MrJayTee, Galtisalie, poco

          one for several years when I lived out West) but I think the situation is substantially different in that at least to me a man's love for his firearm is not as compelling as a woman's love for her child (right or wrong).  I would want to help the man or woman refocus ttheir energy from their firearms to more productive venues in a modern society, but in the case of a mother and child, want to help the woman if possible learn how to be a good paqrent so she could get licensed and get a stipend (assuming she wouldn't get a stipend if she wasn't license and I suspect there would be a lot of unlicensed babies running around (hey, it would be a new type of illegitimacy!

    •  Think tat marriage is too old,strong & inherently (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      NY brit expat, MrJayTee, Galtisalie

      reaction a solution to wait until after the revolution to try to deal with it (though I also support gay marriage as part of reforms under capitalism, just as I support equality in the military).

      Lisa Duggan wrote an excellent article in the Nation  a few years back on shifting our focus to supporting a vigorous concept of domestic unions as more progressive for all communities (also throwing out the concept of couples and sex as the basis for those unions)

      I'm glad you raised the issue of "licensing" parents, I thought about that issue if we do go the public route, but it is so controversial on the concept of choice (i.e abortion in china) that I ducked it. But glad you raised it.

  •  I cannot tell you how many times (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Geminijen, MrJayTee, Galtisalie, annieli, poco

    I have had this discussion with women on the left and socialist feminists. We fought so hard against the ideological bindings of marriage and its relation to the family, private property and the state. I cannot tell you how many friends I have that had children with partners w/o marriage as they did not believe in it. I cannot tell you how many people (including myself) preferred not to give into the shackles that bind in marriage and legitimise this ideological binding.

    Of course, we support whatever people want to do; marriage should be a choice for all and if GLBT people want it, no question will I stand by my LGBT sisters and brothers and support them and do whatever I can to assist.  There was never a question on that.

    Yet, it makes me uncomfortable, as though we are legitimising something that has been a major tool of oppression for women since the damn thing was invented and forced on us by the societies in which we live.  It was that which tied us into property relations where men (either our fathers or husbands or even our sons) controlled us as a part of that private property, of entrapment in relationships which we often could never get out of (yet had to do in the context of societies) depending on the societies in which we lived and the power of religion (the other tool of oppression for women alongside the state) in these societies.

    Think about how our reproductive rights were controlled by our husbands, our bodies and our right to decide whether or not to have sex was determined by our husbands and enforced by religion and the state, domestic violence was viewed as appropriate for a man to control his property, in countless countries, adultery was seen as a mitigating condition on murder. For so many women, the idea of saying no to marriage was a step towards liberation.  

    So, I hear you Geminijen, believe me. But, if that is what my LGBT sisters and brothers want, I will support it. I wish that they never learn the lessons that so many women have learned so hard and for so long ... things have changed, but not by so much that we can laugh about rape in marriage, domestic violence and male control over our reproductive rights.

    "Hegel noticed somewhere that all great world history facts and people so to speak twice occur. He forgot to add: the one time as tragedy, the other time as farce" Karl Marx, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte .

    by NY brit expat on Sun Apr 20, 2014 at 04:10:02 PM PDT

    •  Well put. I also support choice, but this doesn't (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      NY brit expat, Galtisalie, poco

      mean i'm not going to share my considerable knowledge, both academic and personal on this issue.  Also, it doesn't have to be male on  female oppression to have an imbalance of power in a marriage internally and we are experts on how to do it in the gay community since the normal avenues for getting the power edge in marriage are not available to us -- i.e. white privilege by marrying a person of a different race, class privilege by marrying someone with less financial resources or from a lower class background, age privilege by marrying someone substantially younger or older, though the age difference gives privilege in different ways if the partners are male or female due to cultural values on age and sex.  The point is that as long as we accept on any level the basic premise that it is not only ok to have unequal power relations in the marriage, but in fact the point of marriage.  

  •  Then there's consolidating a fundamental (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Galtisalie, Geminijen, poco, NY brit expat

    Social and political change before moving on to the next. We personally may be well past bourgeois notions of marriage, but we still need to pound as many nails as possible into the coffins of our adversaries as we progress to the next battles.

    I'm not wild about marriage, either, but many, many of my sisters and brothers want it, so I want it for them; it confers concrete benefits that our preferred models don't--yet.  But it's also a giant, legally sanctioned fuck you to one element of reaction. It may not be the victory we want most, but it's still a victory, and every victory helps.

    •  Agree its a victory which is why I support it, but (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MrJayTee, poco, NY brit expat

      this shouldn't stop us from looking at why so many folks in our  community made this the major issue and really analyze where we go from here to get the most progressive outcome -- we don't have to do these things as single issue but develop one thing from another.  You can't will a movement into being (objective conditions) and clearly this is a movement - but I think we really should look at why we made this specific choice as a priority and whether it really was our choice or years of conditioning, primed by plenty of government structural and monetary incentives.

      •  Did we really make a specific choice? (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Geminijen, poco, NY brit expat, Buckeye54

        I think marriage became the priority issue because it sits at the very heart of institutional heterosexuality, making it the biggest, juiciest, most symbolically powerful political prize. It became the priority because of its importance to them, not its importance to us.

        Whether marriage was ever really a social or personal good strikes me as a separate (however critical) issue.

        What do you think?

  •  I am with my brothers and sisters in (3+ / 0-)

    solidarity to make whatever choices they want on this issue. I'm also fine with eventually making marriage strictly a religious or personal "sacrament" so that civil unions would cover the legal matters. But I do not, now or post-revolution, oppose nuclear families. Cuba learned that shunning nuclear families didn't work so well. In fact it needlessly engenders opposition to socialism. I'm not glamorizing the nuclear family, but I could never support banning it.

    garden variety democratic socialist: accepting life's complexity|striving for global stewardship of our soil and other resources to meet everyone's basic needs|being a friend to the weak

    by Galtisalie on Sun Apr 20, 2014 at 05:26:13 PM PDT

    •  Marriage is strictly a secular legal contract. (3+ / 0-)

      The diarist has confused marriage with "holy matrimony" and other cult rituals.

      And unlike marriage, civil unions have no interstate, federal or international recognition.

      •  Its the second part of your observastions that (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Galtisalie, poco, NY brit expat

        I would like to fix. Instead of fighting for better marriages (which would not exist in either civil or religious form without patriarchal history, I would encourage making civil unions nationwide.  But even that wouldn't fix anything unless they got rid of the monogamy rule which just forces people to lie and develop skills in subterfuge since primates generally are not naturally monogamous and provided an equal opportunity subsidy to children born into the civil union instead of leaving children's chance of development to a highly unequal privatized child rearing system.

        •  That's not only an uphill battle but a pointless (3+ / 0-)

          one, given that marriage already is just a secular legal contract.

          The pointless part is twofold - first that you're simply changing a name to accomplish what already exists as a legal matter, and thus disadvantaging all married couples in the interim for no good reason.   You're literally accomplishing nothing from a legal standpoint.  And you're doing so just to coddle ignorant bigots, which seems misguided at best.

          Second, it won't ultimately satisfy the bigots and Christofascists anyway.   The proof of that premise is when Hawaiian governor Linda Lingle vetoed their civil union bill and said she did so because it was "too much like marriage."   In other words what the bigots really have is a psychological need to feel superior to gays, even when the law in question was a Jim Crow law designed to confer 2nd-class status upon gays.  

          We see that in France too (a country which has had civil unions for gays for 15 years), where even though secular marriage and holy matrimony are two very distinct things the far right wing freaked out anyway when marriage equality was passed - precisely because they have a need to feel special.    The bigots were relatively quiet in France as long as gays were denied marriage - even though both gays and straights already had access to the legally virtually identical civil unions (PACS).

          •  I think where we disagree about the direction (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            poco, NY brit expat

            forward it that I am not planning in reaction to the far right homophobia since I really believe that is already a dead issue and they are just trying to hold on as long as they can.

            I'm responding to mainstream liberal approval of the gay community finally being allowed into what they, not me, perceive as the "holy land" where we get $ benefits and respectability if we will just accept their lifestyle and their prized institution -- marriage which has grown out of the basic concept of one person owning and controlling another.

             Personally, I think we can do better and civil unions are just one of the possible vehicles.

            •  So what's the legal difference between the current (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Geminijen, NY brit expat

              legal contract of marriage and your proposed "civil union"?   If there is none, what's your motivation for a change?

              And regardless of whether there are changes to social contracts down the road, the immediate imperative is making sure that all citizens are treated equally under the law.   For me that's the basic issue - my gay daughter deserves the exact same rights I enjoy as a married straight guy.

              And regarding your comment about marriage having "grown out of the basic concept of one person owning and controlling another", that's true historically but really hasn't been true in the US since the early 90s when the last of the marital rape laws was repealed.    If there are any vestiges of gender bias in the marital laws of any state today (ie, divorce, child custody, domestic abuse, etc), same-sex marriage can only serve to help purge those inequities from the law.

              •  The civil union I am proposing is not based on a (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                poco, NY brit expat

                sexual relationship (all can apply - two single friends, an aunt and her niece raising their daughter together, etc.) or a limit on the number of people (three or four people regardless of their sexual or non sexual relationship) and the state pays a stipend to parents so children in the institution are not subject for their development on the whims of the private market and the particular wealth and resources of their individual parents.  At least two of those things (non-monogamy and multiple people in the union) are legal in a marriage contract.  

                •  Marriage isn't based on a sexual relationship (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  NY brit expat, Geminijen, poco

                  either.   Intimacy might be assumed but it isn't required.   It's also not about procreation, and any tax credits for dependent children aren't based on marital status.   Nor does marriage require monogamy, at least not in the majority of states.   It only tends to be the south which still has laws against adultery and those generally aren't even enforced.

                  Marriage is primarily about kinship rights and property rights, and pretty much always has been.   That fact poses a significant hurdle for plural marriage or for your proposed multiple person "civil union", at least if they include any property rights or kinship rights (and if they don't, what's the point to them?).   Which spouse makes medical decisions for an incapacitated spouse?   A majority vote?   And how happy will your employer be when he learns that the family plan will have to cover health care for not just one spouse but five?   And what about SS survivor's benefits or the thousands of other rights and benefits of spouses?

                  The bottom line is that while some things can be accomplished via private contracts, many of the key rights of marriage are binding on third parties like the state, the feds, insurers, hospitals, employers, etc.   Most of those rights get very complex administratively if the contract includes more than two spouses.

                  •  All the points you raise are excellent and (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:

                    specific. We are just coming from different places --I like  putting regulation of people's economic life entirely in the public, communal social sphere and eliminating  the traditional marriage concepts including people as private property. For instance,  monogamy --there are still enforced laws against bigamy and adultery is still applicable in the division of assets and custody in divorce and there are still many differences that advantage married parents over nonsexually related parents - two girlfriends raising children together have a harder time obtaining housing rights.

                    You apparently feel comfortable with the institutions as they are and argue how they are good enough with maybe some minor changes.  For me they are not.

        •  "Monogomy Rule"? (0+ / 0-)

          Hm.  I'm not monogomous.  Neither is my partner.  I didn't realize marriage had that rule (lots of other swingers don't either I suspect).

          Minority rights should never be subject to majority vote.

          by lostboyjim on Mon Apr 21, 2014 at 03:39:37 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Legal issues such as adultery, ha ving more than (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            one partner, while not official outlawed accept in some Southern states at this point, still as issues in divorce and custody cases.  And even folks who agree to step outside the official culturally accepted social rules so it should not be a problem, when people are angry and fighting, many of these issues get used to get a better financial outcome or custody of a child.

            It is much better to actually fight to change the legal concepts in an institution to meet people's reality so you don't have to rely on doing it on the down low.

    •  I always respect your opinion, but I'm curious if (3+ / 0-)
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      Galtisalie, poco, NY brit expat

      it is specifically the nuclear family or the concept of a family in general that you feel is necessary as the smaller nuclear family is a relatively new form of marriage which really developed under capitalism.  Personally, even though it was more patriarchal, I think I prefer the extended family structure which is less individualistic and provides people broader communal support.  

      •  Whatever type of family, or lack thereof, people (2+ / 0-)
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        Geminijen, NY brit expat

        want to try is fine with me. I'm partial to the nuclear family but extended families are fine too, as long as they don't provoke disparate treatment of those outside the unit, however constructed, a great point you raise. I've seen a lot of terrible nuclear families. Many of us grew up in them. So all the criticisms of them I'd probably share. But some of us, despite the pitfalls, still like them. Bengelsdorf's book on Cuba by the way is my cite on Castro's eventual recognition that shunning nuclear families was a mistake.

        I have a personal anecdote on this. A pro-revolution family with a close friend of mine emigrated from Cuba specifically over the fear that the nuclear family was being shunned. (They were also being shunned for going to church, another historically imperfect structure I wouldn't shun.)

        That said, I always appreciate your views and education of me so much. So please realize, I see the bias in favor of families under capitalist laws as wrong. And I can do my best to empathize with other's views and experiences who've been burned by all the "pro-family" biases, etc. But I'd try to address the biases rather than proscribe nuclear families.


        garden variety democratic socialist: accepting life's complexity|striving for global stewardship of our soil and other resources to meet everyone's basic needs|being a friend to the weak

        by Galtisalie on Sun Apr 20, 2014 at 06:42:45 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  One last round! I support any institution that (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Galtisalie, poco, NY brit expat

          is concerned with supporting and integrating all members of a society into the community. I oppose all institutions which I believe isolate people from their larger community goals and encourage the commodification of people.

          In this sense, I see the nuclear family as a small corner where we can run away and hide and lick our wounds when the larger struggle gets to much.  In that sense, I see it as a bribe to encourage us to stop fighting for the greater good,. For example, when we opened a women's center for all women, we found that many women did not come to the center because they suddenly decided they wanted their freedom and equality.  Most came because they had been betrayed by a patriarchal society and didn't know where to turn when their husbands or significant spouses deserted them.  At the Center, many heterosexual women turned to lesbian relationships because they felt those relationships were "different" and less abusive.  But they then stopped working on issues to help all women because they had found an individual solution to the global problem of the oppression of women.

          •  Great great points. Excellent diary. (3+ / 0-)
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            NY brit expat, Geminijen, poco

            You're very right about the "oasis/retreat" factor. Solidarity could be diminished by those who build a privileged shelter within their families. I'm not saying it is easy to address that. On the other hand, the opposition of nuclear families to socialism would be enormously counterproductive. Also, some forms of "oases/retreats" can be good and seem to be a natural human urge. For an animal it could be a familiar tree or a friend who will be there to howl at the moon with us. So, to build a successful culture, we have to factor in subjective needs and experiences.

            So sad how paternalism has degraded human relationships. I did a post the other day about Lorca mentioning "The House of Bernarda Alba." The anti-capitalist play illustrates the corruption of female relationships within a nuclear family and a rural Spanish village society. Paternalism and religiosity all played their roles to destroy whatever good might have arisen from the female relationships, and all were ultimately servants to the class structures.

            I hope that one day I can live in a society the way you'd want it. I'm sure it would be fair to all.

            garden variety democratic socialist: accepting life's complexity|striving for global stewardship of our soil and other resources to meet everyone's basic needs|being a friend to the weak

            by Galtisalie on Sun Apr 20, 2014 at 07:55:32 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I think we are in many ways on the same page. I (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Galtisalie, poco

              just think the nuclear family as it exists is a direct result of capitalism and cannot survive in a socialist society.  Given that doesn't mean that we don't need personal relationships that are warm and loving and much smaller groups.  I'm just not sure if they should be defined by hereditary rules.  

              As for right now, many people have found a haven in their family that is not evil but helpful for them personally.  It is just that others have been excluded from the development of warm personal relations because the only ones given value are those found in nuclear families.  This is where gays and other excluded people have had to start making their own families and in the process have sometimes developed groups of friends/family that I find as meaningful and are less excluding.

              Another group where I have found these created relationships is interestingly among some of the liberation theology nuns!

              Anyway, always nice dialoguing with you.  I'm glad you are in the meet-up group!

  •  I totally hear you (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Surprisingly, one of my gay friends completely agreed with you, even though he and his partner did marry.

    He was appalled about the gays in the military push too - in his eyes, pushing his own community towards being fodder for the imperialist machine was the opposite of smart.

    He concurred that gay marriage mostly helped rich, white gay men get richer.   I understand that, I was in a relationship for over 20 years before I married him, and we did it for the tax break too!  

    We really need a simpler tax system, and to tax the rich more until something more equitable is achieved, and to not penalize single people.

    I think the biggest Pro Argument is for illness and or death - so many religious parents cut lgbt's lifelong partner out when one gets sick, old, or dies - "No, you cannot come to their deathbed and hold their hand.  I don't care what he/she wanted, there is going to be a religious funeral.  We are taking the house."

    I get it, we can't open the doors to those rights completely without some kind of code.  I wouldn't want random people being able to lay claim on my medical decisions or my property.  

    I personally think ALL unions should be civil, period.  If people want to do some ceremony in their church, thats fine, but it should be no more "recognized by the state" than a baptism, 1st communion, or gold star in snake handling.

    I think polyamorous relationships should be recognized as well, although the Mormon version gives me the willies because their women are property.  But legally, I should be able to set up contractual agreements with whoever the fuck I so choose, without even giving a reason for it.  My life, my stuff, my choice of people,  Period.

    I wish the glbt community was more active in the most pressing problems  they have - the at-risk youth.  Often made homeless by religinazi parents, exploited on the streets, unable to find work, and all the health problems cause by street living that lead to early death.

    There should be a guaranteed income for every person in this country - as well as a wage cap.  Thats right, a cap at the top, right along with a minimum paid out just for breathing.  Health care should be free, housing subsidized, education free.

    Of course, you cannot force a nuclear family to look beyond its walls, any more than you can force a parent to love their child if he or she lives in a way the parents don't agree with.  But it sure as hell would help to have a society that was far more communal, an education system that taught love and acceptance is a primary goal, and that competition and alienation was the worst offense.

    I suppose I am for anything that makes people happy, and feel less marginalized.  "Marriage" being one of them, for now.  But I sure as hell worry more about the social inequality that leaves kids nowhere to go.  SF has been so goddamned gentrified, when once it was a haven for those kids.  No more free clinics, no more cheap rents, and social services.

    To me, that is the primary fight.

    ..the smoker you drink, the player you get....

    by Diane Gee on Mon Apr 21, 2014 at 04:39:56 AM PDT

    •  PS: (1+ / 0-)
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      and churches, like any other business, should pay their f'in taxes.

      ..the smoker you drink, the player you get....

      by Diane Gee on Mon Apr 21, 2014 at 04:43:34 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I love your vision - we are on pretty much the (0+ / 0-)

      same page.  One area where I have a slightly different perspective is that, if we are going to a society wide civil structure, I think the state should have certain economic is regulations to protect the parties involved so the basic economic units of our society could be stable enough to raise the next generation.  This, of course, is where it gets sticky.  I wouldn't want undo specific values placed on the institution, but what would be the minimum ones required? When I raised just the idea of a stipend for the child rearers (I like your idea of a general wage for the unit better) two people raised the need to license those who have children. What would that mean? Limit on number of kids (though a limit on the general unit wage would probably take care of that) or laws against sex with the minors, or laws mandating a standard of cleanliness checked on by social workers, or laws on childrearing practices? And whose childrearing practices and what standard of cleanliness, etc.? I raise this because this gets down to the basic issues between communal consciousness and individual liberty and gets very tricky.

      •  I think that (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        short of dangerous environments, there really is nothing to legislate children.  

        A guaranteed income may have one flaw - that of people having more kids for the money, and that is counter-intuitive.

        Let me chew on it...

        ..the smoker you drink, the player you get....

        by Diane Gee on Mon Apr 21, 2014 at 08:27:51 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Actually your idea of a capped guaranteed income (0+ / 0-)

          would I think naturally limit the number of children one could afford to have and make the environment for children much more equitable.  If all economic units received the guaranteed income, kind of like a dividend for all the labor we collectively put into society, whether they had kids or not, children would really become an individual choice.

          I agree with you on the concept of a "dangerous environment" - the problem comes as always in the details - who determines what is dangerous? No heat, parent who talk to openly about sex in front of children, parents who feed their kids McDonalds food?

  •  You talk about personal. You forget social issues (1+ / 0-)
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    The biggest thing we get from marriage equality is ACCEPTANCE.  I cannot emphasize this enough.

    I don't thing that marriage equality is coming easier and easier because gay people suddenly became accepted.  It's the other way around.  The fight for marriage equality is so mainstream and so just-like-them that they couldn't help but accept us.  

    At a deeper level, lots of gay couples want it.  So WHY IS IT A BAD THING?  I just don't get it.

    Minority rights should never be subject to majority vote.

    by lostboyjim on Mon Apr 21, 2014 at 03:31:23 PM PDT

    •  In our world it is definitely important that all (0+ / 0-)

      people should have the same rights as everyone else in society so I definitely support that and have gone to all my friends' wedding to throw rice.  

      But there are many things that are inequitable in our society in general and marriage, gay or straight, is based on a history of oppression and ownership of one partner by the other and even though many reforms have been made there are still aspects of marriage that reflect this historical reality.  One is the concept of monogamy which is based in the idea of ownership and property relations. For some of the problems this causes, see the comments above.

      This doesn't mean you can't enjoy and love your partner, but I guess it means how can we make things even more "equal" in the future.  

      The only reason I wrote this now when the battle for gay marriage isn't fully won is because some people jumping on the gay marriage bandwagon seem to be doing so not to further expand equality but to try to reintroduce some of the old fashion, negative aspects of marriage to return to a more reactionary past. Kind of like saying, ok I'll accept your marriage but only if you define it in more old fashioned traditional ways so we can use it in a reactionary way.

      I felt safe doing this on DK because I feel that most people on this site (maybe I'm wrong) are progressive and not homophobic.

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