I largely agree with Emily’s post about same-sex marriage. As frustrated as GLBT activists might be, there are two important things to think about: First, attitudes about same-sex marriage are changing with younger generations. As those generations grow older and take more control, there is a great deal of hope that they will simply overturn the parochial notion of defining marriage as “one man and one woman.”
Second, it’s a good time for the LGBT community to take a long, hard look at its own movement. It needs to adopt some new, more inclusive and grassroots strategies. It’s a problem that the feminist movement continues to struggle with, so I’m not surprised that the LGBT has some problems with it as well. What will hopefully emerge is a better, stronger, more diverse movement.
But one thing I’d like to note is that Emily calls the institution of marriage a largely religious one, and one that the LGBT community shouldn’t bother to mess with. (Note: See my earlier post on how marriage historically hasn’t been much of a religious institution so much as means of making contracts and alliances between clans.) It’s understandable that many in the LGBT community have rejected religion in whole or in part, since many religions have more or less demonized gay people. But there are plenty of people out there that identify as both religious and gay or queer. Some religions have recognized same-sex marriage as a moral choice, and welcome those who choose to commit to one another openly in their parishes.
Furthermore, by rejecting all religion because some of it doesn’t accept same-sex marriage, LGBT communities risk alienating those who could be some of their strongest allies. Rejecting marriage because it has religious overtones lets those with the most conservative versions of the institution define it. Marriage is simply the legal joining of two individuals. Some people also attach a religious definition to it, but many others don’t. So long as we let the conservatives on the Family Research Council define it, the LGBT movement will have trouble growing.
Cross posted at Pushback.