‘Tis the season for it. Wanting things. But the question is really about us gay people and what’s happening now as we wait for the Supreme Court.
A commentator this week makes a point about the effect of marriage equality on the behavior of gay people. Apparently we want to be like the straight middle-class.
I once sat in an audience while one of the lawyers who had argued the gay marriage case before the Supreme Judicial Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, which resulted in the first legal gay marriages in America, said, “Gay people want the same things as straight people.”
That is manifestly not true.
There are many, many things about straight marriage that I do not want anywhere near my long-term gay relationship with my partner C.
At least some of us want long-term relationships which have room for experimentation. At least some of us want to escape the laws influenced by this nation’s puritan past and accept more open display of our bodies, in private and on the beach and in our parades and in our art. What we don’t want is to have our long-term relationships defined for us by judges in California or Justices in Washington. I don’t think we want to enter an institution whose major framework was determined in the fourteenth century or even the nineteenth century or the twentieth century. We want to do it ourselves and make it fit our lives now, in the twenty-first century. We don’t want religious people to impose their beliefs on us in these matters of sex, love, and relationships.
I wrote about this earlier this year.
Without having determined what we want, aside from “marriage,” we are rushing into a situation where the most restrictive of us are going to try to lay down rules for the rest of us about our bodies and our sex and try to make everybody adhere to rules. An emotional loving commitment between two persons necessarily means a commitment to sexual monogamy. “I love you” necessarily means “I am going to promise you.” It means, I will love you only and in return you must love me only, which, for many people, is akin to a declaration of ownership and an expectation of ownership and has no place when a man says, “I love you.”
The only declaration I feel compelled to make to the man with whom I share my life is that I don’t own him or his body, and he doesn’t own mine, even though the Chief Justice of the Supreme Judicial Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts has declared that, in the Commonwealth, “marriage” means, “The voluntary union of two persons, as spouses, to the exclusion of all others.” Why should a judge make such a requirement on me and C?
It may already be too late to stop the people who want to control us and to turn us into something we’re not. In any case, as these things move forward, it is possible for all of us to say, “Wait. Wait. That doesn’t apply to me. We are free. Take your rules to another country.”