Same Sex Marriage Essay

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Back in the 1990s, lesbian and gay leaders, either organizationally or intellectually, almost universally had deeply lefty credentials. (I’m explicitly not saying “LGBT” because that would be anachronistic.) And they hated marriage. They just hated it. They thought it was a loser as an issue. They thought it should come after everything else had been won. Or they thought that it was a wrong-headed, false-consciousness pursuit of assimilation, a flat-out contradiction of the movement that they believed they stood for: sexual liberation, or creative ways to recognize alternative family structures. But I never understood—I still don’t understand—how they could see the the gay and lesbian “us” as a lefty movement. There’s no political entrance exam for being gay. People who discover that they fall in love with, or are attracted to, someone of the same-sex are scattered randomly across the population. They grow up poor and undocumented; or in trailers in Oklahoma, eating government cheese; or going to the “best” New England prep schools and taking legacy spots in the Ivy League; and everywhere else in between. They grow up in families that are Republican, Democrat, and politically illiterate. They were socialized so differently that sometimes they can barely speak across those barriers. They have nothing in common with each other except that attraction. To say that LGBT folks should pursue this or that strategy assumes we have a core political philosophy. But in a Venn diagram, the “us” of lesbians and gay men would overlap only slightly with the “us” of a progressive movement. So I have always found the radicals’ and academics’ arguments about what we should pursue to be frustratingly … academic. They seemed to believe that ordinary lesbians and gay men should be following some intellectual vanguard, tackling all the pillars of general oppression in one swell foop (as

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