Sunday, February 13, 2011

Washington Post op-ed makes the case for why "social approbation" for gay marriage really matters

The Washington Post now has a Local Opinions page for op-eds from “ordinary people”, and on page c6 on Sunday February 13 there appears a page an article “Why the world ‘marriage’ matters” by “Jane Rigby Silver Spring”.  The link is here.

The titling of the author threw me, as I saw the words “my wife” as I scanned the article with my eyes (waiting for new glasses, tomorrow).  Usually a piece like this comes from “The Right” but not in the Post.

The author, a lesbian who married in California during the window period before Proposition 8 (I suppose we can compose puns on “Windows 7” and even “Windows 8” now, since the latter is to appear), and she wonders how the debate in Maryland, where a new gay marriage bill percolates again, will turn out (I thought Maryland was recognizing out of state gay marriages, but that is apparently murky again; I’m in Marhsall Newman country, Virginia.)

She writes “Marriage matters, because marriage is how society decides whose relationships matter, and whose don’t….  Marriage is about whether straight people are going to recognize those relationships. It’s how they decide who’s family.”

In the past, my reaction would have been, I’m on my own anyway, I don’t even want the social supports.  I want the freedom.  I recall that great “License Expired” essay in GLIL’s newsletter in the middle 1990s. I remember that the Ninth Street Center (now the Paul Rosenfels Community) in New York City made a lot about doing without the social supports. But it was socially “walled off”, protectively tucked away in the East Village.

My own perspective changed during the past few years as I dealt with my own eldercare challenges, and my mother’s decline, and yes, an estate.  Some years back, there was a dangerous situation where my mother’s care could have been or even was compromised because some people didn’t respect me, her son, as an unmarried and uncommitted gay man. 

As I’ve found, we’ve reached the event horizon for libertarian ideas of individualism and absolute personal sovereignty.  The world the past few years has tested its limits. 

As former Washington Blade editor Chris Crain (now World “Citizen Crain” (blog) wrote back in March 2004, “Piddle, Twiddle and Resolve.” 
Pictures: More from the "bash".  

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