Thursday, December 8, 2011

They Already Can Get Married

About a week ago, Republican candidate Michelle Bachmann helpfully reminded gays and lesbians that we already have the same civil rights as heterosexuals. When a high school student asked her why same-sex couples could not marry, she responded:

"They can get married, but they abide by the same law as everyone else. They can marry a man if they’re a woman. Or they can marry a woman if they’re a man."

This is a common talking point, for sure. Indeed, a commenter here likewise echoed Bachmann's informative statement:

"....[A] man is eligible to marry a woman if either he or she or both of them identify as homosexual. They can yell it from the hilltops and they would still be eligible to marry [someone of the other sex]."

Yes, it sure is true that gay men and lesbians are free to marry people of the other sex if they wish. Although, I'm not sure this statement is as big of a revelation to gay men and lesbians as those who utter it believe it to be. Nor is it particularly clever. After all, most children grow up having others assume that they will, one day, marry someone of the other sex.

But, well, for many of us (us, being gays and lesbians), the "they already can get married" argument is a non-starter.

Sure, some gay men and lesbians might find happiness entering into a man-woman marriage (although, would such people more accurately be called bisexual?). But oftentimes, such a marriage will not result in positive outcomes for either the couple or their resulting children, if any.

I was reminded of what such a marriage can look like, when I read Hugo Schwyzer's piece, "I Married A Lesbian" over at The Good Men Project. A snippet:

"Twenty months after Courtney and I had married, I relapsed on drugs after several years of sobriety. I 'used at her,' getting loaded out of hostility and frustration that I couldn’t fully articulate. I went back to drugs in the hope that that might show her how much pain I was in, particularly over the sexless state of our marriage. Court insisted I move out. I rented a room in a sober living boarding house, and soon began an affair with a housemate. After more than a year and a half of fidelity, I cheated with a woman who made it clear she wanted me. It was a cowardly, but understandable, way to get back at Courtney. I told my wife what I’d done, and she instantly demanded a divorce."

Why are those who purport to defend marriage promoting marriages like this?

[Cross-posted at Family Scholars Blog, where the first couple comments are, erm, "interesting."]

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