So many people have emailed me the blogpost by "Queer Kids of Queer Parents Against Gay Marriage!" that I feel a need to point it out to any of my readers who have yet to see it. The variety of comments following the post suggest the authors have touched quite a nerve. It merited a link in Melissa Harris-Lacewell's post on The Nation website. (I LOVE her on Rachel Maddow!)
Harris-Lacewell succeeds in walking a very fine line. She supports marriage equality for same-sex couples but offers a critique of marriage itself. "Our work," she writes, "must be not just about marriage equality, it should also be about equal marriages, and about equal rights and security for those who opt out of marriage altogether." Identifying herself as a black, feminist, marriage equailty advocate, she writes that movement work "must be staunchly supportive of same-sex marriage, while rejecting the marriage-normative framework that silences the contributions of queer life." It is precisely such contributions that the "queer kids..." blog (above) seek to illuminate.
I also loved learning from Harris-Lacewell's post about a new history of slave marriages that concludes that such marriages were real, even though they were not recognized by law.
Harris-Lacewell's final call echoes the imperative of the Beyond Marriage statement written more than three years ago, as well as the guiding principle of my book.
We must do more than simply integrate new groups into an old system. Let's use this moment to re-imagine marriage and marriage-free options for building families, rearing children, crafting communities, and distributing public goods.
This is precisely the work that the mainstream marriage-equality movement refrains from doing. As Harris-Lacewell points out, the pragmatic political strategy is insisting that allowing same-sex couples to marry will not change marriage. But it's a strategy that comes with too high a price tag, and the voices within and without the gay rights movement seeking to make marriage matter less need to speak out more.