For myself, as someone in a same-sex couple, the official endorsement of my relationship's equality is an important and lovely engagement in the event that I ever opt for state recognition of my romantic life. But the fact is that for millions of Americans like me -- both gay, straight and in the vast hinterlands in between -- the little box of traditional marriage is too constricting for our evolving notions of love and partnership. Judge Walker had it half right. Modern heterosexual couples are indeed pushing the traditional boundaries of marriage. But perhaps the next step isn't to, once again, expand the otherwise narrow definition of marriage, but to altogether abolish the false distinction between married families and other equally valid but unrecognized partnerships.
No, that doesn't mean I want to marry three women at the same time or a goat. It means that I think I should be able to decide what constitutes my family -- whether it's me and my same-sex partner and our toddler, or me and my elderly mother and father, or me and my best friend who want to care for and love each other but not necessarily be intimate. The job of the state is to protect my family and our rights -- not decide that two parents plus kids makes a family and everything else is an exception to the rule at best.
So, for instance, when the government of Canada was charged with expanding the country's conventional definition of marriage to include recognition of gay and lesbian couples, a commission was appointed to study the best path to equality. The commission came back with a startling but sensible option: Get rid of marriage. Not at the religious/ceremonial level -- you can still have your off-white dress and dance party -- but at the governmental level. I would think anti-government conservatives would certainly agree that the government has no business telling me how or with whom to form a family. For the rest of us who otherwise value the role of government in our lives, benefits and rights can as easily be based on family functions, not forms. If I am my best friend's primary caregiver, then I should be able to sign up to be one of, say, three people who have hospital visitation rights. If I want my closest aunt to be my Social Security beneficiary, why should the government stop me from signing her up? If I can use my cell phone to vote for American Idol, I'm sure I can press a few keys and designate my next of kin. [...]
All movements for equality struggle with one essential philosophical dilemma: Are we fighting for the right to be the same or the right to be different? Equal treatment and government benefits for gay and lesbian couples should not be based on whether couples conform to limited notions of marriage and family, whether antiquated or updated. While certainly worth celebrating, the Proposition 8 ruling says that gay people are equal to straight people as long as they act like straight people. But the fundamental right to be treated equally, even if you are and act different, remains beyond reach. In the meantime, don't hold your breath for an invitation to my wedding.
The next time some same-sex marriage advocate asks me how letting them "marry" hurts my marriage, I'm going to laugh in his or her face. What they really want, what they've wanted all along, is to take marriage away from everybody.
If you are a same-sex attracted person, I suppose this sort of thinking makes sense. Any notion that there is a normal way to live, that it's normal and even preferable from a societal standpoint for a man and woman to marry, to have their own biological children and to raise them themselves whenever possible--and, indeed, for either of them to abandon this duty only in the most dire of circumstances, and for society to create a safety net of married husbands and wives who are childless who are willing heroically to step in as parents in such dire circumstances--then same-sex attracted people must face the reality that their sexual preferences and practices place them far outside of this societal norm.
Better to destroy that norm altogether, than seek some kind of pseudo-admission to it. Better to make it illegal for a husband and wife to act in the law as the one person they are than to pretend to be one person with another person with whom they cannot have the same kind of unity--sexual or otherwise. Better to clamp down on any societal expression of a preference for married heterosexual parents raising their own biological children than to have to pretend that "their toddler" is really theirs, when it's obvious that the child has a father somewhere who has been removed from the child's life.
Sally Kohn has undone lots of careful pretending, though. Same-sex "marriage" advocates have worked hard to claim that gay "marriage" won't affect the overwhelmingly huge majority of heterosexual people and their families at all. Sally has revealed the truth about what they want; the real agenda is finally out of the closet.