The more shit I read about how The Institution Of Marriage cannot survive the participation of same sex couples in contractual arrangements sanctioned and provided for by the government of all the people, by all the people and for all the people, the less I want to get married myself.
As I've stated before, I'm not a great personal advocate of the institution to start with, and the more people like Katherine Jean Lopez and Ace of Spades shit all over feminists like Jessica Valenti for agreeing to try to make it something less of a wholly religious, patriarchal institution that strictly exists for the subjugation of women and their sexuality to men and their sexuality, the less keen I am. And then I read about how asswipes like Tucker Carlson thinks fucking can save a bad marriage and Dennis Prager thinks women should just submit to their husbands who, without the bounds of matrimony and civilization, would devolve into rape-y chickens, and I frankly begin to worry a lot about being involved with people to whom the institution is important. And let's not even get me started on the Wedding Industrial Complex.
You know what small things give me hope about marriage? Watching people who don't — and can't — take the availability of the institution to them for granted fight for their right to get married. Watching the enthusiasm with which, in a variety of non-traditional outfits, same sex couples flocked to courthouses and simple ceremonies, flush with the pleasure of having the state sanction their love and their relationship. Watching the emotions and pride in people's eyes when they can take part in a state institution that they thought their love for another human might permanently bar them from. Scrolling through pictures of same sex weddings on newswires was enough to make even me think that there might really be something to this whole marriage idea that wasn't encapsulated in Being A Princess For A Day and rom-coms and sad little people clinging desperately to an institution that has failed to live up to the expectations of more than half of the participants in it.
But then I read Sam Schulman's recent Weekly Standard piece in which he defends marriage as not — I swear to fucking God — about love or individual commitment or promises meant not to be broken (he ought to know, he's on his third). In fact, the very idea that marriage is about love and commitment, to Schulman, is an idea gayer than the Stop H8 movement. Schulman then defends straights-only marriage on the grounds that it is the only institution that, for centuries, has more-or-less successfully subjugated women and kept men from sleeping around — unless you're Sam Schulman, Dennis Prager, Newt Gingrich or Rush Limbaugh, in which case it apparently doesn't keep one from having multiple sex partners and wives. Yup, Schulman thinks that marriage should only be for the straights, to keep us from fucking each other too much.
An example of the kind of marriage that Schulman decries:
The relationship between a same-sex couple, though it involves the enviable joy of living forever with one's soulmate, loyalty, fidelity, warmth, a happy home, shopping, and parenting, is not the same as marriage between a man and a woman, though they enjoy exactly the same cozy virtues. These qualities are awfully nice, but they are emphatically not what marriage fosters, and, even when they do exist, are only a small part of why marriage evolved and what it does.
The entity known as "gay marriage" only aspires to replicate a very limited, very modern, and very culture-bound version of marriage. Gay advocates have chosen wisely in this. They are replicating what we might call the "romantic marriage," a kind of marriage that is chosen, determined, and defined by the couple that enters into it.
Basically, Schulman says that the only things about the institution of marriage that make it remotely attractive to anyone uninterested in conservative religion and the subjugation of women don't require marriage and, in fact, might not exist at all.
And lest you think that I'm getting too paranoid that this guy wants to slap a chastity belt on us — or, rather, that he'd like to buy my dad one to slap on me — this is what Schulman explicitly defines as the purpose of marriage.
The first is the most important: It is that marriage is concerned above all with female sexuality. The very existence of kinship depends on the protection of females from rape, degradation, and concubinage. This is why marriage between men and women has been necessary in virtually every society ever known. Marriage, whatever its particular manifestation in a particular culture or epoch, is essentially about who may and who may not have sexual access to a woman when she becomes an adult, and is also about how her adulthood—and sexual accessibility—is defined. Again, until quite recently, the woman herself had little or nothing to say about this, while her parents and the community to which they answered had total control. The guardians of a female child or young woman had a duty to protect her virginity until the time came when marriage was permitted or, more frequently, insisted upon. This may seem a grim thing for the young woman—if you think of how the teenaged Natalie Wood was not permitted to go too far with Warren Beatty in Splendor in the Grass. But the duty of virginity can seem like a privilege, even a luxury, if you contrast it with the fate of child-prostitutes in brothels around the world.
Just to break this down:
- Parents (probably fathers) and marriage protect women from rape.
- Pre-marital sex is degrading to women.
- Marriage basically only exists to determine who can fuck certain women.
- A woman's only choice (and that of her family) is to protect her virginity until marriage or end up a child prostitute.
Not content to simply sound the horn of Jericho at the walls of his precious institution, shattering the illusion of many Americans that the institution is about love, fidelity, building a life together or even an equitable and state-recognized partnership, Schulman decides to dance on the ruins.
This most profound aspect of marriage—protecting and controlling the sexuality of the child-bearing sex—is its only true reason for being, and it has no equivalent in same-sex marriage. Virginity until marriage, arranged marriages, the special status of the sexuality of one partner but not the other (and her protection from the other sex)—these motivating forces for marriage do not apply to same-sex lovers.
Yup, marriage is solely about controlling who can impregnate the woman and has nothing to do with male sexuality... and that's why The Gays shouldn't be allowed to corrupt this precious institution of virginity-fetishization and control of women's sexuality. No wonder feminists keep saying same sex marriage is a feminist issue, if it can go so far as destroy this bullshit idea of the institution.
Also, by the way, according to Schulman, letting The Gays marry means that everyone will fuck their relatives and encourage interracial and inter-ethnic marriage (and, God, how I wish I was kidding).
Incest prohibition and other kinship rules that dictate one's few permissible and many impermissible sweethearts are part of traditional marriage. Gay marriage is blissfully free of these constraints. There is no particular reason to ban sexual intercourse between brothers, a father and a son of consenting age, or mother and daughter. There are no questions of ritual pollution: Will a hip Rabbi refuse to marry a Jewish man—even a Cohen—to a Gentile man? Do Irish women avoid Italian women? A same-sex marriage fails utterly to create forbidden relationships. If Tommy marries Bill, and they divorce, and Bill later marries a woman and has a daughter, no incest prohibition prevents Bill's daughter from marrying Tommy. The relationship between Bill and Tommy is a romantic fact, but it can't be fitted into the kinship system.
Just like it's important to keep Irish women from making out with Italian women, it's important to keep some bisexual man's future daughter from marrying his ex-lover, as though there's some current prohibition on me marrying my mother's ex (not that she had one). Actually, it seems to me there were at least two movies based on the concept of that happening. But, you know, whatever! People will start fucking dogs!
Schulman, having thus totally proven his point that social conservatives spend way to much time thinking about fucking dogs and family members, then goes on to say this:
Third, marriage changes the nature of sexual relations between a man and a woman. Sexual intercourse between a married couple is licit; sexual intercourse before marriage, or adulterous sex during marriage, is not. Illicit sex is not necessarily a crime, but licit sexual intercourse enjoys a sanction in the moral universe, however we understand it, from which premarital and extramarital copulation is excluded. More important, the illicit or licit nature of heterosexual copulation is transmitted to the child, who is deemed legitimate or illegitimate based on the metaphysical category of its parents' coition.
Now to live in such a system, in which sexual intercourse can be illicit, is a great nuisance. Many of us feel that licit sexuality loses, moreover, a bit of its oomph. Gay lovers live merrily free of this system. Can we imagine Frank's family and friends warning him that "If Joe were serious, he would put a ring on your finger"? Do we ask Vera to stop stringing Sally along? Gay sexual practice is not sortable into these categories—licit-if-married but illicit-if-not (children adopted by a gay man or hygienically conceived by a lesbian mom can never be regarded as illegitimate). Neither does gay copulation become in any way more permissible, more noble after marriage. It is a scandal that homosexual intercourse should ever have been illegal, but having become legal, there remains no extra sanction—the kind which fathers with shotguns enforce upon heterosexual lovers. I am not aware of any gay marriage activist who suggests that gay men and women should create a new category of disapproval for their own sexual relationships, after so recently having been freed from the onerous and bigoted legal blight on homosexual acts. But without social disapproval of unmarried sex—what kind of madman would seek marriage?
Let us now take it for a given that Schulman knows no actual same sex couples well enough to have been invited into their emotional lives where — surprise, asshole! — there are tons of questions of love, fidelity, commitment and the right time to engage in intercourse. That's the whole fucking reason they want to be able to participate in the fucking institution. But, hey, since no one can be threatened with a shotgun for having impregnated someone else's daughter through "illicit" sex (which will get less exciting but more "noble" after marriage, as though the beast with two backs is somehow an ennobling act) it's not for The Gays! Also, Schulman's wife should probably watch her back, as he just said the only reason he married her was because he couldn't otherwise fuck her, which is probably why he has two ex-wives.
At this point, he's basically just urinated on the ruins of the institution, but oh yes, now it's time to straight-up defecate on them, and someone's been eating his fiber. Schulman's final argument is that marriage is just a way for dudes to find new hunting partners in their father-in-laws and wives to find new book club participants (fucking gag me with a spoon), and since gay people are inevitably rejected by their parents, this doesn't happen in same sex marriages, so they shouldn't get married.
Even in modern romantic marriages, a groom becomes the hunting or business partner of his father-in-law and a member of his clubs; a bride becomes an ally of her mother-in-law in controlling her husband. There can, of course, be warm relations between families and their children's same-sex partners, but these come about because of liking, sympathy, and the inherent kindness of many people.
Oh, yes, and let's not forget how all women are harpies who set out to "control" their husbands and sons. I love how Schulman starts out defending it as a way to control women's sexuality, and ends up deciding that it's just a way to control men. If he's this concerned with power dynamics, I hope his wife's got some lovely fetish gear under the bed.
Oh, and the final nail in the coffin of same sex marriage, as far as Schulman's concerned, is that same sex couples are all too old.
In contrast, gay weddings are rather middle-aged affairs. My impression is borne out by the one available statistic, from the province of British Columbia, showing that the participants in first-time same-sex weddings are 13 years older, on average, then first-time brides-and-grooms. This feels about right. After all, declaring gay marriage legal will not produce the habit of saving oneself for marriage or create a culture which places a value on virginity or chastity (concepts that are frequently mocked in gay culture precisely because they are so irrelevant to gay romantic life).
Yes, undoubtedly, Schulman is an expert on "gay culture" having obviously been so friendly with so many LGBT people in his short, well-examined life.
And, so, Schulman says, The Gays will eventually grow tired of getting married, as so very many breeders have done — except for Schulman, who just gets tired of being married to individual women, one at a time.
Since gay relationships exist perfectly well outside the kinship system, to assume the burdens of marriage—the legal formalities, the duty of fidelity (which is no easier for gays than it is for straights), the slavishly imitative wedding ritual—will come to seem a nuisance. People in gay marriages will discover that mimicking the cozy bits of romantic heterosexual marriage does not make relationships stronger; romantic partners more loving, faithful, or sexy; domestic life more serene or exciting. They will discover that it is not the wedding vow that maintains marriages, but the force of the kinship system.
Schulman knows a lot about how getting married doesn't keep a relationship together. In one sense — not the kinship system bullshit — he is right. Wedding vows and state approval don't alone make a spouse faithful or a relationship work or the spark remain intact — and that goes the same for everyone participating in any relationship, as the thrice-married Schulman well knows.
But in the mean time, unlike Schulman's rants about controlling my uterus, having boring sex, controlling my husband and not fucking my relatives, same sex marriages will destroy the institution to which Schulman has so proudly submitted 3 separate times in order to gain sole access to some sweet, sweet pussy for some period of time before he becomes utterly bored with it. You know, 'cause otherwise who would get married if they could just have sex?
Every day thousands of ordinary heterosexual men surrender the dream of gratifying our immediate erotic desires. Instead, heroically, resignedly, we march up the aisle with our new brides, starting out upon what that cad poet Shelley called the longest journey...
And that's why gay people shouldn't get married, so that Schulman can't have more sex. Actually, that's probably the sole legitimate argument against same sex marriage Schulman made the entire time: if keeping same sex couples from entering into state-enforced contracts with one another really would keep Sam Schulman from having more sex with women, it might be worth considering.
The Worst Thing About Gay Marriage [The Weekly Standard]
Earlier: Conservatives Think Feminists Should Stay Away From Marriage
Tucker Carlson's Guide To Not Getting Divorced
Conservative Dennis Prager Knows It's Not Rape If His Wife "Submits"
Dennis Prager Still Thinks Women Should Just Give It Up Already
Dennis The Menace