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Can We Stop Talking about Marriage as though It’s about Love? April 5, 2013

Posted by Onely in "Against Love"...?, Food for Thought, Singled Out.
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Marriage is not about love. But most of the public conversation about marriage – most recently, the conversation about gay marriage – tends to treat marriage as the equivalent of love. Marriage, public discourse suggests, makes love official. And who could argue against that? Just as you generally can’t have a satisfying debate with a religious person about the existence of God, you’ll be booed off the stage if you say there’s something wrong with being in love. In popular rhetoric, the word “marriage” is used to signify (stand in for) the concept of romantic love.

Let’s be real; let’s stop saying marriage is about love.

In the best of cases, marriage stems out of love. But marriage itself is not the same as love. In truth, marriage is decidedly un-romantic. It is a legal, and sometimes religious, contract between two people. The contract ties the partners together – in no uncertain terms – in terms of finances, law, and kinship. These are not romantic concepts. In fact, in certain contexts, these concepts can be downright terrifying.

But public rhetoric wants us to ignore the ugly reality and focus on the feel-good. As a result, it’s challenging – almost impossible – to take a critical stance toward the institution.

The recent conversation about gay marriage, currently at the center of two cases heard by the U.S. Supreme Court, is a prime example of the consequences of our popular discourse. Our discourse suggests that the right to marry is an issue of civil rights (in the States, as some have pointed out, the Human Rights Campaign has problematically dominated this kind of discourse). While we at Onely agree that the achievement of marriage equality is an admirable goal, it does not in fact achieve the larger goals of civil rights, which would ensure that all people – regardless of their marital status – are treated equally in the eyes of the law.

As we have argued time and again on this blog and elsewhere – marriage creates and maintains a social hierarchy that grants specific financial, legal, and kinship benefits to individuals based only on their marital status. And guess who loses, precisely because they are not married? More than 50% of the population, single people.

As Scot Nakagawa puts it: (more…)

Scourge of the Onelers: The Michigan Appeals Court July 16, 2010

Posted by Onely in As If!, Heteronormativity.
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1 comment so far

As a proud and loyal Michigander, I’m peevish that the Michigan Appelate Court ruled that an unmarried woman has no right to custody of her non-biological children, even though she helped raise them for almost a decade. More details about this issue–which touches both singles’ rights and gay rights–are available here, on Change.org.  Pshaw.


P.S. I’m also peevish about the term “Michigander”, which sounds like a kind of Japanese waterfowl.

Photo Credit: Library of Congress

Funny Friday: Rescuemarriage.com September 18, 2009

Posted by Onely in Reviews, We like. . ..
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 John Marcotte, 37, (why do these kinds of articles always put the person’s age?) very sensibly realized that if Californians truly want to rescue the hallowed institution of marriage from less-hallowed people like gays, as indicated by the passage of Prop 8, then “a logical extension of Prop 8” should be to ban divorce. Of course! Check out his initiative’s website and see the logical and rhetorical brilliance of Marcotte, 37:

Jesus still loves you if you get divorced–just not as much as before. 

Hell is eternal — just like your marriage was supposed to be

The funniest part are the commenters, who range from religious conservatives like Patti:

protecting traditional marriage is the first step to keeping our children pure and protecting them from the demons of hell.

To liberals like Ariel: 

Really. So rampant abuse, whether physical, sexual, or emotional, of either spouse or children, wouldn’t be grounds for divorce.

The scariest part is the high percentage of commenters who seem to have damage to the right ventromedial areas of their prefontal lobes, resulting in an inability to understand sarcasm.  Given the large number of thus disabled readers out there, could Marcotte’s website actually be inadvertently presenting propaganda against the gay marriage movement? 


Gay Marriage perpetuating stigma against non-heteronormativeholes? September 26, 2008

Posted by Onely in book review, Food for Thought, Heteronormativity, Reviews.
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On our in-process “Things We Like” page, Lindabeth recommended an interesting-sounding book by Michael Warner, The Trouble With Normal. I don’t know if we’ll end up reviewing this book, but it definitely raises a very interesting point! Ron Hogan’s below Amazon.com review says Warner argues that when people push for gay marriage, they are trying to normalize gays according to the current culturally sanctioned standards of monogamy and matrimony. But according to Warner, really this just paves the way for trying to normalize other people who don’t fit into heterosexual coupled roles. (more…)

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