Saturday, December 6, 2008

Open Forum: Does Gay Marriage Threaten Straight Identity?

In most progressive nations people support some form of legal recognition of same-sex relationships whether it be civil unions or domestic partnerships, but they outright reject the notion of providing marriage to gay and lesbian couples. Obviously something about granting marriage rights to same-sex couples threatens their world view.

Do self sufficient lesbians threaten the roles of the stereotypical "housewife" and the "man of the house" status. Does this whole notion of women's liberation in the sense that a woman need not be dependent on a man, not only threaten the mans macho self image, but also challenge the traditional "housewife" to reconsider her subservient role?

Do effeminate gay men represent a loss among straight men for their image of male supremacy and masculinity? Perhaps, marriage for these men would be an indicator of acceptance of them, and in order to preserve the "male image" femme men cannot be accepted or even tolerated under any circumstance.

Is there an irrational fear that children being raised by same-sex parents may grow up open-minded or even explorative of their own sexualities. The more homosexual people there are, the fear of a destruction of the human animal becomes a reality in the mind of our critics.

If gay marriage is legal, it will be on par with straight marriage and will be considered just another variation of a legal contract one can enter. Does the fact that one group can put down another help to empower this sort of straight pride and privilege that exists in our culture. Although never discussed and maybe entirely sub-conscious perhaps there is this feeling of being above gay people.

So what do you think, does queer sexuality/identity threaten heteronormative thinking and identity? Could this be one of the reasons for fierce opposition to granting marriage rights to same-sex couples?

16 comments:

truthspew said...

I think it is rooted in the religious practices.

My solution, change state law and strike all reference to marriage and replace it with civil union. Let the churches have the word marriage and all the baggage that goes along with it.

Queers United said...

I certainly think the religious component is huge and that is without a doubt. That is a separate conversation though. What about atheists who are homophobic or against gay marriage? There has to be something else and I wonder whether it is roles and identity that may be a factor. No clue, but it is an interesting thing to contemplate.

mewi said...

Anyone who is homophobic in the sense that they want to denounce another for being homosexual, is infact a victim of religious intervention about what homosexuality is.

I can argue that the only reason why homophobia exists on such a large scale... in every homophobic... is because of religion and very rarely because of other reasons.

A lot of "atheists" who claim no religion, follow a great deal of religious beliefs, if I run into a homophobic "atheist" I will most likely be able to find them preaching religious excuses to discriminate against us.

Marriage is between a "man and a woman" would be a religious claim, which of course marriage has existed longer than any current religion of today.

Queers United said...

mewi i disagree, i mean people wrote the bible, so this homophobia was prevalent before religion really took hold. what is it about homosexuality that scares people to make them even write those things in the bible in the first place?

thegayte-keeper said...

forget homosexual marriage because it SO obvious that they don't understand themselves and what marriage REALLY represents

Judith said...

I could comment intelligently, but I have to say that that wedding photo almost makes *me* want to get married. Such a beautiful couple, and I never thought of a white suit before! What a good idea.

Queers United said...

They are such spring brides :)

L said...

I think you have a really good point. A lot of hate springs from the idea that people who aren't "normal" or don't look/behave exactly like the majority are inferior, but I think there's an element of fear in having their precious self-image destroyed. I mean, look at how many straight men are horrified by the idea of a queer man flirting with them. They seem to believe that getting hit on by a man makes them feminine, which of course to them is awful.

Then there's also the completely absurd notion that homosexuality is a choice, and as such gay people only want to get married to purposefully ruin the institution.

But the fact that gay people exist does threaten heteronormative thinkers. The idea that people are equals no matter their sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, etc, disrupts the idea that they can have extra power for being born straight.

@gayte-keeper: Right on. :)

mewi said...

I think they are a cute couple, and it makes me want to get married right now... However my wedding will not be quite as cliche "bride and groom" business, both my wife and I will wear wedding dresses ^^ and I won't have it any other way ;p

geekgirl said...

There's another component. Some scientific studies have shown that when a straight man is shown two men together, there is an area of the brain responsible for repulsion that lights up. This goes both ways. When gay men are shown a straight couple having sex, their brain reacts the same way. Women, gay or straight, on the otherhand, do not react with repulsion. Whether this reaction is biological or due to heavy socialization is hard to know. I think we are seeing a younger generation that is far more accepting and I think a large part of that is growing up with more visible gays in our society.

Queers United said...

Geek that is really interesting I never heard of that, do you have any links those studies?

Cerberus said...

I think you're right. The claim of "protecting traditional marriage" has seemed silly to us, but taken on its face, they're absolutely right. Gay marriage would be the last nail in the coffin for "traditional marriage", that is it would serve as a final destruction to the idea that marriage is a property transaction where a patriarch purchases a house slave to meet his home-making and sexual needs. Secular society has more and more taken over the idea of marriage as a symbol of mutual love and respect, but the patriarchal notions of roles still hold sway over the ideas of husband and wife. If there are successful pairings of husband and husband and wife and wife who have no need for those supposedly biological functions and roles, then sexism becomes oh so much harder to enforce.

In truth homosexuals and transsexuals and intersex have all threatened this by their very existence, which is the other side of the coin. Gay marriage would legitimize homosexuality, reveal it as meaningful, real, and deserving of equal respect. As long as it is banned, there can be a hierarchy between "proper role-obeying people" and "heretics". If gays can marry, there is no society-enforced structure and people can accept it more freely and question all aspects of gender and sexuality. Any such questions threaten patriarchy and patriarchal interpretations of marriage. If the society replaces marriage with a secular commitment ceremony as Christmas was replaced with a secular winter holiday of family, then patriarchal pairings will be seen as the abusive relationships that they are and the power fades forever.

mewi said...

GeekGirl that study is clearly not accurate, because I have multiple friends who are lesbian, who are "repulsed" at the idea of seeing anything involving men, even kissing ;p

mewi said...

oh and that is including myself, thank you verymuch =3

Riverwolf, said...

I think most heterosexuals don't have to "figure out" their sexuality like gays do. As a result, I think some heteros don't even understand their own sexuality; it's left relatively unexplored. They follow the socially approved patterns (marriage, kids, etc), but when confronted with anything different, they freak. And simply because someone else's sexuality looks different from theirs, well, they follow what looks to them like the "rational" path to conclude it's wrong.

The Midnight Man said...

Religion hasn't made this world better than it should. That's why I don't like when people push that Bible just in order to give a reason why non-heterosexuals shouldn't marry. It's silly. Religion has led to a lot of bad things I think. I believe God loves everybody though but that's besides the point I'm trying to make. :)

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