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Sunday, September 15, 2013

Committed Gay Couples Who Don't Prefer Marriage Should Be Respected. They Also Don't Defeat the Need for Marriage Equality.

Believe it or not, there are gay couples out there who actually believe that marriage is 'too straight' for them, and they don't wish to take part in it. Now the anti-equality people have snatched this up as a vindication of their belief that marriage is heterosexual only. In turn, some sections of the equality community have questioned the motives of those gay couples who don't want marriage.

Actually, those gay couples who believe that marriage is 'too straight' are not only free to do so, they have a point too. Marriage will always be 98% straight even with marriage equality, and changing from 100% to 98% doesn't change anything really. Marriage will stay a straight culture based institution. If they want a gay culture based institution they can have their own.

But how about forcing all gay couples away from marriage? Just because it's straight culture based, doesn't mean it should exclude gay people. Society operates at its best whenever its institutions try to accommodate minorities' aspirations too. Our popular culture is mainly made by and for straight people, but does not exclude gay people. Likewise, to exclude Asian people from a festival of European culture because they may taint it with their Asianness is a very racist idea. They are welcome to participate as long as they respect that it is a festival of European culture, not Asian culture. They would not be forced to join the Asian culture festival instead. Moreover, marriage itself already inherently has that flexibility and compassionate accommodation - marriage has historically often been about procreation, but infertile couples are not excluded, for example.

Some gay people like to have a culture of their own, but most gay people from my observations tend to want to join mainstream society, and would fully respect the predominantly heterosexual character of it, as long as they are also allowed to join. Heterosexual society should accommodate them, therefore, just like most gay bars and gay parades also welcome straight people.

The other issue is that marriage, as an unfortunate consequence of developments during Western history, is written into the law, so marriage discrimination is legal discrimination.

Therefore, even if some gay couples want a gay culture based institution for commitment rather than marriage, that doesn't defeat the need for marriage equality.