In a New York Blade article entitled, "Reconsidering Marriage Equality," by Zack Rosen, he cites the views of Nancy Polikoff, in her new book, "Beyond (Straight and Gay) Marriage: Valuing All Families Under The Law,” who states the following:
“Marriage for same-sex couples will give same-sex couples what married people have, but that’s often the problem in the law,” says Polikoff, an American University College of Law professor who also helped develop the laws governing second-parent adoption and joint adoption for same-sex couples in D.C. 'A gay man and lesbian … may make a commitment to raise a child that may or may not be a biological child of both of them, or two un-partnered people decide they're going to retire to a home together and need a certain set of protections for the wellbeing of their relationship.'
“'Somebody on my own faculty is angry about having to marry her partner in order to get health insurance, because at my university the only domestic partners who can cover each other are same-sex — different-sex couples have to get married. That is the wrong way to think about employee benefits. It's better to think that if we have to cover families, let's cover families the way we decide them.'”
[I thank my friend, Don Charles for sending the article to me. The full article, see here.]
If I didn't know better, I'd think people like her are agent provocateurs. "I discovered that a generation of young adults had
grown up never knowing that the gay rights movement was part of a movement in support of diverse forms of family," she says. "They grew up believing that if you support same-sex marriage they had addressed all they needed to in support
of the needs of LGBT family."
The fight for LGBT rights was always for equality, and not second class status or anything other than full and equal civil rights! Although incrementalism had to be settled for in the 1960's and 70's, there was never any question in those years that LGBT people wanted a seat at the table and not some back bench.
She says, "Somebody on my own faculty is angry about having to marry her partner in order to get health insurance, because at my university the only domestic partners who can cover each other are same-sex — different-sex couples have to get married. That is the wrong way to think about employee benefits. It's better to think that if we have to cover families, let's cover families the way we decide them."
Sure, although I believe that any configuration of people can be a family, and in a sane world would be considered a family, that argument is not likely to win over the majority of people to our cause in the foreseeable future!
Moreover, I can see opposite sex couples bringing suit, and winning, by making that very claim that unless unmarried heterosexuals receive the same benefits that currently accrue to domestic partners or those in Civil Unions there should be no such benefits accruing to same-sex couples.
And it's likely that someone, maybe even someone who fancies him/herself a "liberal," would be testifying on their behalf! We know that the homophobic reactionaries would so testify! And that might be a contention for which they might easily find support by many people who might otherwise be in favor of full equality for LGBT people in society.
Polikoff even talks about the fact that the quest for same-sex marriage rights deflects our attention from such issues as poverty and the like. As if the Bush administration, or any administration for that matter, would more assiduously concern itself with issues of poverty were it not for those of us advocating, and working for, full marriage rights for same-sex couples who want to make a lifetime commitment to each other.
Right now, in California, the immediate fate of same-sex marriage in California is before the California Supreme Court. My friend, Rev. Troy Perry [Pictured], and his husband Phillip DeBliek (They were married in Canada.), are among the plaintiffs in the case demanding that they and, by extension, all same-sex couples be allowed to marry in California. So, this issue is even more personal to me than would even normally be the case! (And it has always meant a great deal to me!)
And the hateful, homophobic religious and secular reactionaries, and even some who fancy themselves as being "progressive," would dare deny him and his husband, Phillip, and all similar same-sex couples, the dignity and rights of marriage!
The institution of "marriage" confers not mere legitimacy upon a committed relationship, but is inextricably bound up (in ideology if not in fact) with the conferring of dignity upon that relationship. By institutionalizing same-sex marriage we are saying that same-sex love is just as viable, just as noble, just as legitimate, and is in no way inferior to heterosexual love!
Moreover, once same-sex marriage is in place, we can expect all other civil and sacramental rights to follow suit! The institution of marriage, although debased by many heterosexually married people, nevertheless, despite some rhetoric to the contrary, still has inestimable symbolic value.
Once that value is conferred upon same-sex couples, the normality of same-sex love will become both recognized and legitimized, and we can expect that all other impediments to full equality will rather quickly be removed.