HRC vs DOMA
A piece of legislation known as DOMA (The Defense of Marriage Act) is now the biggest opposition to the HRC’s fight for marriage equality. However, it seems like these two groups may be fighting for the same thing, the defense of marriage.
The nuclear family ( traditionally known as Dad, Mom, Kids) arose out of a new and blossoming economic structure known as capitalism. Now, when I say capitalism in this setting I don’t mean the type of capitalism we have now, I am simply referring to the switch from communal living and the sharing of basic goods and needs, to the privatization of material goods and capital.
Before the privatization of materials there existed a society where everybody in a community was taken care of. Adults moved from partner to partner as they pleased, children were taken care of by all those who were no longer children themselves and food and shelter was shared as needed. This society worked outside the confines of the nuclear family for one reason, the existence of human compassion.
There is a story of a French soldier who comes upon a Native American tribe in the newly “discovered” Americas. Seeing that the nuclear family did not exist there, the French soldier asked the chief how he knew which children were his if he has so many partners and he had married none of them. The chief replied, get this, that it didn’t matter which kids were his! Why not? Because he loved and cared for all the children in his tribe! Crazy right? Imagine, a world where people cared about everybody and not just those who happened to be related to them. Now, the French soldier felt that he needed to know who his children were for one reason only, so that he knew who to pass his money and material goods down to. Without marriage you cannot guarantee which child is biologically yours, and without a legitimate heir your money does not stay in the “family”. To a community that cares about everyone, they might actually use the materials of the deceased to better the whole of the community, not just hoard it all under their family name.
Now, the queer movement started out as a radical protest against everything normative, oppressive capitalism being one of them. So, the fight for marriage equality seems to me to be in direct opposition to the ideals of the queer community. On top of the political implications of marriage, the definition of marriage is only being fought to change the gender of the two people entering into the marriage, same sex, or opposite sex. This perpetuation of marriage also instills the traditional social codes that are associated with marriage: gender roles, parenting, monogamy, and sexual abstinence before entering this institution.
This fight also poses no threat to heterosexual dominance. It is the norms set out by vanilla heterosexuality that is being upheld even by gay marriage, and it does nothing to critique the political and social problems that are historically associated with it. Not to mention that this form of gay rights alienates many different identities that now are being demonized by the straight community and the gay community: those individuals that are involved in the kink community, are polyamorous, asexual, gender deviant, or politically radical.
The gay rights movement has turned its back, very openly, on the more deviant identities in the queer community. Loud queers that flourish in their differences instead of trying to assimilate to heteronormativity are told to shut up and let the gays get their marriage equality while trans* people still have little to no rights on a state and federal level, and young adults who choose to be sexual active outside of monogamous relationships are slut shamed and alienated.
So the HRC and DOMA can both go back to their SUVs, domestic partners, and yellow labs, but I refuse to trap my soul behind the rainbow picket fence.