Right to Marry Debate

Full Disclosure:

This marvelous poem by activist/poet Dajenya sums up my thoughts on the matter.  I listened with rapt attention when she read it on June 3, 2009 in San Francisco–Dajenya received a standing ovation!

Please click on the link to read it in its entirety.

Right to marry (or: have we been completely co-opted?)

I have this nagging feeling,
like an itch I can’t quite reach to scratch,
that this total focus on the right to marry
is somewhat reminiscent
of the fight for the right
to kill and die
in the U.S. military.

Why should that be?
Certainly to marry
is not the same as to kill;
not today, anyway,
when marriage is no longer all about
the complete and utter ownership
of women by men.

No, marriage is now about
all sorts of good and necessary things:
hospital visits,
custody of children,
shared finances,
or simply a symbol of love and equality

But if our struggle is really about
such good and necessary things,
as opposed to the emulation of mutual ownership
and sexist power imbalances,
than why so many bridal gowns?

A tux may be merely formal wear
but a bridal gown…
the epitome of the trappings of enforced “femininity”
the bound-feet of wedding wear
the total capitulation to patriarchal determination of women’s role
and  purpose in life (to be a wife)

What ever happened to
Lesbians at the forefront of feminist consciousness ?
But wedding wear aside,
it is the singularity of the focus that leaves me so confounded.


Copyright 2009 by Dajenya; all rights reserved.


Excerpt forwarded from the Feminist Wire

The Pink Days: Living Happily Ever After the New York State Gay Marriage Bill?

By Darnell L. Moore

The singular investment (capital, ideological and bodily) in “gay marriage” advocacy work short circuits the emancipatory potential of a queer politic and activist platform that seeks the overall destabilization of any such “institution,” real or imagined, that furthers state-ordained, heteronormed, patriarchal and neoliberal modes of relationality. Such institutions are modes of normativity (made proper by way of state sanctions) that disqualify other modes of non-heteronomormative relationships. It is assismilationist posturing that moves us away from Cathy Cohen’s suggested trajectory of queer activism in the direction of anti-assimilationist and transformational coalition work.[i] And it is founded upon a politic of “benign disembarkation” into the realm of the “normal” rather than a politic of “radical departure” from the normative that simultaneously moves us in the direction of equalized, diverse forms of relationality.




2 Responses to “Right to Marry Debate”

  1. donna rose Says:

    i overstand the sentiment…i believe that a lot of the furor in that whole ‘right to marry’ is related to economics…or ownership in some sense…each ‘wife’ owns the other’s body, so is entitled to view/visit/determine how one’s property will be dispersed…who shall inherit what…all of the talk about celebrating our ‘love’ is really about what recourse is available when that love goes far south, and not just between the neck and thighs…l still need to heat; to eat; to have access to decent healthcare/to be able to walk in the blanket of the night w/o fear….or that whole don’t ask, don’t tell fiasco…you don’t have to choose to go??? yet, i can also understand the feeling behind wanting that ‘welcome’ …some may call it societal sanction…oh yes…these two are one…they are to be uplifted…cherished, held close…met w/tender voice and sweet embrace…defended, championed…but that hasn’t happened often where women of color walk…where women colored from the mother land’s touch walk…where the color is black (not multi/bi/other racial)…lots of work still ahead…regardless that there is a light skinned brotha inna house (who walks w/a bullseye on his back) who honors his mate…who wouldn’t want to be celebrated like michelle obama for all to see…hmmmmmm me and that libran thang….

  2. YES!!!!!!!!!!!

    the context, the focus, the emphasis–that’s the main issue
    (tho this poet is voting for gay marriage, note)

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