Sunday, September 30, 2007

Uncovering the Psychology Behind the Fight for Gay Marriage

Evan Wolfson is the founder of the gay marriage movement. He is a promiment civil rights attorney and advocate and founder/executive director of Freedom to Marry. This recent interview with Wolfson reveals not only what is at stake in the gay marriage movement, but how cleverly sinister those fighting for same-sex unions are in their arguments for equality. The interview is long but worth the time to read. Here are a couple of excerpts from the article.

According to Wolfson, he is an advocate for marriage, not simply gay marriage:

DS: You are one of the leaders, arguably the founder, of the modern gay marriage movement—

EW: —marriage. Not gay marriage. Marriage. We’re not fighting for gay marriage, or same-sex marriage, or any phrase like that. We are fighting for an end to exclusion from marriage. We are fighting for the freedom to marry, the same freedom, rules, responsibilities and respect as our non-gay brothers and sisters have. It’s not just a question of wording.

The question, however, is what should be the boundaries for marriage if they are not based on the defintion that marriage is meant to be defined by God, designated exclusively to be between a man and a woman. Where does the slippery slope lead? What is to prevent polygamy between loving, consenting adults? What is to prevent marriage to minors between loving, consenting partners? What is to keep someone from marrying an animal?

Marriage is a vocabulary, it’s a vehicle, an engine for a larger discussion that moves people’s understanding of who gay people are, why sex discrimination is wrong, why exclusion is wrong in America, that brings up discussion the separation of church and state, that brings up discussion of whether there should be limitations or roles based on sex, or whether w:men and women should be treated equally. Whether two women should be considered whole when they form a committed and loving relationship, as opposed to saying they are unwhole and unequal because they don’t have a man in their life.

This quote gives some real insight into where this debate is going. It is much bigger than marriage alone.

DS: Transgender people face specific issues in marriage since what constitutes a man or a woman is often legally defined. How does the marriage movement address this issue?

EW: Our understanding of how you define a man and a woman should absolutely be true to people’s lived experience and should not be laced with archaic gender roles and discriminatory attitudes about men and women or about people who are transgender. Second, we all have an interest in ending sex discrimination in marriage. How you come to be a same-sex couple, whether by transition as a transgender person, or simply by falling in love with a person of the same sex, really shouldn’t affect your ability to get a marriage license. It should not matter to the government because there is no good reason for the government to impose a different sex restriction on a couple who wants to marry. That’s true whether it be a couple that includes a person who is transgender or a couple who happened to get there by falling in love.

Notice that for Wolfson how we define what is "true" is based upon "people's lived experience", not on an objective standard. Again, if our subjective experience is the basis for defining our morality, who then defines what is ultimately morally right and wrong?

Read the article for yourself and feel free to post comments for discussion.


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