Make marriage work like disappearing ink

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Translate that to gay marriage, which has been oddly de-gendered and de-classed by a mass of people who seem to believe that teh gayz are somehow immune to issues of class and gender and whose major proponents seem to assume that we are all making $300,000 a year and able to leave estates worth millions to our partners. The truth that Mayor Bloomberg and Fortune 500 corporations – who avidly support gay marriage – don’t want to know or ignore about queers is that we are not all like them. The gays they support – and the only ones they see – are not the sort who are likely to suffer in this economy. The rest of us are screwed.

Gay divorce, which will come about in larger numbers than we can predict, will be a shattering dose of reality – LGBTQ people are more economically vulnerable, face fewer to no protections in the workplace, and are more likely to face quotidian forms of discrimination in, for instance, the hunt for housing. Try being an out and not-quite-perfectly-gender-conforming trans person or too faggy a gay boy in some cities and see how quickly you find an apartment to rent after your divorce.

So, to return to the Mexican proposal (in a city that has already legalized gay marriage, I should note): Making marriage seem like a conscious choice with an opt-out option built into it makes it less of a state-endowed enterprise and more like something that people enter into out of curiosity and a genuine desire to see what they might craft together. Isn’t that the basis of any healthy friendship? And isn’t friendship the basis of any relationship?

A two-year marital contract might also lead us towards the possibility that the state might get out of the marriage business altogether. You want to live with two partners, three dogs, and a cat? Or with no one at all? Go right ahead: We’ll still give you health and child care. Imagine that: a world where marriage is not some sacrosanct institution which you tie yourself to in order to survive.

I don’t care about marriage, but in my world those who enter into it should be allowed the flexibility to leave, no matter why they join. And those who are not married should be allowed the exact benefits as those who are. Such simple bits of logic have failed to enter the consciousness of a gay community that does not merely advocate for gay marriage but insists that its retrograde features, like economic enslavement and tethering it to life-saving health care, are actually worth preserving.

This might surprise those who know my politics on marriage and how much contempt I have for the institution, but I’m actually offering marriage supporters a way to help themselves: You want to save marriage? Make it work like disappearing ink.

This article was originally published on Bilerico in 2011.

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