At HuffPo, Heather Laine Talley of the Feminist Wire does not much like our “Call for a New Conversation on Marriage.” Her thesis is that privileging marriage in the U.S. is a bad thing, whether married gays and lesbians are a part of the privileged circle or not. She says:
It’s not surprising that as marriage equality looms, the Institute of American Values is generating a vision that redefines the boundary of who should be demonized and systematically marginalized. In fact, if and when the Supreme Court makes a ruling that falls somewhere on the equality side, we will likely see more and more efforts that replace the language of heterosexual privilege with marital privilege.
But the incorporation of gays and lesbians into these efforts makes this work especially troublesome, precisely because it gives this “new conversation” a veneer of progress. The ugly truth is that the gays and lesbians who have signed onto the Institute for American Values’ new vision are complicit in an approach that both delegitimizes vibrant queer kinship patterns and fails to address the very problems it purports to tackle.
Her argument seems similar to the argument advanced in the 2006 public appeal, Beyond Marriage.
As a card-carrying marrigae nut, when I was an opponent of gay marriage I viewed arguments such as Talley’s — insisting that our real goal is not to make marriage more equal, but to ”de-privilege” it entirely — as strong reasons to oppose gay marriage, since almost everyone who wants to knock marriage off its privileged institutional perch also firmly endorses gay marriage, often on the grounds that gay marriage will aid the larger project of de-privileging. Now, I … hope I was wrong.