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Under Pressure (From Finding Somebody to Marry)

Saturday, June 16, 2012

            Last weekend in Washington D.C., some streets were filled with “Be True. Be You!” in honor of Capitol Pride. While I was only able to attend the festival, I was thrilled to still participate, despite the scorching weather. Whilst walking through the runway of white tents and flashes of rainbow, I signed my name for petitions, smiled at non-traditional families, and took many pictures with Goddess-like drag queens.  I have always treated Pride weekend like a holiday, and favored it over Christmas and Halloween. Every June since coming out of the closet in 2008, I would immerse myself with LGBTQA people and bask in its awesomeness at the Pride parade. It was an event to reflect over my year, as well to learn about different organizations, which support HIV awareness, queer youth, and marriage equality. Last Sunday, as I pondered over my growth from completing my first year at Mount Holyoke College and as a policy writer, I also questioned the marriage equality movement- not for its purpose but for its unintended ramifications.

            Though I support marriage equality across the United States, for I want to be able to be married in any state I desire when the time comes, my liberal arts and gender studies education have taught me to question the type of impact a movement this may have on mainstream society.
            Historically, marriage is a patriarchal social contract transacted between men and women’s fathers. Women were given away as property value, in exchange of a dowry and with the assumption of bearing children. Though in most cases in the United States, marriage has evolved as a proclamation of love, it should be universally stated, not just in rhetoric, but also in legal terms.
            Why would a gay couple want to be married? Other than being able to use the language heterosexual married couples use, there are financial and legal benefits. Married couples are given joint income tax returns, inheritance, social security and Medicare from spouses, veterans' and military benefits, adoption and joint foster care rights, and child custody or support if divorced.
            The implications of having marriage be a financial stabilizer isolate those whom wish not to get married as well as pressures people who do to get married hastily. At more than half of marriages ending in divorce, I theorize that with the fragile financial situation our country has been in for the last few decades, the legal and financial benefits, which come with marriage, have undermined its genuine motivation of stating endless love and support for one another. 


Tags : LGBT | marriage