Manifesto! 5/5 – Not The Marrying Kind – Statements…The End

I think there’s humor in the hypocrisy of a movement that fights for marriage equality while lauding a film like “Brokeback Mountain” as romantic when the core basis of the film is an extra-marital affair. But it seems being on the down’low is acceptable as long as those engaging in it are white and only betraying women. Although the theme of pretending to be something you’re not fits in quite well with the homogenizing view of the large GLBTQ organizations.
I understand that the drive to show love and openly express affection for another person is there in everyone. But those people who are so invested in the idea of marriage to the exclusion of any other possibility should really examine why they view marriage as the only valid expression of love and what it says about their love that the only way they can think to express it is to repeat a stagnant oppressive tradition centuries old.
I wonder what makes someone I marry after knowing them for twenty minutes while drunk out of my mind in Vegas worth all the rights, federal and state, that marriage confers rather than the best friend I’ve had for over a decade simply because I’m not sexually attracted to him? Yet if I wanted those rights to go to him without the benefit of marriage I’d have to pay much more than my meager grad student paycheck would allow to a lawyer. Those rights over our bodies should be ours to give freely and without payment or the added shackle of marriage.
I think the yearning for the rights that accompany marriage is understandable as the yearning for equal rights always is but wouldn’t all that energy and wealth be better used fighting for America to recognize it’s own betrayal of the separation of church and state and force them to actually allow those civil rights to be granted to however many whomevers you so choose?
Finally for all these reasons and more, I call for the destruction of the legal/civil institution of marriage as not only a rigid re-establisher of gender roles, a religious sacrament, and an unequal institution which legally proscribes rights to those who conform to its rules while excluding others but also as a continued and evolving tool of oppression that serves to separate communities further, stratifying relationships on a scale from normal to freakish and a hierarchical framework that is slowly dying and does not need to be perpetuated for even a moment by misguided idolization of it.
That is why I’m not the marrying kind.
The End
So there it is, my first manifesto. It was a bit hard to write at first and I lapsed into essay territory a lot then I realized one of the essential differences between the two: In essays you have to back up your findings/decisions/statements with someone else’s opinion to make sure they’re valid. In Manifestos you can just say the things that you believe and you observe without having to “prove” that your point is valid. The whole idea of manifestoes tears down the white tower of intellectualism and all it entails imbuing the writer with being the expert. It’s why you get so many crazy manifestoes but it’s also why you get genius ones that blow your mind. After all what’s that old saying? There’s a thin line between genius and crazy. The art of the manifesto straddles that line.

4 responses to “Manifesto! 5/5 – Not The Marrying Kind – Statements…The End

  1. michelle puckett

    u are amazing, naamen! i can’t wait to have queer poetics with u next semester! amen to all u have said here! so. refreshing. i, too, am not the marrying type. rock that fucking truth, dear heart, rock it!

  2. In Scandinavia (I think you already know this), rates of marriage are going down, even between couples having children, because things like health care and other social services are provided to individuals so marriage (or civil union) is not necessary to obtain those services as they are in a private insurance style system; additionally, as fewer and fewer people opt for church in those cultures, marriage is seen as a specifically religious thing appropriate for people for whom the religious dimension is meaningful. If not, then not.

  3. Yeah, the nice thing about a manifesto is that it’s one part philosophy, one part rant, and everyone knows that from the second they see the word.

    And yeah. I’m coming back again and again to the idea of commitment – is the actual daily deed of being committed to monogamy if that’s what you’re into more important, or making a show for extended family and then trying to use social and legal pressure to stay together? Bleah.

    We could probably do better by coming up with some standardized contracts re: Power of Attorney and Inheritance instead of marriage (obviously, there’s still stuff like health care, tax breaks, etc. that need to be tackled as well…)

  4. As a straight woman who is very vehemently opposed to marriage and gets a lot of crap for it, I just wanted to say thank you for this manifesto.

    Marriage is an inherently oppressive institution and the fact that many husbands never chose to exert their various rights over their wives does not make marriage any less problematic.

    I understand that GLBT couples want the same rights that straight couples (at least those that opt for marriage) already have, but the answer is not to extend marriage but to get rid of marriage as a privileged institution altogether.

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