Yes, I Cheer the US Same-sex Marriage Ruling, But With Worries

Yes, I support the US Supreme Court ruling, but not because I think that “love” has won. Marriage is a legal/social institution between two people. Marriage is not a stamp that you need to establish that you ‘love’ someone. Neither does marriage mean that there is ‘love’ between the pair. It would be nice if people stopped equating marriage and love while celebrating the ruling.

Marriage Celebration al 062
image from kansascity.com

Then why do I celebrate the ruling? One, because if you, a resident of the US, want to live with a same-sex partner who’s from outside the US, now you’d be able to get your partner a citizenship. Two, it is discriminatory to have less choices for homosexual relationships. If a heterosexual couple can choose to marry or not to marry, so should a homosexual couple. Three, in a society like the US where most opportunities are market-dictated, if a partner has sacrificed employment opportunities in order to be with their partner, in case such a union breaks, that person would be eligible for compensation.

However, the points that I mentioned do not come without their counterpoints. Let us take the third one first. Making sure that a person gets a decent-paying job with proper work hours is the job of the society and not an individual alone. But in a market-oriented society, that doesn’t happen. So there should be demands for proper jobs and training opportunities for all. And one of the reasons why people sacrifice their career opportunities for a partner is because they feel lonely and insecure, and this too is the product of an insensitive society that will leave you on your arse in case you get crippled, get a disease and become unfit for certain work. It restlessly grinds you in its competitive mill and your friends, your family, your relationships can be source of psychological relief.

So if the third and the first problem were solved, i.e. if migration were easy, and the society provided adequate sensitive treatment to every human being, then, if people had the right to divorce at will, the choice to marry would have been quite useless. Then marriage becomes a mere ritual without any legal benefits. So then the choice to marry does not become a very meaningful one.

Which is why we need to face that this appeal of marriage often comes from sentiments that are tied with the insecurities that this society produces, and getting married will not end up in reducing most of those insecurities. Though this is hardly the end of homophobia in the US, this ruling can bring some acceptability to homosexual relationships (which is at the same time unfortunate that some people would find a relationship acceptable only if it’s a married one, and this is a mentality that needs to be challenged too) and save some from police harassments. But if you are celebrating this because somewhere, you’re imagining that life where you’re the centre of another person’s thoughts and/or the only sexual partner of that person, which is usually part of the fairytale imagination about marriage, you need to rethink both of these bits of imagination. These are expectations of domination, and they fall out of the acceptable range of expectations you can have from a fellow human being. And this applies to all kinds of relationships, irrespective of the sexual orientation involved.

Also, it follows that if we do not take up fights for decent employment and training opportunities for all, do not strive towards a society where national barriers disappear, and do not breed a culture that is sensitive towards the needs of one and their fellow humans, we will not advance a great deal in our pursuit of happiness.

A quickie by Sutanaya

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