Jul 5, 2010

What Will Be Our Generation's Gay Marriage?

I know the topic title is a bit awkwardly phrased, but my hope is that it's a forgivable offense. I've been thinking about the passage of time and its consequences a lot lately. Marriage has done that for me (I'm sure I'm in the minority here, but that's all right, I suppose).

In contemplating the future, eternity, and everything else, I began to wonder about the great generational fights of the past. Worker rights, womens' rights, the Civil Rights Movement, gay marriage...and then I stopped. Logically, where do we go from here? What is going to be the great battle of my adulthood?

Part of the problem is that I wonder if there is going to be some agenda that I will oppose as vehemently as some oppose gay marriage. I can't think of anything that will cause me to ratchet up my defenses and get out sheets of posterboard and Sharpie markers.

But I also think that's the point. It will be a topic I didn't see coming. I bet the millions who are so against the concept of the freedom to marry any adult one chooses did not see this coming. Not thirty years ago. Not twenty years ago. Not ten years ago. They went about their business with the knowledge that, given everything else, at least God's prohibition against homosexuality would be endorsed by the government.

What we're seeing is a battle for the idea of inalienable human rights. I have not seen any real convincing arguments against gay marriage. Ninety-nine out of a hundred are based, obviously or obliquely, on religious doctrine alone. Droves have been convinced from the guy in the pulpit - very rarely is it a woman - to go out and vote down any bill endorsing even the remotest rights for gay marriage. Many of these people, ironically enough, detest the government taking a stance in any aspect of a person's life, and yet when it comes to the legal (or spiritual or sexual) bond between two adults, they could not be more persuaded by the concept of governmental authority in the matter.

I can see this situation very clearly, and I am thoroughly in favor of giving gays any marital rights straight people have. Furthermore, I don't know how any person opposed to the measure can be blind to its inevitability. Someday - and it may not be in the near future, but it will someday come to pass - this fight will be considered a hideous mark on the face of individual liberty in America, just as it now seems ludicrous that there was even a fight over the movements mentioned at the outset of this post. They now seem indicative of American experience as a whole, and many of us - I refuse to say all - could not imagine it any other way.

But that brings me to the logical question of: what next? Polygamy? Maybe, though I'm not opposed to polygamy, on social, religious, or personal grounds. That's another post entirely, but suffice it to say that it troubles me not one bit whether a man (or woman) marries one woman or ten and makes it legal. Plus, I don't believe the fight will be as scornfully fought as the ones which have preceded it.

What may occur is an embittered struggle over representation in government. This, of course, is nowhere near as important as the right to be recognized as a first-class citizen, but it can't be very far off. Atheists, gays, women, and minorities are woefully underrepresented - discouraged, even - from holding office and being able to be open about religious or sexual orientation. Perhaps that can change.


  1. good article, but i'm not sure why you think gay marriage is not our generations fight?

  2. it's obvious you haven't been married long. I have a hard enough time dealing with one wife, I would kill myself if I had to deal with more...

  3. I guess I'm thinking more of what would be our "thing" once we got older. Gay marriage doesn't seem to be in our hands, for some reason. I'm sure I didn't make it that clear in the post. My B.

  4. Gay marriage is our fight. It's not over yet. I'm 23 and feel like it is in my hands. I'm not sure how old you are, but I doubt we are a generation apart. As for the future, say 10 or 20 years from now, I think it will have something to do with stem cell research and the use of it, or virus implementation. The future will contain some difficult moral decisions for scientists. It's no longer "oh we can do that, it's better for us." Now, we'll have to start saying "oh we can do that, but should we?" It's sort of like nuclear weapons.

  5. @djb: No, I totally agree. I think this may have been a misrepresentation of the issue on my part. I'm not saying that it's out of my hands - I'm 27 - but I was thinking more along the lines of what political issue might come around and kick our generation in the ass that we didn't see coming, just like I'm sure the older generation did not see gay marriage coming. Stem cell research may very well be it. I'm on-board for the pro-gay-marriage fight, but that wasn't necessarily my point. Thanks for the input, and stop back by!