My take on the SCOTUS’ ruling for marriage equality today is a little bit different than most people’s I think. You see, I suspect that today’s ruling will help further unshackle “traditional” marriage from the inequality inherent in the institution’s misogynistic roots. Let me explain…
“We hold these truths to be self evident that all men [people] are created equal…”
Our nation has historically had enormous issues with this simple yet profound concept: equality. But that seed, equality, has only grown. Women’s suffrage was about equality. The civil rights movement was about equality. And now marriage itself is about equality.
All people are created equal. Those words, when lived to their fullest, transform and empower all human life through dignity and respect. For centuries LGBT people have been denied this inalienable right: equality. Marriage equality speaks to the singular nature of this intimate institution: enshrining the equality of its willing, loving participants.
If marriage equality redefines marriage in any sense, it does so by further casting aside the shackles of misogyny deeply and traditionally intertwined in the institution’s historical roots. When two people of the same sex lovingly forge a marriage, they do so as equals unfettered by the power affirmed through traditional gender roles, not as one person (gender) exerting power, control, influence, or subjugation over the other.1
I often see the shackles of misogyny in our society. It’s deeply rooted in human history: women are to remain silent in the church is but one remaining example. Women are to subjugate themselves to the wills of their husbands is another. Women do not get equal pay for equal work. The list goes on.
My hope is that an increasing number of straight couples can now begin to enjoy the same loving married relationship that LGBT couples can now enjoy across this nation—a willing union of true equals who do the hard work required to live love. Maybe that’s what the ultra-conservative religionists fear?
Marriage equality for everyone, not just same sex couples. Wouldn’t that be transformative?2 Ever so slowly we evolve.
The foes of marriage equality, of racial equality, of women’s rights are fighting against truths which are self-evident. All people are created equal and endowed with inalienable rights. And while a court decision can not wipe from a heart its learned and often well-practiced presuppositions, prejudices, even bigotries, it does protect Americans under the law of the land.
Today I celebrate a new day for civil rights, a new day for equality!
- Read the Supreme Court’s Ruling on Marriage Equality (advocate.com)
“Wives submit yourselves to your husbands…” is part of that Biblical definition many religious people hold so dear. ↩
Don’t get me wrong, I know straight couples who approach their marriages with a true sense of equality not associated with the institution’s misogynistic, women-as-property roots. But I know too many marriages in which the wife is always to submit to the will of her husband, in which marriage is a man’s kingdom. ↩