[Marxism] Letter to a local newspaper on gay marriage

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Thu May 27 18:33:48 MDT 2004

(please circulate)

May 12, 2004

Farmers Independent
P.O. Box  130
Bagley, MN 56621

Dear Sir:

Several letters to your paper opposing marriage by same-sexers have 
struck a bigoted and histrionic tone. At least one reflected views akin 
to those of a Christian Taliban, and demonstrated that we have plenty of 
ayatollahs in the United States too.  Allow me to shed some light and 
put the issue into a different perspective.
	Upfront let me say that I am against “gay marriage.” I am also against 
heterosexual marriage. I am against all marriage.  It is a lousy 
institution that has failed miserably.  If that were not true, the 
divorce rate would not be 50%.
	Some heterosexual opponents of gay marriage believe that it is a sacred 
and god-given institution, even going so far as to claim that it 
provides a “foundation” for American society.  How wrong they are. For 
one, marriage between one man and one woman is a rather recent 
development in human history. For another, that kind of marriage was not 
generally characteristic of the original Native American inhabitants of 
this country, whose land was stolen from them by white European 
Christians whose descendants are now in a tizzy over a few mostly 
middle-class same-sexers trying to get the state to approve their 
copulations and cohabitations.
	This kind of marriage is based on the notion that monogamy is the bee’s 
knee of human sexual relationships.  That is nonsense.  In fact, in 
Nature, only birds are truly monogamous.  The higher up the phylogenetic 
scale one goes, the less one finds monogamy.  And monogamy is not part 
of the mammalian heritage.  Humans are not birds. That makes marriage 
based on monogamy an artificial and unnatural institution—which may help 
to explain why it is such a failure.  Frederick Engels, the great 
socialist thinker, put it pithily in his book The Origin of the Family, 
Private Property, and the State:  “If strict monogamy is the height of 
all virtue, then the palm must go to the tapeworm, which…spends its 
whole life copulating in all its sections with itself.  Confining 
ourselves to mammals, however, we find all forms of sexual 
life—promiscuity, indications of group marriage, polygyny [a male having 
two or more female partners at the same time], monogamy.  Polyandry 
[women having more than one male partner] alone is lacking—it took human 
beings to achieve that.”
	Heterosexual opponents of gay marriage complain that same-sexers who 
want to get hitched legally are seeking special privileges.  In a way, 
they are right, because those homosexuals are busy trying to gain 
special treatment as couples that are denied to singles, whether gay or 
straight.  That alone is reason enough to oppose gay marriage. These 
pro-marriage advocates are trying to turn other homosexuals into 
second-class citizens.  That said, the truth is that it is the 
heterosexuals who have written the laws in such a way that it is they, 
not homosexuals, who get all the special treatment.  We all pay taxes to 
subsidize their spouse’s health coverage if they are state employees; we 
all pay to keep their offspring in the baby-sitting complexes called 
schools; we all pay for the various tax breaks they get as parents, 
whether single or not, whether married or not, whether competent to be a 
parent or not.  The entire system is built to support heterosexuality 
and hetero families, including to clean up the messes made by the 
failures of the hetero system (the child abuse that occurs inside the 
family, the spousal violence, the uncontrolled breeding by people who 
cannot afford to pay for the upbringing of their offspring, the crime, 
the out-of-control drug addiction and alcoholism…).  Despite all the 
built-in support for hetero marriage, still it is a huge failure. The 
people who are really getting the short end of this stick are the 
singles, both straight and gay.  Advocates of marriage, both straight 
and gay, are short-changing the single population.
	Marriage should be a private matter, performed in religious settings. 
It should have nothing whatever to do with the state.  In a democracy, 
it is not the business of the state to give its imprimatur to people 
based on who they live with or who they sleep with.  Every citizen, 
regardless of marital or conjugal status, should be treated equally 
before the law and the state (including having hospital visitation 
rights for their loved ones, a right to health care, and so on).  Keep 
the state out of our bedrooms! And keep the fundamentalist fanatics from 
imposing their religious views on the rest of us!  These people are like 
the Taliban. They pose a real danger to the freedom of everyone else, 
and they now have wind in their sails because a fellow fanatic occupies 
the White House and a fundamentalist ayatollah is attorney general. 
Christians ought to follow their own god’s advice, and render unto 
Caesar what is Caesar’s, and unto god what is god’s. Religion ought to 
be sent back to the churches and synagogues and mosques, and kept out of 
public policy altogether. Separate the church from the state, and the 
schools from the church.  That would seem elementary in a genuine democracy.

David Thorstad

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