[Marxism] Gender and Marriage

loupaulsen at comcast.net loupaulsen at comcast.net
Fri May 28 09:48:57 MDT 2004

Here is a very basic argument which I for one would like to see get more play.  Suppose a government sets out to forbid marriage between people of "the same" sex and to allow marriage between people of "opposite" sexes.  This means that the state is going to take upon itself the power to legitimize and administer a system of assigning all people to one of two sexes.  

Presumably this is not going to be just on the basis of self-selection.  Really it is similar to the principles underlying the racial laws in South Africa, the US, Nazi Germany etc.  If the state has the power to decide where people of each "race" are going to live, who they can marry, etc., then it has to have the power to set up an arbitrary classification scheme and determine who is "white" and who is "Black" and so on.  Same thing with sex!  If they are going to enforce a same-sex marriage ban, then some clerk has to be empowered to look at you and determine, based on your appearance, speech, clothing, etc., whether you are male or female, and if you object to this classification, you have to go to a clinic and have an intrusive physical examination, tissue testing, etc., and maybe ultimately expose yourself to a judge who will determine what sex you "really are".  Isn't this fundamentally very intrusive and objectionable?

In fact a great deal of work has been done in the Transgender community to challenge this "pink box, blue box" system (see Leslie Feinberg's writings starting at www.transgenderwarrior.org for example) (full disclosure: yes, she is a comrade of mine).  Not everybody has either 2 X chromosomes, or an X and a Y chromosome, in every cell.  Not everybody has only one complete standard single-sex set of genital organs.  Not everybody with "standard" chromosomes and "standard" organs thinks and acts and loves the same way.  There is a whole spectrum of physical and biological and social and psychological reality which is being ignored for the trivial purpose of saying that A1 can marry B1, B2, B3, B4 but not A2, A3, or A4.  Other than collecting demographic data or administering affirmative action programs, how is sexual assignment the business of the state at all?  Shouldn't it be a private affair? 

Lou Paulsen

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