Unnecessary yet obligatory reminder: this morning, the Supreme Court struck down the lion’s share of the Defense of Marriage Act. In the best of all possible worlds, we at Queereka HQ would be out dancing in the streets; since we don’t live in that world, we’ll settle for a moment of quiet satisfaction and a cute nod from Google. Some of us will also have an ill-advised celebratory fourth cup of coffee.
But apparently that’s not enough for some people.
Brace yourselves: the backlash is already here.
A little more than an hour after the DOMA decision was made public, Hanna Rosin, professional pearl-clutcher of The End of Men fame, felt compelled to weigh in on the issue in the only way she knows how. Specifically, she is very, very concerned about precisely what kinds of marriages SCOTUS has just unwittingly given the federal government’s stamp of approval:
In the fight for marriage equality, the gay rights movement has put forth couples that look like straight ones, together forever, loyal, sharing assets. But what no one wants to talk about is that they don’t necessarily represent the norm.
I have a lot of feelings about this.
There has been a lot about the current push for LGBT rights in this country that I feel has been lacking. I don’t like that a significant number of L and G activists are actively hostile to the Bs and Ts among us, because othering behavior is othering behavior and it doesn’t actually make our community stronger or our goals easier to achieve. I don’t like that, as in “mainstream” feminism, it’s often hard to hear the voices of people who aren’t white and cisgendered, even though I myself am both of those things. I don’t like that so much of our movement is concentrated in cities and thus tends to marginalize or exclude people outside of urban areas. And I really don’t like the HRC, because they are habitually guilty of all of the above.
That being said, on their list of sins, “promotes an ideal of homosexual monogamy that does not reflect my experience or that of my friends” is fairly low. Present, somewhat problematic, but really not all that important in the grand scheme of things. So it’s weird to me to see anyone latch onto that as though that’s the problem. Especially given that marital nonmonogamy is about as far as you can get from an LGBT invention, and that the majority of nonmonogamous couples are and will always be heterosexual. Where are the well-publicized longitudinal studies about straight couples and lesbians? Does it bug everyone else as much as it bugs me that the overwhelming majority of studies centered on nonmonogamous people are investigating STI transmission?
In a way, I suppose, social acceptance of homosexual marriage was bound to open our eyes to a brave new world of relationship policing; Cosmopolitan is a jealous god. But hand-wringing over deviations from socially prescribed monogamy is hardly new–just ask my married straight friends who had to disengage from the kink community in a panic after a family member noticed them flirting with their girlfriend on Facebook. Or ask my other married straight friends who had to back-burner their respective bisexualities so one of them could get a green card. If Rosin wants to blame those situations on gay marriage, I can’t really stop her, but it hardly speaks well for her. She apparently wants to be the Cassandra of heteronormativity so badly that she’s willing to ignore anything that doesn’t conform to that narrative. Usually I find that kind of privilege upsetting; today, at least, it’s hard to be anything but amused.
In the end, what we’re left with is the dirty little secret about culture warriors: interestingly, it’s not that most of them are at best ignorant about–and at worst, hilariously and pathetically terrified of–relationships that don’t look like their own. It’s that they don’t seem to realize that their ignorance isn’t actually a secret.
Now, if you’ll excuse me–this coffee isn’t going to drink itself.
Featured image is a Game of Thrones joke that was much, much cleverer in my head. So it goes.