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The road to freedom has many lanes

by Jeremy Hooper
  • Yours truly is lawfully married. I have shown my thoroughly pro-family wedding to a large audience, using the joy of my own legally-binding CT marriage as a form of activism.
  • Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie are among the most visible of heterosexual couples to say that they won't marry until gay couples can. In choosing un--marriage even though they full-well could be legally bound, they are using their personal choice as another form of activism.
  • Some gay folks have chosen to boycott marriage altogether until (a) all states have the freedom, and/or (b) DOMA is finally repealed and gay couples are afforded federal rights/recognition. Some have even extended this to attending marriages, vowing to sit out their firends' unions, same- or different-sex, until some or all of the aforementioned conditions are met. Most of these folks consider their choice to be a form of activism.

For some, utilizing the freedoms that are popping up is the ultimate form of protest. By taking advantage of the state-level freedoms, we gay folks show our numbers and desires, demonstrating just how unjust DOMA (and marriage inequality in general) truly is. 200907140913-1After all, if nobody utilized the marriage systems in the handful of states where same-sex couples now have the choice, then we wouldn't get anywhere -- anti-gay people would use the non-utilization to their advantage, saying it's proof that gay couples don't really want to marry.

For others, the abstention is the activist choice. Those who go this route are saying that they will not hop on the bus until everyone can, and/or until the path takes us all to a full, federally-recognized destination. After all, no gay couple has true, 100% marriage equality until we get DOMA off the books.

And then there are the straight couples for whom even choosing to address this fight is a choice in the first place. For them the stakes are completely different. Some of them surely want gay couples to go ahead and take advantage of what they can -- as if they are willingly holding the door open for us, asking us to pass through whenever we can, before taking their own place behind us. But then others might want us to wait alongside them, joining together in a multi-orientationed form of civil disobedience.

And you know what? Nobody's wrong. While activism is typically an imperfect process, this current version of pro-equality advocacy is even more so. It is uncharted territory with multiple approaches and multiple possible answers to the "How should we go about this?" question. The key is for us to all respect the different views and approaches, refusing to be dogmatic about the one undeniably "correct" path that we see. Because the truth is that none of us know what that is, or even if there is one (or two, or three, or countless many).

We marry: 6/13/09

We abstain: National Marriage Boycott

We win.

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Your thoughts

Hey, thanks. Sent your blog on to NMB as they are setting up that funny 'social' ning site.

Also for any wondering, yes, you can sign up in support even if you are het or SSmarried.

Posted by: LOrion | Jul 14, 2009 11:10:27 PM

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