A gay writer speaks frankly about redefining marriage


Gabriel Arana at the American Prospect:

On Feb. 5, I'm getting married here in the District.

This has made me look at the gay-marriage debate in a slightly different way.

… [And] as I've planned my wedding -- making lists, updating them, and re-updating them; deciding whether we're doing a first dance (we are, though our dads aren't included); and whether we want to change our names (we don't) -- I've been confronted by the numerous ways in which we are, in fact, redefining "marriage."

… In the end, we decided to write the ceremony ourselves. But once I was faced with a blank Word document, I realized that while I have written numerous political articles about why same-sex couples should be allowed to marry, I had never thought through what exactly it meant on a personal level. From a legal standpoint, the meaning is quite clear: Civil marriage confers a number of concrete privileges -- tax breaks, adoption rights, hospital visitation -- that are desirable and, in the interest of equality, shouldn't be withheld from gay couples. Socially, extending marriage rights validates gay partnerships. None of these, though, seems to touch on the real substance.

Gabriel concludes: “Ultimately, I'm still not sure what marriage "means," but Michael and I can make it up as we go along.”